Zé Gonzaga - O Baile da Tartaruga from Viva o Rei do Baião - CBS 1971
Click on the video above to play the song.
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Trying to describe the music of forró to a non-Brazilian is like trying to translate a word from another language that is not directly translatable.
Writers have tried describing forró music by making interesting, albeit shaky, comparisons to more familiar genres. If I were to imagine a music that sounded like a mix of common descriptors like ska, zydeco and polka, which forró has been compared to, it wouldn't sound much like forró.
A zydeco or a Parisian valse-musette accordion player could not play forró without serious study. It would be like an Irish fiddle player joining the London Symphony Orchestra. The way forró grooves as a musical language is as distinct as English is from Portuguese.
The melodies make forró familiar, but the differences in beat and instrumentation make the dish. It's uniquely built from a hybrid of European and African cultural music, like many genres in North America, but forró is a distinct speicies.
O Baile da Tartaruga (Jafet / Osmar Safety / Augusto Mesquita) - The Dance Of The Turtle - is the first forró tune that I have ever heard that actually reminds me of zydeco or Cajun music. There is something about the distorted rhythmic accordion and the beat that is reminiscent. O Baile da Tartaruga is one of the most unhinged and wild forró recordings ever. The song must have been a big hit for Zé Gonzaga, because he recorded at least 3 versions. This version from 1971 is my favorite.
Zé Gonzaga from forroemvinil