Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crate Digging For Forró In Brazil: Vinyl and Record Stores in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador (da Bahia) & Recife

Crate Digging For Forró Vinyl In Brazil: A short guide to vinyl (vinil) record stores in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador (da Bahia) & Recife featuring Celsom Discos, Disco 7, Praça quinze (XV), Bazar Som Três, Minisom & Musikantiga

Update at the bottom of the page.

In June 2013, exactly one year ago, I took a holiday with my sweetheart to Brazil. We had a wonderful vacation, ate well, drank caipirinhas and made a little time for 
forró vinyl hunting. Generally, like anywhere in the world, shops and markets are picked over by savvy record dealers, but it's not impossible to find great records. Stores vary greatly in quality. You may not find the rarest Tropicalia, MPB, Bossa Nova, psychedelic, forró or Tim Maia piece for a steal, but if you do some research about where to shop, you may find some of the vinyl on your want list for much better prices than eBay. Generally, I've discovered that you have to connect with the handful of private dealers in Brazil that trade in top shelf vinyl to get the stuff you want, but shops can sometimes surprise you.
São Paulo I loved São Paulo. A lot of the record stores in São Paulo are found in indoor / outdoor markets, or arcades, like the ones below. All over Brazil, sidewalks have distinctive Portuguese tile, also called Portuguese pavement.
Outdoor shopping mall in São Paulo.

A shopping arcade in São Paulo.
I have a lot of affection for Cel-Som Discos in São Paulo. Celso, the owner, was the first person that I connected with in Brazil for purchasing vinyl. After a few bad experiences on Gemm, Celso was a welcome contact. He's honest, has a great selection of forró, MPB, Bossa Nova, Tropicalia and many other genres. He's great at assessing condition (ask before you buy online, though), will mail orders worldwide and takes Paypal. Best of all, Celso has a lot of contacts with other dealers, so if there are records that you are looking for, send him your want list. http://www.celsomdiscos.com.br/

 Cel-Som Discos / Records in São Paulo 

Celso at Cel-Som Discos / Records in São Paulo 
Celso and our friend Marcelo at Cel-Som Discos / Records in São Paulo.
Admiring the wall of forró LPs at at Cel-Som Discos / Records in São Paulo

Disco Sete, or Disco 7, in São Paulo is legendary. For fetishists, DJs and collectors, Disco Sete is often the first stop that they recommend. The owner, Carlinhos, is incredibly personable, generous and his prices are unbeatable. Disco Sete is not just a store, it's a place to meet up with collectors from all over the world. Not surprisingly, Disco Sete yielded my best finds in all of Brazil, thanks to Carlinhos. Disco Sete is tops. http://disco7vinil.com

Disco Sete (Disco 7) in São Paulo
Disco Sete (Disco 7) in São Paulo

Dorival Discos was a record store that we stumbled upon in São Paulo. Just like used vinyl shops in the States and Europe, bins were mostly stuffed with bargain LPs. If you like mining for finds, you'll be able to shop for days. We skimmed most of these places, mainly because the chances of finding great forró records hiding in a bin is very remote. I was about 10 to 15 years too late for that.

Dorival Discos in São Paulo
Rio de Janeiro

I didn't spend much time crate digging in Rio. We mainly vacationed. There are a few shops that I wish that I had a chance to hit, like Supernut Mara http://mararecordsdata.com/. We did take a jaunt to downtown Rio and browsed through the Praça quinze (XV) flea market, which is underneath a highway. Rio is not known as a big forró town, so my expectations for vinyl scores were minimal. I found a rare Benedito Nunes LP that Celso was selling for $300R for $1R, so I figured that I had a good day.

Praça quinze (XV) flea market in Rio de Janeiro

Praça quinze (XV) flea market in Rio de Janeiro

Benedito for a buck at the Praça quinze (XV) flea market in Rio de Janeiro

Salvador (da Bahia)

We had a ball in Salvador (da Bahia). We landed right in the middle of the São João festival, which was live forró heavenThe architecture and the food was amazing. Salvador had the best restaurants in Brazil. The food was a mix of spicy African and the best possible local cuisine. We stayed in old district of Salvador (da Bahia), called Pelourinho. Little record stores, like Mini Som or Minisom, are scattered throughout the old city.

São João Da Bahia 2013 - live forró heaven

Bazar Som Três is a beloved and highly recommended shop in Salvador. It's slightly outside of the old city and down a few side streets and an alley, so map out your trip before you go. Even with a map, we still needed help. Thanks to some friendly folks who pointed us in the right direction, we found the joint. Bazar Som Três was rich with vinyl stacked to the ceiling. Although I didn't find any amazing scores, I walked out with a bag full of decent, inexpensive forró LPs. They had a nice Genival Lacerda record on the wall.

Bazar Som Três in Salvador (da Bahia)
Crate digging at Bazar Som Três in Salvador (da Bahia)
Crate digging at Bazar Som Três in Salvador (da Bahia)

A city of vinyl at Bazar Som Três in Salvador (da Bahia). Genival is hiding on the upper right.

MINISOM was one of many stores scattered throughout Pelourinho. I found a few classic LPs in the store, including a beat up copy of O Dono Do Forró. The owner was incredibly helpful.

Aníbal Queiroga owns the wonderful Musikantiga. Musikantiga was challenging for us to find. His little shop was on the 5th floor of an older building in downtown Recife. It was well worth the search. Aníbal was incredibly generous and threw in some few lovely freebies. He had a wonderful selection of classic forró vinyl. I found some great records in his shop. Thank you to Samuel for the recommendation!

The entrance to Musikantiga in downtown Recife. 
 Musikantiga - A few of Aníbal's amazing LPs.

 Musikantiga - A vinyl dig.

Update September 2016: This is a newer article on the same subject focused on São Paulo. It looks excellent and features a few places from this post:

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