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Satwa

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Written, recorded and released just as Brazil’s military dictatorship reached the climax of its long black arc, the one and only album by Satwa is a divinely subtle protest. Now issued for the first time in America through the venerable Time-Lag Records in Maine and the stewardship of freeform fixture Erika Elder, Satwa, often cited as Brazil’s first independent record, is a mellow starburst of acoustic jangle.

Formed after the return of Lula Côrtes and Lailson from their respective foreign excursions – the former a beardo home after the requisite Moroccan sojourn, the latter a young long-hair back from the States – Satwa lasted only a year, perhaps due to their differing stripes. Lailson was from the verdant former Dutch colony of Pernanbuco, while Côrtes hailed from the wild badlands of Paraiba. But for 11 days in January 1973 the pair jammed cross-legged and produced the folk trance gems that adorn this self-titled debut.

At a time when censors caused newspapers to run cake recipes on their front pages in place of rejected news stories, Lailson only lets the occasional throat drone slip through his lips. Largely void of voice and word, the songs – Côrtes plucking steely leads from his sitar while Lailson’s 12-string thrums crystalline chords – are loose and lovely.

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