Arandu Arakuaa is a unique folk metal band from Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The band was formed in 2008 by their mastermind Zândhio Aquino, who started composing songs with lyrics in “Tupi Antigo”, an extinct language spoken by the native Tupi people of Brazil. After several line-up additions and changes, the band finally got a more stable line-up around 2011 and in 2012 they self-released the 4-track EP “Arandu Arakuaa“. Next year they recorded their first full-length album “Kó Yby Oré“, which was released on the 3rd of September 2013.
There are times when I listen to an album and I am sure that this is something very good, regardless if I like the result or not. These albums have an unquestionable quality and originality, you just can’t ignore! On the other hand, there are albums that I know they are typical or even “amateurish”, but there is something in their music that just fits perfectly with my personal taste, making me “forgive” all possible flaws and turning my judgement less objective. “Kó Yby Oré” is an album that definitely belongs in the first category! Arandu Arakuaa combine heavy metal with indigenous Brazilian folk music and their intention is to disseminate and exploit the cultural manifestations of the indigenous peoples of Brazil. The band uses heavy guitars and powerful bass, with a very modern and solid sound, changing from heavy metal to rock and extreme metal. They also use wonderful acoustic guitars, combining them with several “exotic” local instruments, like maracá, viola caipira, whistles and synths. Their vocals are also very variable, thanks to their unique female singer Nájila Cristina, who sings both with brutal growling vocals and enchanting clean vocals, sometimes with a rock approach and other times with a folk or aethereal mood. Tribal male vocals from Zândhio Aquino add even more authenticity to their project.
The album has 13 songs, including the 4 tracks of the EP. Most of the compositions are short, somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes, so the total duration of the album is a little less than 46 minutes. Their songs have quite unusual structures, changing between metal orchestrations and acoustic music very unexpectedly, almost like the band is improvising. It’s not easy to listen or fully comprehend their music, since their folk melodic lines are totally different from what I am used to. Don’t expect any catchy “pleasant” or melancholic traditional tunes. They have a very tribal, wild and natural approach that fits so perfectly with their cultural background and their indigenous music. For me, their music is more than a mix of metal with folk. Arandu Arakuaa have studied a lot their local music and they tried to give us a new “modern” version of it, enriching the already “energetic” nature of this music with metal instruments and vocals. I believe that the final result shows full respect to their local culture and music and I recommend this album to every folk and metal fan that wants to listen to something different and totally authentic. Their music managed to travel me to their faraway land, giving me a glimpse of their ancestors’ traditions and a smell of their pristine tropical nature.
“Kó Yby Oré” is a self-released and self-produced album and even if it’s just their debut album, it has a very professional production and a crystal clear sound. It comes in a standard jewel-case edition with a 6-page folded booklet, including the lyrics, which are all written in the old Tupian language! The beautiful album artwork is by Leandro Lestat. Arandu Arakuaa have already released the official video for the song “Gûyrá“, where you can get a first taste of their music, as well a short album trailer that you can watch bellow. For more info you better visit their official pages.