Director Bruno Murtinho brings full Brazilian musical immersion in his documentary Amazônia Groove. In which we follow the river into remote parts of the Amazon forest in Northeastern Brazil. We meet an accomplished group of musicians who each have a story of land, water, and life to tell, but come together to create a full synthesis of musical, cultural experience that documents their uniquely beautiful part of the Earth and their love of their land and their lives—artists and their traditions, faith and mysticism, music and life
Not much has been known of this incredible place or this music. The joy of the film is to drink in the sounds from South American and Caribbean influences we know in a fusion with the unfamiliar that results in music that is entirely new.
“…an accomplished group of musicians who each have a story of land, water, and life…“
The film is framed in a trip on the river. Trees and water glide by along with the stories and music. The images are breathtaking, and while cinematic skills are abundantly present, it’s also clear that it would be difficult to shoot anything other than exquisite footage surrounded by this natural beauty.
The musicians we meet tell stories of their lives, the mystique of the river, and Brazil, culminating in a group jam at the end that showcases all their styles in a rhythmic melange of magical sound.
This is a delightful journey. It doesn’t quite qualify as a film, playing more like a collection of videos and interviews, but if you have the time and don’t mind the slower pace, it’s an enriching diversion.
Amazônia Groove (2019) Directed by Bruno Murtinho. Starring Dona Onete, Manoel Cordeiro, Sebastião Tabajos, DJ Waldo Squash. Amazônia Groove screened at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.
6 out of 10