Brazilian music really gets the heart pumping

At today’s St. Hubert street sale, I noticed a crowd gathered near a stage as a band was playing. I figured I’d stick around a couple of minutes to take some pictures.

I ended up sticking around to the end.

It wasn’t so much that the music was so amazing. There weren’t any awesome Van Halen-like guitar riffs. But there was a beat, and it got the crowd moving.

The band in question, as far as I can tell, is actually two local Brazilian music bands (who knew?), called Zuruba and Bombolessé. They were hired by the people behind the street sale to entertain the crowd while they did their shopping.

All you really need to know about this group is that, of the 14 members, nine are drummers.

That creates a beat.

The rest, using bass guitar, electric guitar, keyboard and trombone, provide just enough non-percussion rhythm to make it work.

Now, I’m not a music writer. I don’t know jack squat about music. I just know what I like and what I don’t. So I can’t tell you what about the music exactly makes it great (and sadly, there’s nothing online that I can point you to that would do it justice). But I can show you a crowd that, young and old, were taken by the rhythm.

Part of the appeal, of course, was the stage presence of the band. Everyone there looked like they were genuinely having fun, despite the high temperatures and the fact that they were all drenched in sweat. They were moving around faster than my camera could focus on, and that energy infected the audience.

I’m just noticing now that the drummers were barefoot on stage. I guess that helped them cool down.

Despite the fact that the audience was already with them, the band did the best it could to try and get everyone involved. Here, one of them jumps into the crowd and gets them pumped harder than a Billy Blanks video.

That didn’t always work, though. When they tried to get everyone to squat in the middle of the street, only about a dozen followed their orders.

Later, they got some of the crowd on stage to dance. I feel bad for the drummers in back, though, who are soaking wet by this point.

In the end, the crowd convinced the band (and entertainment organizers) to keep going beyond their allotted time. Once they were done, the crowd dispersed, though some remained to take pictures of themselves with the group. Here, you’ll notice at least three female members of the band looking straight at me. This is because they totally have a thing for me.

I spent a good 10 minutes lowering my heart rate back to normal (because of the music, not the girls).

If you want to check them out, the band is rumoured to be playing the Ste. Catherine Street fair today (Sunday) in the early afternoon.

5 thoughts on “Brazilian music really gets the heart pumping

  1. Julie Belanger

    Hi there!

    I play with Zuruba and I just wanted to say your pics are great :) I’m glad you enjoyed the show! Indeed, Zuruba also had another bunch of percussionists also playing all day (11am to 4pm) saturday and sunday on Ste-Catherine (corner of Stanley) and we had a blast!!! We even played in the pouring rain on Sunday on Ste-Cath. but we did stop a bit earlier than 4pm.

    Come catch us on the 31st of July from noon to 1pm, we’ll be playing at the Place Riopelle (next to the Palais des Congrès) as part of the série du midi du Quartier international de Montréal.

    Just imagine how the sound will be with all those tall buildings echoing all around us!

    Hope to see you there!


  2. Samba man

    Zuruba and Bombolessé are nice bands. However, they play a simplified version of Brazilian music, that while fun, isn’t quite authentic. There’s another group in Montreal called Estação da Luz that has been doing amazing things with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. They recently played at Nuits d’Afrique and won the Sily d’Or prize for world music. CBC Radio 2 sometimes records their shows.
    I encourage people to check them out. Their site is

    (Yes, I’m involved with the band, for the record).


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