Another great Singer that Died Before his Time.
Chico Science (March 13, 1966 – February 2, 1997) was a Brazilian singer and composer and one of the founders of the Mangue Bit cultural movement. He died in a car accident in 1997 in Recife, Pernambuco, at the age of 30.
Born in the Rio Doce neighbourhood of Olinda in the state of Pernambuco in Brazil’s Northeast, as a little boy he would sell crabs that he caught himself in the city’s mangrove swamps.
He became the lead singer and major creative driving force of the groundbreaking Mangue Bit band called Chico Science & Nação Zumbi (CSNZ). Influenced by such musicians as James Brown, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, their music cleverly fused rock, funk, and hip hop with maracatu and other traditional rhythms of Brazil’s Northeast. Chico had a powerful stage presence that was compared by some to that of Jimi Hendrix.
Before CSNZ, Chico was a member of the bands Orla Orbe and Loustal (the latter named after the French comic book artist and cartoonist Jacques de Loustal).
Around 1991, Chico Science, along with singer Fred 04 of the band Mundo Livre S/A, founded the Mangue Bit cultural movement in response to dire economic and cultural stagnation in Recife and Olinda. CSNZ made their US debut at New York’s Central Park Summer Stage in 1995, opening for Gilberto Gil, with whom he collaborated during the encore. While in NY, they also performed additional shows at CBGB’s, SOB’s and at Bryant Park as part of the JVC Jazz Festival, on a bill with the Ohio Players.
Chico Science & Nação Zumbi toured several times in Europe and brought massive attention to the new generation of Brazilian artists in the 1990s. With only two full albums released during his lifetime “Da Lama Ao Caos’ (‘From Mud To Chaos) and ‘Afrociberdelia’ (as well as a postuhumous double CD of remixes and live recordings “CSNZ’), his influence and vision became the foundation to a whole new generation of musicians in Brazil. Chico’s genius was to celebrate the rich and fascinating local culture of his home state of Pernambuco state and fused it with all the modern global trends of the 1990s – Computers (hence the word bit, first confused for and now accepted as a musical beat), Mud, Misery, Cyberspace, Hip Hop and roots music co-existed peacefully in Chico’s world.
Nação Zumbi have continued to record and tour internationally after Chico’s death. Many artists have been greatly influenced by the Mangue Bit movement and by Chico himself. These artists include Cordel do Fogo Encantado, Mombojó e Otto, going on to Sepultura (more specifically the album Roots), Cássia Eller (interpreting his songs Corpo de Lama and Quando a Maré Encher), Fernanda Abreu (Raio X album) and Arnaldo Antunes (O Silêncio album).
Here he is singing Maracatu Atômico