"It's like living five years in five months," Ferraz says. "The response has been way better than we could imagine. We sing Portuguese and we played for only two years in our hometown, maybe 20 or 30 shows. It felt like we played nearly that many shows when we played South by Southwest (in
The concerts were prompted by the release last year of Boogarins debut album, "As Plantas Que Curam" (Other Music), which won acclaim for its warm, sly homage to '60s and '70s psychedelia and twisted update of Brazilian Tropicalia -- references that Ferraz appreciates but doesn't entirely endorse.
He met Almeida during his first year in high school and they quickly hit it off as musical brothers. "We were bored in class, so we'd go sit in the garden and play guitars and write songs," Ferraz says. They began recording their senior year, mostly to learn the ins and outs of professional studios, but did their most satisfying work on the crude equipment in Ferraz's house. They were having so much fun that even when Almeida went off to a nearby college, he would come home every Sunday just to work with Ferraz. "The goal was to write, record and mix something every time we got together so that Fernando would have something to listen to on the bus ride back to school," he says with a laugh.
"The first song we recorded became the last song ('Paul') on our album," he says "It's a totally messed-up recording with everything distorted, including the voice. I recorded the drums with an iMac microphone, which you use to
Though their city holds 1.3 million people, the type of music they were interested in -- indie-rock with an unpolished flair for experimentation -- didn't command a significant audience, and there were few venues for bands of their ilk to play. But encouraged by their friends, Ferraz and Almeida recruited a rhythm section and started to book a few local shows. They dubbed their band Boogarins, based on the name of a jasmine flower in their homeland. "I was thinking about the feeling of the songs and came along a description of this flower -- 'it smells like pure love,' " Ferraz says. "I think a lot of our songs are designed to give you a good feeling. They make you go inside yourself in a happy way. You go out better than you arrive."
The album title has a similarly cosmic-hippie connotation -- loosely translated as "Plants that heal." Boogarins made six songs available on-line and began garnering unexpected interest not only from fans and clubs in their hometown, but from arond the world. "We thought people in our home city would like it, because we were giving them Portugeuse pop songs that they could sing along with," Ferraz says. "But it didn't sound like the stuff other bands were doing."
The music, as advertised, comes across as dreamy and more than a little trippy. Soon after its release, the album began developing an international following and ended up on several 2013 best-of lists, including the Tribune's. "As Plantas Que Curam" brought comparisons to Brazilian forebearers such as Os Mutantes, who were associated with the revolutionary Tropicalia movement that challenged the country's dictatorship in the late '60s with music that blended indigenous influences, psychedelic and progressive rock.
But Ferraz says the music of another outsider, Pink Floyd founder
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