BATMACUMBA featuring DJ CLIFFY with MOVEMENT at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (May 25). $15. www.batmacumba.com
If you've spent more than $200 on a ridiculously rare and funky Brazilian record recently, closer inspection will likely reveal the fingerprints of legendary UK record scrounger DJ Cliffy.
When he's not mixing swinging samba-jazz with bangin' batucada 'n' bass rippers at his popular Batmacumba night at the ICA in London, Michael "Cliffy" Clifford is supplying the world's top record dealers -- including Toronto's Cosmos -- with sought-after Brazilian vinyl treasures dug from basements and backrooms between Rio and Recife.
The influence of jazzy Brazilian grooves on contemporary club music from Basement Jaxx to Joe Clausell has been very good for Cliffy's arbitrage business.
"I think what attracts people to the Brazilian sound initially is the obvious rhythmic quality, as well as the great melodies and harmony," explains Clifford from his London home.
"As for me, I was into straight jazz before I got into some Brazilian jazz trios who were really swinging. But the decisive moment was hearing Misturada by Quarteto Novo. It takes you on this wild roller-coaster ride that leaves you thinking, Crikey, I've never heard anything like that before!' I had to find out more, so I took a trip to Brazil in 94 and wound up staying two years."
What Cliffy discovered was that the bossa and samba-jazz of the 60s that was so cherished in London had largely been discarded in Brazil when CDs arrived in the 80s. Knowing that one Bahian's trash was some Brit's treasure, Cliffy learned to speak Portuguese and started digging up the goods that can now be heard on dance floors in Tokyo, Torino and right here in Toronto.
"I had a promising tip that a store in this tiny village in the south of Brazil had some good records, but when I arrived there was nothing, really. The owner suggested I pay a visit to this guy who sometimes sold records on the street corner.
"So I took a train to his place in the middle of nowhere and found his garage packed with over 10,000 records. I spent a day and a half sorting through them, stacking them as I went, and found 100 great records that he kindly sold me at a discounted price for cleaning up the mess."TIM PERLICH