Marku Ribas: a farewell

Marku Ribas was an artist whose work deserved much more attention than it got.   Throughout his career, he gave his public the gift and joy of risk taking creativity. The multi-talented and free spirited Ribas, was the artist who officiated the “polirritmia”, a technique of producing sounds with his own body. His performances were mesmerizing and showed a musician well ahead of his own time.  It was with sadness that we  heard about his death on the 6th of April, at the age of 65, due to cancer.

<<Read in Brazilian Portuguese / Leia em Portugues Brasileiro >>

Even when passing away, Ribas demonstrated once more his alternative side.  For 2 days, social media was poured with messages of commiseration and farewells from his friends and from those who had the privilege to have worked with him. Among them, the musician Ed Motta, who wrote “Marku had a talent too exuberant for the parameters of the period in which he lived. Talent and presence have always been too unpleasant / uncomfortable for any scum that makes up this musical environment, whether in a magazine editorial or even the  mercantilist chutzpah ‘own so-called “artists” who have been taught like obedient cattle the great virtue of a gold record on the wall. The gold record  is obviously a metaphor, since the market does not exist as it was … “Pablo Castro also wrote in the present tense:  “Marku Ribas is one of the most exuberant Brazilian musicians of the twentieth century, who owns a voice that bordered the vibrations of nature. With a  strong and charismatic presence, an impetus and an unusual career of the most unusual, he released his first album still in the 60s, proposed with the best possible finish mixing between samba and funk… ”

Meanwhile, the  mainstream media gave greater importance to the fact that he had once, in 1985, participated in a clip with the Rolling Stones, almost ignoring the fact that t hroughout his 50 year career,  Marku Ribas recorded 12 albums, played with several renowned Brazilian musicians and even mingled with Bob Markey while living in the Caribbean.  Ribas was the musician who introduced Reggae and the Rastafarian philosophy to Brazil. He was also the first to travel to Africa to research new rhythms.


Perhaps, his work will stay in the Alternative circuit. Who knows? But it is certain that it will continue to be discovered and rediscovered by new artists and music lovers.

While searching for his clips in YouTube, it was difficult to choose just a couple. “Colcha de Retalhos”,  for example, made me smile a lots. The original is a classical from the “Caipira style”, also known as “Sertanejo” (a Brazilian musical style related to the American Country music). Typically, “caipira” songs are very melancholic. Ribas, made a surreal arrangement by playing  it as a Samba, which by contrast is urban and uplifting. On the clip, it is possible to see Rolando Boldrim, who is one of the biggest promoters of the “Sertanejo” style,  being taken away by the high vibe beat, while challenged to sing the lyrics along with Ribas.

To celebrate the life and work of Marku Ribas,  I have chosen the following clips:

Colcha de Retalhos

Zamba Ben

Altas Horas

Just Another Night

(Marku Ribas’ participation as a drummer with the Rolling Stones)

<<Leia em Portugues Brasileiro>>

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