Nation Beat has been making headlines across the continent.  Check out some of the buzz:


NATION BEAT is a NYC-Brazilian collision that parades with an infectious, audacious energy, seamlessly bridging folkloric Brazilian rhythms with classic American roots music in an altogether creative and original manner. NB’s 21st Century fusion is an explosion of thunderous Brazilian maracatu drumming and New Orleans second line rhythms, Appalachian-inspired bluegrass music, funk, rock, and country- blues.

When Dona Marivalda Maria dos Santos took the stage at Lincoln Center in Manhattan recently, she flickered like a psychedelic Snow White.

- Richard Gehr - eMusic

Tale of Two Nations Tour Brings Brazilian Maracatu to Big Night in Little Haiti

When you combine the traditional percussive powers of Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante with the rhythmic vibes of Nation Beat, the result is a mega carnival that’ll keep you dancing the samba til o nascer do sol.

“It’s an epic experience,” brags Scott Kettner of Nation Beat and Maracatu New York. “That’s all I can say. It’s a lot of fun dancing, drumming, and singing.”

Nation Beat has been drumming to the beat of maracatu since 2005 and has already reached several milestones… Like performing with Willie Nelson.

- Laurie Charles - Miami New Times


The history runs very deep on this one.  Nation Beat, an inspirational Brooklyn-based band headed by percussionist and musical adventurer Scott Kettner, makes a connection between southern Americana (think New Orleans) and the funky, pageant-prone, percussion-rich music of northeast Brazil (think forro and maracatu). Kettner has a long relationship with Recife’s Maracatu Nacao Estrea Brilhante–as much a theatrical community organization as a musical ensemble. On this night, Kettner realized a long dream, bringing the Brazilians to Lincoln Center, performing with them with Nation Beat (most harmoniously and beautifully, I might add), AND, to boot, having Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles, with Bo Dollis on hand, open up.  Wow!

At the end of this show, the Golden Eagles and Maracatu New York  joined in, and the entire ensemble marched through the crowd dancing, drumming and singing.  The action continues at Lincoln Center, but I don’t know what could top this.  I’m heading for the beach, with all this ringing in my ears…

- Banning Eyre - Afropop Worldwide

Batuque do Estrela Brilhante em Nova Iorque

Jon Pareles, editor de música do New York Times, assina a matéria que o NYT publicou ontem sobre a apresentação do Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante, no Lincoln Center, no Damrsoch Park, na programação de concertos ao ar livre do maior complexo cultural das Américas.

O Estrela Brilhante participa com os Mardi Gras Indians (grosso modo, os caboclinhos do carnaval de New Orleans), e o grupo Nation Beat  (formado por americanos e brasileiros, entre estes Jorge Martins, ex-Cascabulho)) da turnê A tale of two nations(A história de duas nações).

Pareles, conhecedor da música brasileira, e admirador da música de Pernambuco, lembra que o Estrela Brilhante estava com apenas 16 integrantes, mas mesmo assim as alfaias balaram as estruturas dos prédios que circundam o Lincoln Center, em Manhattan, próximo ao Central Park.

O Estrela Brilhante tocou com o Nation Beat, com o Maracatu Nação New York (também criado por Scott Kettner), e com o o grupo do Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, de New Orleans, num raro encontro de duas culturas nascidas da diáspora negra.

Scott Kettner, no começo deste ano,  esteve por aqui  peregrinando no Recife por gabinetes a fim de convencer autoridades competentes a bancar parte dos custos com a ida do Maracatu Estrela Brilhante para esta turnê pioneira.

Os poucos integrantes que que foram aos EUA renderam além de elogios ao maracatu, citações ao estado e ao Recife. Importante a matéria (a principal do caderno de música do NYT ontem).

O samba, a bossanova, a música popularesca do Brazilian Day, o Rio e a Bahia ainda são as referências de música brasileira no exterior.

Em tempo, o semanário “cabeça” Village  Voice destacou a apresentação do Estrela Brilhantes como um dos dez melhores shows da semana em Nova Iorque.

Confirma trecho da apresentação do Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante, ontem (dia 4 de agosto de 2013), no Lincoln Center, em Nova Iorque:

- José Teles - Jornal do Commercio - Recife, Brazil

Two carnival cultures converged by way of New York City on Friday night at Damrosch Park. A Lincoln Center Out of Doors concert hailed the African diaspora kinship of two venerable parade traditions: Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans, represented by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles; and the maracatu de nação (nation maracatu) of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, with Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante (“Maracatu Nation Bright Star”), from Recife.

Both styles rely on booming, swinging, danceable percussion and call-and-response chants that celebrate history and survival. And both feature flashy dressers. The Mardi Gras Indian tribes, or gangs, have chiefs who wear towering feathered suits with elaborately hand-beaded patches, while the maracatu nations have a king, a queen and ladies dressed as glitter-laden, color-saturated visions of the old Portuguese court.

The show’s New York City element was Nation Beat, the rock band led by the drummer and maracatu devotee Scott Kettner; its singer, Liliana Araújo, is Brazilian, and its lyrics are in Portuguese. Nation Beat has recorded withMaracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante and is touring the United States with the group, in shows billed as “A Tale of Two Nations.”

It’s the first United States tour by members of Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante, which was founded in 1906. The group couldn’t bring the platoons of drummers, singers and dancers that are assembled for carnival at home, just a 13-member core led by Mestre Walter Ferreira de França, who was also the lead singer.

Even with a skeletal lineup, the rhythmic drive was formidable as syncopations volleyed between clattering cowbells and sputtering bass drums. The royal retinue — including Marivalda Maria dos Santos, the group’s queen and president — arrived onstage in giant hoop skirts, under an awning-size umbrella, dancing as Portuguese aristocrats probably never did.

Nation Beat meshed with the Brazilians for some plugged-in maracatu topped with rabeca, a short-bowed fiddle played by Dennis Lichtman. Then it had the stage to itself, with hybrid songs that drew on maracatu and other rural Brazilian rhythms, like the triangle-driven forró, but also glanced north of the border for hints of ragtime, New Orleans second line and, in Mark Marshall’s guitar solos, wailing blues-rock.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles brought the club version of their music, with costumed singers backed by a funk band. (It’s the way Mardi Gras Indians perform when it’s not carnival time.)

Mr. Boudreaux, in bright yellow feathers, was flanked by a second chief, Bo Dollis Jr., plumed in blue; the band shifted the songs from tambourine-driven street chants toward R&B and, in one song, reggae. With the band bringing out his bluesy side, Mr. Boudreaux was a vigorous, authoritative singer. He and the band slowed down one Mardi Gras Indian staple, “Shallow Water,” for a long modal-jazz prelude that Mr. Boudreaux turned into a dark incantation; then the tempo picked up, and it became a fierce survivor’s boast.

The concert ended, rightfully, with a parade. The New Orleans chiefs, still in their suits, joined the Brazilians in their royal finery, bolstered by percussionists from Maracatu New York, Mr. Kettner’s other project. The rhythms swaggered and boomed across Damrosch Park, no amplification necessary.

- JON PARELES - New York Times

On paper, the musical fusion on Growing Stone comes off like a heady musicological experiment—or maybe a typical afternoon’s stroll through the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Nation Beat delivers fiddle-led stomps, alternately hailing from a hoedown in an Appalachian mountain holler, a Fais-do-do deep in cajun country, elemental blues straight out of rural Mississippi and bits of funk and swamp rock—all artfully welded to the rhythms and textures of Northern Brazil. Somehow, the collaboration between New York drummer/percussionist/producer Scott Kettner and Brazilian singer/ percussionist Liliana Araujo gels organically. The blend is often irresistible, from the heavy maracatu grooves of opener “Puxa O boi” to the call-and-response vocals and flickering guitar, fiddle, lap steel and horns of “Sebastiana.”

- Philip Booth - RELIX

“…. After decades of Brazilian musicians cannibalizing foreign genres – from rock to reggae – and making them their own, Kettner and company return the imitative flattery and create a fresh, vibrant hybrid that plants a foot in two disparate cultures and still dances up a storm….” – See more at:

- Marty Lipp - Roots World

“…..On the new record by Nation Beat, a Brazilian-inspired band led by Brooklyn-based percussionist Scott Kettner, the group goes beyond its Maracatu roots to explore more sounds from Northeastern Brazil—principally forro (pronounced Fo-HO), a syncopated beat that is highly popular in the region, especially in the state of Ceara, where vocalist Liliana Araujo hails from…….”


“…With its soaring fiddles and Memphis soul guitar, the bouncy, swaying title track is a showcase for frontwoman Liliana Araujo’s laid-back but raw, down-to-earth vocals – Forro for Salu has a rustic Brazilian string band vibe with the twin fiddles of Skye Steele and David Greeley over Kettner’s rumbling, hypnotic percussion….”

- Lucid Culture

……”Unlike most groups who combine disparate influences, Nation Beat’s music is free of any modern filter. In terms of melody and harmony the songs are firmly rooted in tradition, which makes Growing Stone sound like an organic artifact beamed from the past. Yeah, electric guitar and bass are present, but then there’s the punctuations of trombone and saxophone and the prominent, jubilant fiddle — actually a Brazilian type of violin called a rabeca which carries a distinctive thin tone.”…..

- John Barrett - Stereo Subversion

…”They’re the first American group to record in Brazil with the legendary Mestre Walter & Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante – and the first Brazilian band to perform with Willie Nelson who called Nation Beat “just a fantastic group”.

Click here to stream the 10 minute preview of Growing Stone.

- Afropop Worldwide PodCast Review

Nation Beat are a due based in the US who combine maracatu (and other rhythms from northeast Brazil) with styles from America’s deep south; cajun music, zydeco, country. It may sound like an incongruous mix, but it works. Part of the reason for this must go to Scott Kettner, an experienced percussionist and leader of the group.

- Sound and Colours

Top 10 World Music Albums:
Nation Beat  –  Meu Girassol  –  #1: Growing Stone

- Spin The Globe

Brazilian soccer may be on the wane a bit in the past few years, down to a lowly world ranking of number four after nearly a decade at or near number one. However music — Brazil’s other big cultural export — shows little sign of losing its edge. Artists including Ceu, Seu Jorge, and Forro in the Dark keep pushing tradition in new and interesting directions.

Now with their sophomore album Growing Stone, USA-Brazilian band Nation Beat prove that they deserve mention on that list as well. They dig up roots music from both cultures, blending swamp rock guitar, blues beats and Cajun and Appalachian fiddling from the north with maracatu rhythms and the ubiquitous Brazilian-style triangle. The resulting music feels amazingly natural, and will make you want to dance.

- Sound Roots

…The Brazilian-American collective Nation Beat plays a 21st century mash-up inspired by Brazilian maracatu drumming, New Orleans second line rhythms, Appalachian music, funk and country-blues……

- National Geographic - Nat Geo Music

……..“A delightful genre bender that is defining it’s own style”. (8/9/2011)

- Midwest Record