- Karnak (band)
, although the band rejects this label, claiming that their "ethnic" sound results from their intuition, not from researches.
1992, lead singerand guitarist André Abujamra, had ended his musical duo Os Mulheres Negraswith Maurício Pereiraand went travelling throughout the world with an audio recorder in his hand, collecting every kind of music he could find, with the idea of creating a band that combined these various styles with Brazilian regional music and modern styles like rock, pop and electronic music. One of the destinations of his trip was the ancient tombs of Karnak. He was deeply affected by the tomb and decided to name his band after it.Upon returning to Brazil, he recruited musiciansfor the band, mostly from among his friends. He even kept two drummers in the band because both were old friends and he couldn't dismiss one of them. The project swelled to inlude 10 musicians, two actors and a dog. The band rehearsed for a year before playing a concerrt, and soon became known for their unusual shows featuring comedy sketches and unusual attire, especially a penchant for odd hats.
First album, recognition in Brazil
1995they released their first album, Karnak. The album was released by the now defunct Brazilian label Tinitus, and is believed to have sold 50,000-100,000 copies as of 2008. After the label's demise, the album was re-released some years after by another label, Net Records. The album was praised by critics but got little airtime on commercial radio, however, Karnak became well-known on university radio stations around São Paulo and it even got some videos played in Brazilian MTV.
econd album, international tours
The band's second album,
Universo Umbigo("Bellybutton Universe"), in 1997, was released by Velas, another now-defunct label. The lineup had by this time reached it's apex, with 15 persons, including a belly dancer. In Brazil, the album had less impact that the first one, and to this day it is out of catalog and available only as download at the emusicstore under the name of "Karnak Universo". Although it didn't do well in their own country, it became popular to some extent on college radio in the United States.
After the release, Karnak toured the USA,
Canadaand Europein 1998. They changed the name of the band to "The Karnak", but quickly changed it back. Several members left the band, bringing the total membership down to nine. In the same year, they released a "best of" album in France, called Original] . The album featured songs from the first two albums, plus a French version of the song Alma Não Tem Cor("Souls doesn't have colors") and a remix of the song Comendo Uva na Chuva("Eating grapes in the rain") by André Abujamra.
Upon the band's return to Brazil the next year, they started to record their third album,
Estamos Adorando Tóquio("We are loving Tokio"). With the lineup down to seven members, the album was released in 2000, by Net Records, an independent label that aims to find alternative ways of distributing, selling, etc., to lower costs - making the records less tempting to music pirates. Thusly, the album was sold in newspaper stands at a cheaper price than in record stores.The band went touring internationally again in 2001.The album, in terms, was as successful as the first one; although in the mainstream media its impact wasn't the same as the 1995 record, they played more shows, gathered more fans and became a little more known outside São Paulo.
December 16, 2002, André Abujamra wrote a message to Karnak producer Belma Ikeda which she forwarded to the largest e-mail based discussion listabout the band. The message's content was stunned the fans: it explained that the band felt that a cycle was finished, so, they were stopping their activities. Their two scheduled shows for the next week would be their last. The concerts were converted to a celebration of the band's existence, and featured the presence of all Karnak members and ex-members, totaling almost twenty people on stage.
The next year,
2003, a two-disc compilation of "pirate" live recordings was released, under the name Os Piratas do Karnak("The pirates of Karnak").
Returning to activities
Although André confirmed that Karnak was finished, they have performed at least once a year since 2003, usually in SESC Pompéia, a culture complex located in São Paulo. Then, in one of these seasonal performances, in 2006, André announced that the band was resuming their activities. He attributed their pause, humorously or not, to his uncertainty whether or not he would survive a
gastric bypass surgery. He promised that the band would record a new album with new original songs.
Karnak can be seen now giving concerts in the city of São Paulo and sometimes in other nearby cities. The lineup changes constantly from one gig to another, except for the "golden members", who are present at almost every show.
Karnak's Multicolored Book
At the end of 2006 the
mockumentary The Karnak's Multicolored Bookwas released. The film narrates a fictitious behind-the-scenes of a 2004 secret Chinese tour, but in fact it documents the bands supposed "final gig" in 2002. It premiered in the 30th annual São Paulo International Film Festival, and is available for download for those who access Karnak's community on orkut.
Universo Umbigo" - 1997
Estamos Adorando Tóquio" - 2000
Os Piratas do Karnak" - 2003
From start to end ("the golden members")
André Abujamra- vocals, electric guitar
Marcos Bowie- trumpet, vocals
Hugo Hori- saxophone, vocals
Kuki Stolarski- drums
Eduardo Cabello- electric guitar
Luiz Macedo- electric guitar (1992/1996)
Paulo Gregori- performances (1992/1996)
Sérgio Bártolo- bass (1992/2001)
Lulu Camargo- keyboards and samplers (1992/2001)
Carneiro Sândalo- drums (1992/1999)
James Müller- percussion (1992/1999)
* Jeton - Sândalo's dog (1992/1999)
Lloyd Bonnemaison- saxophone (1997/1999)
* Tiquinho - trombone (1997/1999)
* Zuzu - belly dancer (1997/1999)
Mano Bap- bass, electric guitar (1996/2000, 2002)
Juliano Beccari- keyboards and samplers (2001/2002)
olo and parallel careers
* André Abujamra: released two solo albums:
O Infinito de Pé("The Infinite standing up"), in 2004, and Retransformafrikando(a pun on the words "Retransforming", "Staying" and "Africa"), in 2007.
* Lulu Camargo: official member of Brazilian band
Pato Fusince 2005.
* Hugo Hori, Kuki Stolarski, Juliano Beccari, Sérgio Bártolo, James Müller: currently members of Brazilian band
Funk Como Le Gusta.
* Kuki Stolarski is also member of Brazilian band
Bojo. The band has once Lulu Camargo in its lineup.
* Mano Bap, Hugo Hori and Juliano Beccari are also members of the Brazilian band
The Central Scrutinizer Band, along with Marcos Bowie.
* [http://revmweb.com/karnak Robson Mafra Home Page] ("in Portuguese")
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