Another amazing release from Honest Jons! “Biluka” is Dilson de Souza, who leads a kind of tropical chamber jazz while making music using leaves from a ficus tree. Dilson was from Barra do Pirai, in the Brazilian countryside. He moved to Rio as a young man, where he worked in construction. He recorded his first record in 1954, for RCA Victor. This record was originally recorded for the CAIFE label from Ecuador (this is a reissue).
Dilson played the leaf open, resting on his tongue, hands free, with his mouth as the resonator. Though a leaf can also be played rolled or folded in half, this method allowed for more precision. A picked ficus leaf stays fresh, crisp and clean-toned for around ten hours. He could play eight compositions, four at each end of the leaf, before it was spent. He plays trills and vibratos effortlessly, with utterly pure pitch, acrobatically sliding into notes and changing tone on the fly.
In [track 11] Manuco, he leads Los Caníbales into a mysterious landscape on a rope pulled from an Andean spaghetti western. A leaf, a harp, a xylophone, and a rondador (an Ecuadorian pan pipe) are joined in [track 3] Bailando Me Despido (Dancing As I Say Goodbye) by a saucy organ, doing call-and-response. In [track 8] Anacu de Mi Guambra, Biluka shows his full range of antics, including some melodic hiccups. He is one of a kind. Don’t Miss! AArbor