We are exactly one month away from the Rio Olympics, and while the spotlight is on the thousands of athletes coming together to compete, all eyes are also on this year’s host country, Brazil. To celebrate the upcoming games, CBC Music enlisted Canadian electro-pop musician Coleman Hell to record a special new version of his hit song “2 Heads,” which incorporates the unique rhythms and sounds of Brazilian music.
Unbeknownst to CBC Music, Hell turned out to be the perfect artist for this task as he is admittedly a big fan of Brazilian music. In an interview, post-recording session, Hell said, “I don’t think they knew how excited I was to be part of this.”
While Hell doesn’t speak Portuguese, he said he enjoys this style of music for its “rhythms, chords and melodies.” After being introduced to the music by a friend who had travelled to Brazil, Hell took it upon himself to seek out music by artists like Caetano Veloso and Jorge Ben Jor. “I just delved into it,” Hell remembered. “Sometimes I’ll Google translate the lyrics or something so I can have a brief understanding of what they’re saying but it’s more about the emotion of it and I think in recording this version of ‘2 Heads’ the same thing happened — it brought this new spirit to it.”
The original “2 Heads” is an infectious, banjo-laden pop anthem that follows a relationship that has reared its ugly head (well, two heads), but as Hell mentioned, this Rio remix comes off more celebratory. Complete with a number of drums and a horn section (Hell's suggestion), the collaborative atmosphere in the CBC studio that day was fun and energetic, a feeling that viewers will get as soon as they hit play on the video.
Hell and the musicians brought in for the session got along so well that they’ve even spoken about performing this new version of “2 Heads” live together. “That would be really cool if we could get together for that,” Hell said. Looking back at this experience, Hell reveals that these sounds may play a part in his future records. “I think there’s probably room for it to influence me more later in my life; I just really like the rhythms," he added.
When asked if Hell had any particular memories of the Olympics growing up, he couldn’t pick any specific moment but instead fondly remembered the overall excitement and patriotism following the events. “Growing up with my family, we’d follow every Olympics,” he recalled. “It’s always been part of my life and I think being a Canadian in general. It brings the country together.”