The band Ara Ketu derived from the Carnival bloco of the same name and was founded in 1980. Before reaching success in Brazil, they became popular in Europe with an entertaining, danceable mix of Afro-Bahian percussive grooves with electronic paraphernalia and performing in colorful outfits. The group also added a vocalist (Tatau) and a horn section, counting up to 12 members. Since its beginning, the group developed a work of research on traditional African music keeping in perspective Brazilian and international pop music. Soon they departed for international performances through Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., having been praised by the former Talking Heads David Byrne and Quincy Jones. Ara Ketu (1992), recorded for the English indie Seven Gates, was their first album, released only in Europe. The album sold 40,000 copies there and the band received the Caymmi trophy in Bahia as the Best Band of 1994. Returning from another European tour, the band was hired in 1993 by EMI-Odeon, recording Ara Ketu de Periperi. Moving to Sony Music, they recorded Ara Ketu Bom Demais (1994). The title track had a national hit and the prizes Bahia Folia and Troféu Dodô e Osmar, granting the title of Revelation of the Year to the group, while vocalist Tatau was awarded as Revelation Singer. Selling more than 210 thousand copies, the album achieved gold record status and opened way for 120 performances throughout Brazil. In 1995, Ara Ketu Dez sold more than 450 thousand copies (gold and platinum records), had more than 200 performances throughout Brazil, and promoted the bloco to win the Troféu Bahia Folia as Best Traditional Bloco and Best Costume and the Troféu Dodô e Osmar in categories Best Costume and Best Singer. In 1996, Dividindo Alegria sold 300,000 copies, granting new gold and platinum records. The show was presented in that year at the Brazilian Music Festival, at New York's Central Park. In 1997, Ara Ketu Prá Lá De Bom had another gold record. In 1998, Ara Ketu Ao Vivo reached the cipher of 2,000,000 sold copies, with gold, platinum, double-platinum, and diamond records. In 1999, Ara Ketu E O Povo Ao Vivo De Novo sold more than 300,000 copies and had a platinum record. ~ Alvaro Neder
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