Previously unseen video footage of Brazilian metallers SEPULTURA staying and recording with the Xavante tribe, an indigenous people within the territory of eastern Mato Grosso state in Brazil, in November 1995 can be seen below.
SEPULTURA‘s 1996 album “Roots” included the song “Itsari” (“roots” in the Xavante language), which was recorded during the band’s stay with the Xavante tribe and is said to be part of a healing ceremony chant. A small number of Xavante even travelled to São Paulo to partake in SEPULTURA‘s Barulho Contra Fome (Noise Against Hunger) concert in 1998 that marked the start of the band’s tour for the follow-up album, “Against” (as documented in SEPULTURA‘s music video for the song “Choke”).
Asked how SEPULTURA‘s collaboration with the Xavante tribe came about, the band’s then-drummer Igor Cavalera said in a 1996 interview: “After we did ‘Kaiowas’ on [the] ‘Chaos AD’ [album], we thought that the only thing that could top something like that for us would be to actually record something we’d done, and something out of our control with them.
“We all have a heritage, you know — a Indian heritage from Brazil. Everyone in SEPULTURA except [guitarist] Andreas [Kisser], [who has] an all-European heritage [since his family] went to Brazil after the war. Me, [then-SEPULTURA guitarist/vocalist] Max [Cavalera] and [SEPULTURA bassist] Paulo [Xisto Pinto Jr.], half of our families are native from Brazil, so it’s something really special for us to put on the album and to be part of it.
“The whole trip was something we never thought would be possible to achieve. Luckily enough, we spoke to the right person, and we didn’t have to go through the Brazilian government to get this done; it was straight from a person that represents the tribe outside, you know, so it was like amazing. It was just [about the] music; [that was] the main thing, it was music.
“Most of the white people that went there were studying them and doing research of what they were about, so they had no relation with them, …so with us, they were really happy to have us there, because we were not there to treat them as freaks… it was like just music. The exchange, you know. [We had] no compromise with them, which, to us, was really important. Not kind of like Sting, going into the tribe and after that trying to do something for the tribe, to save the tribe — nothing like that. We go in and had no compromise with that shit; all we wanted to do was play music with them and that was it.”
Regarding how SEPULTURA chose the Xavante tribe to collaborate with, Igor said: “I think the main thing was that we didn’t have to go through the government to speak to them. The fact that we picked the Xavante tribe was because it was our word and their word and that was it — no bullshit involved.”