UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Thursday, January 27, 2011



As the big, bad modern world marches on, more and more things change. Nothing wrong with the that, but some change is just a bummer. The record store has become nearly obsolete, with most folks buying all their music online. Ironically, vinyl outlasted the CD, but gone are the days of perusing the racks for tough-to-find gems, or hearing a track and rushing to the counter to ask the uber-snotty sales clerk, "what is this?" Remember when you actually had to go outside to buy music? Maybe you don't...

Modern Sound was an institution in Copacabana + Rio de Janeiro for 45 years. I remember buying records at a flea market years ago that had the Modern Sound sticker on it. Years later I moved to Rio and went to the store. They had long since stopped selling records (they would later return to wax...), but the store was a revelation! It was a giant clean white space, which oddly enough, did not play music. The sales staff was ridiculously knowledgeable and friendly. You could find the most obscure titles in any genre. Personally, I was buying all the Brazilian re-issues I couldn't track down on vinyl. Later on, when they started selling vinyl again, I pulled some amazing titles out of there on a regular basis.

Even cooler, was the store had Bistro Allegro, which hosted live music nearly every night of the week. The food was great, too! Simple Brazilian bar food, cold draft beer, cocktails, coffee... I saw countless shows there. I remember seeing J.T. Meirelles on the schedule and nearly falling over. I caught his sets every week for months! A few shows I can remember off hand are Leny Andrade, Osmar Milito, Dom Salvador, Claudette Soares and Marcos Valle. Countless contemporary artists as well. There was always an album release show going on. Great crowd, young and old. All music lovers. Simply put, one of my favorite places of all time to 'bate papo' - chat - and hear great music.

My fiend cried when I told her it closed December 31, 2010. Lots of folks had a similar reaction, including me. Getting misty as I type. I spoke with the owner, Pedro Sr., and asked him if there were any plans to re-open a scaled back version. He was uncertain. Well, we can only hope. I know it won't be the same, but at least the tradition would continue.

So in the meantime, hats of to Pedro Sr., Pedro Jr. and the whole Modern Sound family. 45 years of bringing the finest music to Rio and the world! THANK YOU! OBRIGADO!


  1. Bad news for the music scene in Rio. I always went to Modern Sound when I was in Rio. It was a great place. Especially the record release concerts will be missed.

  2. I'm an annual visitor to Rio and a music-lover and I, too, treasured Modern sound and mourn it's loss. I'm about to return (17-Nov-11); Do you know if it - and, more importantly, Bistro Allegro! - have reopened anywhere???
    And - Where else would you recommend for inexpensive or free music-performance???

  3. Big, big loss!! The world becomes virtual, we become obsolete. I will terribly miss that corner of the world that felt like my little paradise...

  4. Sei que os antigos donos da Modern & Sound inauguraram um espaço no Bairro da Lapa. Poderia enviar o endereço para martamartinovich@yahoo.com.br? Obrigada

  5. An involuntary return to the point of departure is, without doubt, the most disturbing of all journeys.

    Cheap Flights to Luanda

  6. My first visit to Modern Sound was in 2002 and I had just released my first R&B Single in Atlanta,GA. Yes I remember how the customer service was very friendly as they welcome me and totally encouraged me to come back to Modern Sound to perform one day . This breaks my heart to see the best record store in the world closed . I remember the live shows they had at the store . Their is no place like Rio De Janeiro Brazil that will embrace your music with open arms . I am forever a Brazilian because I know I have relatives there from Africa whom I have never met. Do Brasil 🎈🎶🎹🎤