Rhythms of the City
Rhythms of the City (F-IRE CD26, 2008)
The city of this disc’s title is London and the collective known as Rhythms of the City began there as a community project built around Brazilian rhythms learned in workshops and presented in carnival and concert settings. A major player on this CD is Barak Schmool, a multi-instrumentalist whose familiar name I couldn’t place until I remembered him to be a regular contributor to the UK world music magazine Songlines.
Schmool is the arranger and primary percussionist on all these tracks, which combine seamlessly tight layers of Brazilian percussion with electric instrumentation and horns provided in part by Son Veneno, a visiting ensemble from Sydney who hooked up with the London crew in 2006. The results are a kind of delightfully supercharged samba with bits of salsa, funk and hip-hop.
There’s a celebratory spirit that kicks in at the start and never lets up as a battery of drums, bells, shakers and the like charge up joyous call-and-response vocals occasionally cooled down to make way for a berimbau solo or a brief snatch of ROTC playing live. Source material ranges from classic Cuban and Colombian salsa compositions to the Aretha Franklin classic “Respect,” all pumped with Brazilian grooves designed to lift the spirit and get the body in motion.< A ferociously fun disc, performed with loving expertise and abundant liveliness.
Available from www.rhythmsofthecity.com.