Tag Archives: Brazilian music

Dazzling French Nordestino Amalgam

Zé Boiadé – Zé qué casá (La Roda/Rue Stendhal, 2016)

Zé Boiadé is a Franco-Brazilian band based in Aix-en-Provence in southern France. The quartet includes skilled multi-instrumentalists along with vocals in French and Portuguese.

On their new album, Zé qué casá, scheduled for release in May 2016, Zé Boiadé incorporate Nordestino music (folk music from northeastern Brazil), choro, samba and French song (chanson). The Brazilian-French mix is what makes the band’s sound unique, bringing together two distant traditions, combining melodic songs with Brazilian beats and the European-influenced Brazilian string traditions.

There are primarily two sets of material on Zé qué casá. The songs featuring vocals in French set to Brazilian musical arrangements and the instrumentals. On the instrumentals, band members display their virtuosity providing exciting interplay and times for jamming as well.

Zé Boiadé was originally a duo featuring singer-songwriter Claire Luzi (vocals, mandolin, melodica and percussion) and Brazilian composer Cristiano Nacimento (7-string guitar, trombone, and percussion). They were later joined by two musicians from Marseilles: Wim Welker on cavaquinho (small Portuguese and Brazilian guitar), background vocals and 7-string guitar; and Olivier Boyer on pandeiro (frame drum), percussion and background vocals.

Zé qué casá is a delightfully crafted album featuring alluring acoustic interplay, infectious Brazilian rhythms and striking vocals.

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Learning Language through Music

Paulinho Garcia and Friends - Aquarela - Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese
Paulinho Garcia and Friends – Aquarela – Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese (GLP Music, 2016)

Brazilian musician Paulinho Garcia combines the pleasure of listening to great music with the teaching of language and accessible poetry. His album Aquarela – Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese features Brazilian music-flavored songs for children including clear pronunciation, with the intention of teaching Brazilian Portuguese. It’s a fabulous way to introduce children to music from other parts of the world and language as well.

I reflected on my youth and thought about what I liked,” says Paunlinho Garcia about the project. “I went beyond children’s songs and picked out songs I thought children would like, that I would have liked. Most people in Brazil have some similar experiences and there are some common songs that reflect them, some dating back a century.”

Paulinho Garcia - Photo by Jennifer Girard
Paulinho Garcia – Photo by Jennifer Girard

The albums features male and female vocals with delightful interactions between Paunlinho and Silvia Manrique. Paunlinho chose topics that children like to hear about; animals that attract them, like frogs and the fishes; tenderness and love from parents, teachers, and friends. “That’s what the songs are all about,” says Paunlinho. “They are learning, when you talk about love, and that’s the best unselfish love to learn about. That’s the love we dream about.”

The lineup on Aquarela includes Paulinho Garcia on vocals, bass and guitar; Heitor Garcia on percussion; Silvia Manrique on vocals; Cidinho Teixeira on accordion.
Aquarela is a charming and memorable album featuring timeless songs in Portuguese that are rooted in Brazilian tradition.

The wonderful CD booklet contains the lyrics in Portuguese and English-language translations. It is beautifully-illustrated by Daniela Violi and designed by exandra Romero Cortina.

Aquarela is a charming and memorable album featuring timeless songs in Portuguese that are rooted in Brazilian tradition.

Buy Aquarela – Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese

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2007 Brazilian Releases Available in North America

Farofa Carioca – Moro No Brasil

 

If you wonder what Seu Jorge was up to in the 1990s, check out Farofa Carioca’s fiery album Moro No Brasil  (Universal Music Latino). The group had a hit in the 1990s with its spectacular Afro-Brazilian funk, creating terrific music with a social conscience.

 

 

Muiza Adnet Sings Moacir Santos

 

Muiza Adnet Sings Moacir Santos has a bittersweet flavor. The album was meant as a tribute to legendary Brazilian singer and songwriter Moacir Santos, while he was still alive. He participated in the recording, singing duos with Muiza. Sadly, Santos died after the recording sessions in 2006. Muiza Adnet Sings Moacir Santos has an impressive cast of guests, including Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins, Mario Adnet, Armando Marcal, etc. The pieces range from ciranda to bossa nova and jazz.

British compilation Brasil Carnaval makes a great party CD and gives a good idea of the music heard during carnaval in Brazil, mixing batuque bands playing traditional samba, along with well known Brazilian stars such as Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto, and Gilberto Gil, performing some of their most popular song, and also some of the innovators who combine Brazilian roots with electronica and hip hop beats.

 

Choro Ensemble – Nosso Tempo

 

Nosso Tempo by Choro Ensemble presents a festive quintet format with five musicians. The group is composed by clarinetist Anat Cohen, cavaquinho virtuoso Pedro Ramos, guitarists Gustavo Dantas and Carlos Almeida, and percussionist Zé Almeida. The selection includes pieces by Cohen, Dantas and Almeida, as well as several pieces by Jacob de Bandolim and various other Brazilian composers.

 

Maria Rita – Samba Meu

 

Singer Maria Rita turns her attention from MPB to acoustic samba on Samba Meu (Warner Music Latina, 2007), showing her vocal talent.

Pianist Antonio Adolfo and singer Carol Saboya, with a talented jazz combo, pay a tribute to bossa nova classic and samba jazz on the intimate Ao Vivo Live.

The compilation titled The Gringo Guide to Rio Carnaval captures the party atmosphere of the escolas de samba (samba schools), featuring some of the best and most spectacular ensembles.

Hamilton de Holanda – Intimo

 

Mandolin maestro Hamilton de Holanda has recorded Intimo, a collection of solo mandolin pieces composed by de Holanda and several other renowned Brazilian musicians. Using simple recording techniques, avoiding studio gimmicks, De Holanda and his 10-string mandolin delight the mandolin music fans.

Céu has become one of the darlings of Brazilian music in the United States. Her songs were recently remixed by dance music specialists to appeal to the club fans. This remix is only available in digital download format.

 

Jorge Ben Jor – Football & Samba Groove Association

 

Jorge Ben Jor has recorded numerous hits that pay tribute to football (which Americans call soccer). Football & Samba Groove Association – The Artist’s Songs Inspired y Football collects these appealing songs, which combine Afro-Brazilian grooves with rock and pop.

 

Ricardo Silveira – Outro Rio

 

Virtuoso guitarist Ricardo Silveira has recruited an impressive group of musicians to participate in his latest recording. On Outro Rio he combines jazz, MPB and Brazilian folk.

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Hamilton De Holanda’s Brasilianos Earns Latin Grammy Nomination As “Best Instrumental Album”

Hamilton de Holanda – Brasilianos

Mandolin phenomenon Hamilton de Holanda has just been nominated for his first Latin Grammy award. The nomination is for his critically acclaimed debut for Adventure Music, Brasilianos, which was released in the summer of 2006.

I am thrilled to be nominated,” said De Holanda, speaking from Rio. “It is a personal honor and it also acknowledges the new generation of young virtuoso musicians who are mixing the best Brazilian spices into a universal musical pot,” he continued. “Maybe the best way to define what we are all doing is ‘modern is tradition,’ since we strive to remain true to the many artists who have inspired us, such as Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, Baden Powell, Pixinguinha, and Villa Lobos.” On Brasilianos, the 32 year-old De Holanda fronts a quintet of those top flight young Brazilian musicians, including guitarist (and Adventure Music label-mate) Daniel Santiago, bassist Andrew Vasconcellos, drummer Marcio Bahia, and harmonica player Gabriel Grossi.

Most recently, De Holanda collaborated with fellow mandolinist Mike Marshall on New Words – Novas Palavras (Adventure Music) and has just released a solo mandolin recording for the label, titled intimo. He is currently at work in Brazil with on a follow up quintet recording to Brasilianos, titled Brasilianos 2, which is scheduled for release in 2008.

Buy Brasilianos.

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Rob Curto’s Forró For All tours Midwest in June 2007

Rob Curto
Rob Curto

New York City Brazilian music group Rob Curto’s Forró For All will be touring the Midwestern United States in June 2007. They will be featured at important venues such as: The City Folk Festival in Dayton,.Ohio, Festival Latino in Columbus, Ohio, The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rob Curto’s Forró For All is a band dedicated to the sound of Northeastern Brazil’s traditional “forró pé de serra” music, performed with a sensibility born of New York City’s diverse and dynamic musical culture. In Northeastern Brazil a forró party unites communities and generations, with couples dancing, locked in a sensual embrace, to accordion, zabumba and triangle. This collective celebration is a creative response to the difficulties of life in the Northeast and an expression of fantastic musical intelligence and wit. June is the time of year when the traditional Festas Juninas are celebrated in Brazil, especially in the Northeast and forró is played non-stop. The Festas Juninas celebrate the religious, cultural, and rural roots of Brazil.

Forró For All’s founding member, Rob Curto, is a musician who both respects and transcends idioms, mixing elements of jazz with a language and feel that is distinctly Brazilian. A native New Yorker and important member of that city’s world music and jazz scene, Rob has also spent years intimately involved with the music and culture of the Brazilian Northeast. He studied with great accordionists from Pernambuco, Brazil such as Arlindo dos Oito Baixos, Camarão and Silveirinha, and with guitarist and master of harmony Alencar 7-Cordas from Paraíba.

Rob keeps as his bible the work of Dominguinhos (with whom he has performed), Sivuca, Oswaldinho, Hermeto Pascoal and of course the great innovator of forró, Luiz Gonzaga. He has spent years working as a musician in Brazil, and developed a reputation there as an extremely skillful and artistic forró accordionist. In addition his work includes playing and collaboration with heavy-weights of world music such as Lila Downs, David Krakauer, Cyro Baptista, Frank London and Omar Faruk Tekbilek.

Rob Curto’s Forró For All’s June tour features special guest: Rio de Janeiro vocalist, Magali. An institution of Rio’s yearly carnival, Magali, has composed and sung for numerous groups, most recently with Monobloco. In the U.S. she has collaborated with artists such as: Samba New York, Hank Schroy, and Jorge Amorim.

Rob Curto’s Forró For All have been featured at venues like: 2007 Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, Louisiana, the Madison World Music Festival in Madison, Wisconsin, the Chicago World Music Festival and many others.

Rob Curto’s Forró For All June 2007 Tour

Saturday, June 9th- Marquette Waterfront Festival (Madison, WI)
www.marquette-neighborhood.org

Sunday, June 10th- Club Timbuktu (Milwaukee, WI)
www.clubtimbuktu.us

Wednesday, June 13th-Nighttown (Cleveland Heights, OH
www.nighttowncleveland.com

Thursday, June 14th-The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI)
www.theark.org

Friday, June 15th-Saturday, June 16th-Festival Latino (Columbus, OH)
www.festivallatino.net

Sunday, June 17th-Shadow Lounge (Pittsburgh, PA)
www.7thmovement.net

Thursday, June 21st-City of Chicago Summerdance Series (Chicago, IL)

Friday, June 22nd- Carleton College Concert Hall presented by Art Org (Northfield, MN) Opening for The Bad Plus
www.artorg.info

Sunday, June 24th- The Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis, MN)
www.thecedar.org

Sunday, July 1st-CityFolk Festival (Dayton, OH)
www.cityfolk.org

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An Interview with Composer and Conductor Vince Mendoza

Vince Mendoza - photo by Pamela Fong
Vince Mendoza – photo by Pamela Fong

World Music Central interviewed composer and conductor Vince Mendoza coinciding with his December 1 concert with Brazilian guitarist and composer Guinga and the LA Philharmonic.

What attracted you about this project?

Years ago I was introduced to Guinga’s music and I was impressed by its beauty and complexity. I have always wanted to work with him, and am glad that I finally will be in conjunction with the LA Philharmonic.

What kind of arrangements do you plan for this concert?

The second half of the concert will consist of orchestral arrangements of Guinga’s music by Brazilian arranger Paulo Aragão. There is one arrangement by Trumpeter Jessé Sadoc, who is also a soloist on the concert. Finally, Ivan Lins will make a special appearance on the concert. I wrote 2 arrangements of his compositions.

This concert will combine musicians from various traditions: classical, jazz and world music. What would you call the final result?

As a composer I have always worked in a world of mixed musical languages. My activities as a conductor helped me to interpret these languages to instrumentalists and ensembles from different traditions. Personally, I love to work in many different styles, and it is a challenge to put the styles in the context of chamber music, jazz or symphonic orchestrations. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes it is heaven. But musicians need to be open to exploring the multitude of ways to express a musical thought. And in my experience I have found that musicians are much more open to exploring new languages in this manner.

How do you approach composing arrangements?

I think that first the composition has to appeal to me on a visceral level, because after all the analysis and transcription and “deconstruction”, the arrangement must have something that reflects my own view and feelings on the piece. I particularly enjoy working with the themes presented in the lyrics. In this respect I learned a lot from Joni Mitchell. My pattern is to take apart the song, find interesting elements on which I can base my own variations, and put it back together in my own way.

Which are your main sources of inspiration?

As musicians we do not live in a bubble. Well, some of us do. I think that we are influenced by our environment, and in particular the people with whom we play. When you are writing for improvisers, your music is much more subject to the interpretation and development of the instrumentalists. They often send you in a direction that is not expected, and are an endless inspiration to write.

Of course having said that, I love listening to music when I can. Most of my listening has to do with the projects repertoire that I am preparing at the time. We recently worked on a Flamenco project in the Netherlands, so I pulled out my Camarón recordings, and Sabícas/Enrique Morente CD. I am inspired by the Armenian Musician Djavan Gasparian. A friend recently turned me on to Chinese Composer Qigang Chen. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Dino Saluzzi from Argentina. His music is soulful and romantic. I love Salif Keita. Of course, everything else I need to know I get from Bach and Louis Armstrong.

Is it a challenge to combine orchestras with non classical soloists?

It really depends on the interface of the written music. The composer/arranger needs to understand how the music works, its language, with whom the soloist will be playing, and how the soloist will expect to react to the orchestra. If the music is written in this manner, then it is a lot easier to find a common ground.

In the past, you worked in other projects that combine jazz with world music, like Jazzpaña. What attracts to world music?

Actually, Jazzpaña chose me. Years ago, I had been working with the WDR organization in Germany and Siggi Loch from ACT Music approached me to write this music for the WDR Band plus the soloists. It was a turning point for me as it brought be into the musical world of another culture that shared the improvisational spirit and rhythmic vitality of Jazz music. Plus the music and musicians had such soul and character to their playing. Since then I have come across many musicians from other musical cultures with the same spirit of creativity. I am attracted to this. And I have a lot to learn.

When thinking about arrangements, what’s your favorite musical format?

I enjoy writing for orchestra for the color and beauty of sound. The big band of course is my roots, and is the source of a lot of my early experimentation. I love the power. However my next project will be concentrated on more small group compositions.

What other projects are you working on?

Besides my new recording that I am planning for the spring, I am working on some more dance music for the Compagnie Linga in Lausanne and the WDR band in Koln. I will also be doing a concert of my music in Germany this summer for the Traumzeit festival.

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Brazilian Music Recommendations for the Holidays

Eliane Elias – Around the City

Singer and keyboardist Eliane Elias’ entrancing style combines Brazilian rhythms with world music, funk, electronica and pop elements. On Around the City, Elias presents some of her own material along with popular music classics such as Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and “Bob Marley’s Jamming.”

Lenine is a well known figure in Brazilian music. His captivating style is edgy and current, combining rock, funk, and several forms of Brazilian roots music, including samba. His latest US release, Lenine, is on the Six Degrees label.

Hamilton de Holanda – Brasilianos

The Adventure Music label has been very active lately, releasing quite an impressive collection of contemporary instrumental music from Brazil. Brasilianos by Hamilton de Holanda Quintet features mandolin wizard Hamilton de Holanda on the 10-string mandolin. His acoustic ensemble plays jazzy instrumental pieces based on Brazilian rhythms.

Guitarist Daniel Santiago makes his Adventure Music debut with On the Way. Accompanied by a bassist and drummer, Santiago’s style is peaceable and cinematic, with a jazz rhythmic section. He pays musical tributes several Brazilian musicians, including legendary guitarist Baden Powell, Horta and Guinga.

Another Brazilian guitarist, Mario Adnet, presents the familiar sounds of bossa guitar. On the excellent From the Heart he combines his guitars and vocals with a rich ensemble of sounds, including flute and brass instruments such as trombone, trumpet and flugelhorn; electric guitar, piano and cello.

With a name like Philippe Baden Powell, it is not hard to figure the family connection. Philippe is Baden Powell’s son. Unlike his late father, the also talented Philippe plays keyboards. His style on Estrada de Terra is primarily adventurous contemporary jazz, sometimes going in an electric direction, other times drifting into a delightful meditative path.

As the name implies, the live recording Winds of Brazil (Um sopro de Brasil) is dedicated to wind instruments. Navigating blurry waters between classical, jazz and Brazilian folk music, Winds of Brazil showcases some of the top wind-instrument musicians in Brazil. Harmonica, flutes, trumpet, and saxophones are elegantly combined with a chamber ensemble featuring cello, acoustic bass, strings, piano, violins, guitar, cavaquinho, and percussion.

Virtuoso trombonist Vittor Santos plays a delightful mix of bossa nova and jazz on Renewed Impressions, his latest CD and his first solo work in nearly 10 years.

Back to guitarists with Marcos Amorim and his new CD, Sete Capelas (Seven Chapels). The project features Amorim on electric guitar, Robettinho Silva on drums and percussion, Ney Conceicao on bass, and guest flutist Nivaldo Ornelas. Amorim’s Brazilian jazz style easily switches from electric to acoustic. His music includes bossa nova, Latin and even Pat Metheny influences.

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Exploring Her Brazilian Roots

Flora Purim – Flora’s Song

Flora Purim – Flora’s Song (Narada Jazz, 70876-19349-2-2, 2005)

Blurring the lines between jazz and world music, Flora’s Song proves yet again that Flora Purim is one of Brazil’s finest exports. Her new album includes 10 songs, which include some of her original compositions and lyrics, as well as songs by other Brazilian and American talents.

On Flora’s Song, Flora Purim’s vocals are sometimes sensual and delicate. Other times, she ventures into adventurous jazz, which is nor surprising, as she was one of the pioneers of jazz fusion in the 1970s.

The album contains a wide spectrum of styles. There is contemporary jazz (not to be confused with sappy smooth jazz, sometimes marketed as contemporary jazz) led by José Neto inspired electric guitar licks and a tribute to legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. Also featured are intimate ballads, as well as funk and R&B highlighted by the participation of funk jazz master, keyboardist George Duke. But Flora Purim shines when she explores her Brazilian roots, singing in Portuguese and using spectacular samba and Afro-Cuban rhythms, as well as MPB (Brazilian Popular
Music) and bossa nova influences.

Brazilian percussion plays a key role, in the hands of longtime collaborator Airto Moreira. But there’s more. Steel pan maestro Andy Narell adds a new element to the mix and it works in a spectacular fashion. “The musicians were chosen with the same care as one would choose a craftsman to construct the navigation instruments of a ship,” Flora muses.

Artists & Instrumentation:
Flora Purim – vocals;
Mark Egan — bass;
Christian Jacob — piano;
Airto Moreira — drums;
Gary Meek — flute, alto flute;
George Duke — piano;
Reggie Hamilton — bass;
Sandro Feliciano — drums;
Grecco Buratto — guitar;
Dom Camardella — Hammond B3;
Marcos Silva — keyboards;
Gary Brown — bass;
José Neto — guitar;
Andy Narell — steel pans;
Harvey Wainapel — saxophone;
Jimmy Branly — drums, timbales;
Giovanni Hidalgo — congas;
Dori Caymmi — acoustic guitar;
André de Sant’anna — bass;
Krishna Booker — keyboard programming, human beat box;
Diana Booker, Corei Taylor and Rob Gardner — background vocals.

Buy Flora’s Song and her other CDs: Flora Purim Sings Milton Nascimento, Open Your Eyes You Can Fly,Stories to Tell, Everyday Everynight, Perpetual Emotion, Dafos, Speak No Evil, Nothing Will Be As It Was Tomorrow, 00 Miles High, Encounter, Wings of Imagination, Rhythmstick, Queen of the Night, Butterfly Dream, Flora E M.P.M, That’s What She Said, and Carry on – England.

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Brazil at Home and Abroad

Various Artists – Brizzi Do Brazil

Various Artists – Brizzi Do Brazil (Amiata Records ARNR
0304, 2004)

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Brazil: Bahia (World Music Network RGNET 1135 CD, 2004)

Creative give-and-take is integral to the music of Brazil. The elements that make Brazilian music what it is also make it rife for some inspired dabbling. One of these releases shows just how much reach Brazilian sounds have these days; the other is a splendid slice of the region where the deepest roots of the music remain vibrant.

The name Aldo Brizzi previously rang no bells for me. It was not until I read the promotional materials for the wonderfully captivating CD bearing his name that I learned he is an esteemed Italian classical composer and conductor who spends much of his time in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Through a fortunate set of circumstances that I won’t even try recounting here, he wound up collaborating musically, lyrically and in all respects passionately with some of his second home’s greatest musical talents. How great are we talking? Well, how do the likes of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown, Virginia Rodrigues and and Tom Ze sound?

On this disc, all of them and more sound great. Brizzi has a feel for moody, pensive arrangements that accommodate Brazilian elements remarkably well, including the African-rooted grooves, the poetic/prosaic lyrical and singing styles, the spirit that embraces both celebration and sadness and the rhythmic and melodic hooks that have made Brazil such an influence in music the world over.

Gil’s opening “Meninas de Programa” unfolds with a cautious, almost ominous tone, a melancholy that recurs throughout the disc but lets up enough to let the sun shine in. A study in contrasts is largely present too, with Rodrigues displaying her usual high operatic tones as the lush valleys between volcanic peaks of drumming laid down by Olodum on “Velada ou Revelada,” Brown weaving vocal and actual percussion through the reggae rhythm of “Toi” and Margareth Menezes and Arnaldo Atunes building “O Amor” into a heavenly spiral of samba syncopation, baritone voice and bass guitar.

Artists such as Ze and Portuguese band Ala Dos Namorados handle with finesse the more avant garde style pieces that first came about in Brazil in the ’60s, just as Veloso, Teresa Salgueiro, also from Portugal, and others of their ilk likewise justify the more stately, articulate works. There are a few over-reaching electronica moments, but the great majority of this disc sounds like an idea brought smashingly to reality by Brizzi and denizens of a country he clearly holds dear.

The Rough Guide to Brazil: Bahia

I know I’ve gushed plentifully about how great World Music Network’s Rough Guides are, and I’m not about to stop. They’ve covered particular facets of Brazilian music previously, and their latest Brazilian
offering throws a spotlight on the unbeatable sounds of the state of Bahia. Whip out a globe or a world map and marvel at how the eastern jut of Brazil could fit into the nook of west Africa as perfectly as a puzzle piece. Then put on this CD and listen to the equally perfect musical connection.

African culture influences every aspect of Bahian life to some extent, and this is most resoundingly true of the music. Small ensembles carry the beat as surely as massive carnival percussion groups, and over the years some of Brazil’s most popular musicians have emerged from Bahia or picked up the vibe of
the place. It was in fact Bahia’s Afro-centric attitude that mainly fueled the Brazilian musical renaissance known as Tropicalia, though it’s far more than that side of it offered on this disc.

Track after track you’ll hear rich Afro-Brazilian rhythms mixing it up with funk, jazz, pop, reggae and, naturally, homegrown sounds like samba and forro. Some of the same artists from the Brizzi album are also on this one, along with further notables like Silvia Torres, Daniela Mercury, Edson Gomes and Banda Percucia. All are presented in peak form, making this a disc you really must get.

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