Da Lata ‘Fabiola’ LP/CD (Agogo) 3/5

da lata fabiolaBrighton-based collective Da Lata graced the dancefloors in the 1990s with samba infused grooves and return with an updated and reinvigorated sound that now combines Brazilian with Afro-Beat. There is a subtle use of electronica and the occasional jazzy element. A reworking of the standard ‘Ronca da Cuica’ shows off to good effect the mix of Afro-Beat horns and percussion with the catchiest of guitar riffs with Brazilian Portuguese vocals. The opener ‘Un amor a mais’ is probably the most African influenced with Afro-Beat brass and percussion, an eastern feel in the 1970s keyboards and vocals from Luisa Mata. Fans of more traditional samba will feel at home with ‘Deixa’ which features Tania Maria-esque funky bass lines and cavaquinho with vocals supplied by Jandira Silva. Cape Verdean singer Mayra Andrade guests on ‘Unknown’ and it would be good to hear her sing in native Portuguese in a future collaboration. For a more reflective side to the Da Lata sound, the instrumental ‘Cambara’ is a very promising new facet to the group’s portfolio with accordion and melodic guitar and one that this writer would like to hear more of. This album represents a transitional phase in Da Lata’s career and they are well on the way to achieving a new, multi-dimensional identity.

Tim Stenhouse