Various ‘Discover Music from Brazil’ (ARC) 4/5

discover-music-from-brazilEnterprising world roots label ARC have come up with a winner in this excellent compilation that not only showcases some of the lesser known names in Brazilian music, but actually provide two and even three examples of the individual artists concerned and this from a wide variety of original albums on their roster which adds greatly to the listener’s overall enjoyment. The north-eastern Brazilian delights of Group Bahia excel on the instrumental samba-jazz of ‘Samba Arc’, complete with guitar, flute and even harp. In fact they return for a delicious second helping on ‘Melodia para Katja’ where once again flute and fast-paced guitar and percussion in tandem predominate. For a terrific Jorge Ben cover, look no further than singer Odilara and her wonderful take on ‘Aquela beleza’ that reproduces the classic samba rock beat while singer Ceumar has clearly listened to Gal Costa whom she most resembles on the ever so soft delivery of ‘Banzo’, with stunning male vocal harmonies and finger snaps to complete proceedings with aplomb. The sound of the cavaquinho is discernible on the old-time feel of As Gatas”¿Brasil não seremos jamais, ou seremos?’ which is a kind of southern Brazilian equivalent of folk music and sounding all the better for it, and on ‘Bombachudo’, by Aldeia dos Anjoswith the accordion leading the way. Part martial arts and part music form, capoeira is at the heart of Brazilian culture and the stringed berimbau instrument is the focus of attention from Denis Porto on ‘Pomba Voou’, with contemporary beats added for good measure. Last, but by no means least., Amerindian music which is hardly ever promoted outside of Brazil is showcased by UK musician Ravi on ‘Amazon Journey Pt. 1’ which is a meditative piece. An ideal introduction to the roots of Brazilian music and even long-term devotees will find rich discoveries here.

Tim Stenhouse