Brazil: Samba, Bossa and Beyond! is a seductive collection of songs that originate across the vast tropical country of Brazil from the Amazonian rhythms of Belém and African roots of Bahia to the romantic reveries of Rio and the samba soul of São Paulo. Brazilian music offers a mixture of the deep cultural traditions of the Americas, Europe and Africa, simmered over the centuries in this unique South American melting pot. Putumayo has also added an album download card to the CD package.
The album opens with the velvety voice of Vania Abreu, sister of superstar Daniela Mercury, who gives a silky rendition of the Djavan classic “Embola Bola.” Abreu’s laid-back Afro-Brazilian rhythms transition to the bossa nova of Rogê’s, “Fala Brasil,” a love song to his home country. The nomadic songstress Bïa follows with “Beijo,” an ode to Brazilians’ passion for kissing. It blends the forró style of Brazil’s Northeast with the laidback charm of a Parisian café.
On “Sapata de Ouro,” Sandália de Prata serves up their signature heavy samba, a style they’ve helped pioneer since bursting onto the music scene. Here, they bring together classic samba with radiant brass arrangements of soul, funk and jazz. Then, the late Rio songwriter Luiz Melodia recounts a moving tale of love and heartache on “Recado Que Maria Mandou.”
“Homenagem aos Orixás,” an homage to traditional West African saints, was Dona Onete’s first album, which was recorded in 2012 when she was 73 years old. Since then, she has commanded the attention of audiences around the world with her distinctive voice. Sambasonics follow up with a flashback to 1970s Brazil, a golden era of samba soul when Jorge Ben (a.k.a. “Babulina,” the namesake of the song). Ben, who was featured on Putumayo’s first compilation, has inspired countless musicians and songwriters in Brazil and around the world.
Our exploration of Brazil’s diverse multicultural influences continues with Dendê & Band’s “Sete Espadas,” a traditional candomblé song honoring Ogum, a powerful West African god. On “O Samba Me Cantou – O Flerte da Alma com O Samba,” Jair Oliveira sings of the seductive power of Brazil’s quintessential music style: “they say that I sang samba, but it was the samba that sang me.” Concluding our musical journey, singer and journalist Aricia Mess speaks to her deep spiritual connection with Brazilian music on “Batuque é Reza Forte” (Rhythm is a Strong Prayer), with special guest Dona Onete.