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Brazil Classics 2 - O Samba LP
Luaka Bop Records
This is a compilation of samba from the collecting hands of David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. The selections primarily focus on the modern forms of the genre, more specifically on the studio end of the spectrum, with little or no relation to the large-scale productions associated with Carnaval in Rio. There are bits of reference to the classic sambas of the '60s in the songs here, and explorations into jazz on the side. Nods to Afro-Cuban influences are thick in the lyrics, going so far as to have a full song from the Candomble traditions based on the Yoruba orishas. Beyond this, though, there's a whole range of modern Brazilian music present in the background of these tracks, as slighter influences from MPB and Tropicalia quietly creep in now and then. The main force here though is the creative energy of a number of newer samba composers, forming exceptional works for the various singers. It can range from frenetic to extremely relaxed, but it's always solid music. It's the range of coverage, perhaps, that makes the album worth hearing. As such, it makes an outstanding jumping-off point for further listening in the realm of the samba.