Sunday, March 17, 2013

Various - Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical (Sire, 1989)

I knew about David Byrne's interest in Brazilian music from his release of (several?) Tom Zé albums on his Luaka Bop label, but it was still an unexpected treat to find this compilation of some of the best-known names in MBP doing songs of which I was often unfamiliar. Jorge Ben, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento...they're all here. While the fare is mostly removed from the psychedelic energy of tropicalia and mixes samba with bossa nova, I love the melodies these artists create, weird noises and trippy soundscapes aside. I'll try to scrounge up the liner notes by Arto Lindsay and David Byrne, as well as Arto's English translations of the lyrics; the two do a good job of getting across the stakes of this music during Brazil's period of military dictatorship in the late '60's / early 70's. 

Here's a doc I found, an interview with David Byrne and a friend, on his projects about and interest in Brazilian music - haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet but will soon...

Beleza Tropical (Umbabarauma): documentary with David Byrne, Susan Young and Charlie Gillett from Susan Young on Vimeo.

(Two notes: Unavoidable fuzziness on the first track, which you probably have anyway [it's on J. Ben's "Africa Brasil"], and, weirdly, I just noticed that the last track listed on the LP back cover, " Terra" by Caetano Veloso, is not on the physical LP...)

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