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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

ROUGH GUIDE TO RIO

By Marty Lipp
Published September 23, 2005

World Music Network

For the most part, this eclectic collection turns the table on the stereotype of Rio as solely the home of the Girl from Ipanema and the annual baccanal called carnaval.
Not surprisingly for the cultural capital of a musically inquisitive country like Brazil, Rio’s Cariocas move to a multiplicity of beats, though this album takes more of a contemporary take, leaving out the tropicalista and MPB stars that rose in the 1970s (though Elizete Cardoso represents the original bossa nova movement). Also notably absent are the more hard-hitting rock, rap and reggae ends of the musical spectrum. Ed Motta represents the American influence of funk and soul, while several tracks show Brazil’s penchant for cannibalizing styles and transforming them into the own rhythmically playful pop. Despite the side trips to pop, things never get too far from samba. Beth Carvalho fulfills her role as ambassador of rootsy samba, while Moises Santana festoons the carnaval sound with electronic ribbons and lace. Fernanda Porto and Clara Moreno update bossa with skittering electronics, while Trio Mocoto does its pop samba thing that predated much of today’s hybrids. If one doesn’t mind some shots of electronica swirled in your samba, this is an upbeat, mostly contemporary snapshot of one of the great musical cities.