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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

SILVERIO PESSOA

By Eliseo Cardona
Published September 13, 2005

Bate o manca
Outro Brasil

Silverio Pessoa comes from a breed of Brazilian musicians eager to examine the past in order to sing the future. Think of the late, great Chico Science and his revamping of northeastern Brazil's baiao and maracatu styles; or of Luiz Gonzaga, the godfather of musica nordestina, who turned traditional rhythms into modern sounds in the early '70s. Pessoa, who hails from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, follows in the footsteps of these regional giants to update the accordion-driven forro tradition for the pop arena. Based mostly on the songs of fellow Pernambucano Jacinto Silva, Bate o manca o povo dos canaviais (The people of the sugarcane fields) gives the raw, countrified sound of traditional forro a modern vocabulary without whitewashing the music's roots. David Byrne once defined forro as "the music of people with a dancing soul," and Pessoa puts danceability first and foremost here by taking a page from the book of Lenine and marrying the rhythmic swing of forro to the production standards of contemporary dance music. But be forewarned: this album is only to be taken by those sturdy enough not to need a break while on the dancefloor.