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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Various Artists

By Tom Orr
Published February 15, 2006

Mondo Melodia

Sure, we all know you can't sum up samba in one single-disc compilation, but that hasn't stopped such labels as Luaka Bop, Hemisphere and World Music Network from putting out savory samba collections. Now Mondo Melodia weighs in with its own winner, Mondo Samba. Masters like Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque and Maria Bethania handle the variety of nuances within the samba structure, while samba's ability to absorb elements of other styles (rock, jazz, classical) is abundantly displayed as well. This disc succeeds on musical content as well as range. The oldest track (Gilberto Gil's nimble "Roda") is from 1967 and the newest from 2000, both superstars and lesser-known names are represented, and the tracks are a good mix of the percussively primal and the more smoothly polished. Don't fret that this is yet another scratching of the surface, just set your mind on enjoyment and groove from start to finish.