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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

GRUPO BATUQUE

By Marie Elsie St. Léger
Published March 3, 2006

Samba de Futebol
Far Out Recordings

World Cup-winning Brazil is the land where football players are so mythic they go by one name, and Rio de Janeiro’s Grupo Batuque knows what makes the hearts of fans beat fast: good, old-fashioned, intricately weaved samba. In a move as nostalgic as it is wishful, Far Out releases Samba De Futebol, this percussive supergroup’s tribute to Brazil’s ongoing passion for all things football (soccer for American initiates). To stoke the fire even more, snippets of classic broadcast commentaries and live recordings of fans cheering their heroes fill the few gaps allowed on the recording. They don’t hurt any: Joined by one of Rio’s traditional samba schools, Imperio Serrano (led by Wilson das Neves), little can stop Grupo Batuque’s onslaught, as it pounds its way through such songs as “É Ruim,” “Ole Ola” and “Demorou,” all regularly heard football sambas.