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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

SMOKEY AND MIHO

By TOM ORR
Published April 19, 2006

Smokey and Miho
Afro Sambas

Tempo de Amor: Songs by Baden Powell
Afro Sambas

Smokey Hormel could have been content to let his claim to fame be the fact (no joke) that his grandfather invented Spam, but instead he made a name as an ace guitarist, accompanying the likes of Tom Waits and Beck. Japanese vocalist Miho Hatori’s considerable singing talents have graced the works of such slightly oddball outfits as Cibo Matto and Gorillaz. Were it not for their mutual love of classic Brazilian samba and bossa nova, they might have no common ground. Thankfully, such kinship does exist. There’s no full-length disc from the duo yet, but these two smooth and satisfying EPs score plenty of points. The eponymous CD consists of five warm, tropicalia-flavored originals, including the Y Tu Mama Tambien soundtrack cut “Ocean in Your Eyes.” Tempo de Amor turns the flame higher with five stunning Baden Powell covers. With a small but flawless combo providing acoustic bass, percussion and trumpet, Smokey and Miho roll out a golden age Brazilian sound that is authentic, affectionate, and full of soul.