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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Various Artists

By Tom Jackson
Published April 3, 2007

Copa Reggae
Sony BMG

With the World Cup finals of 2006 now little more than a memory, it can be a difficult task to recall the excitement, and above all the anticipation of excitement, prompted by that once-every-four-years festival of the Beautiful Game. Which leaves the party fizz of these two World Cup-related releases a little flat at this recent-historical distance. One of the notable characteristics of the 2006 tournament was something like a dog not barking in the night: the much anticipated, heart-stopping performances from Brazil that simply failed to materialize. Perhaps Barcelona and Brazil player Ronaldinho should have spent less time ahead of the finals selecting music for his SambaGoal compilation. His involvement in the CD appears to have been more than ticking boxes: he goes so far as to contribute drums and vocals to the workmanlike, football-related “Goleador” by Samba Tri. The rest of the disc is a mixture of the venerable—Tamba Trio’s version of Jorge Ben’s “Mas Que Nada,” a live ‘unplugged’ version of “Taj Mahal”—and boy band screaming for youngsters Jeito Moleque and Rakata. Thedy Correa contributes a light as a feather, and thoroughly charming, version of “Na Cadência Do Samba,” the Brazilian team anthem. Copa Reggae is another Portuguese-language, football-inspired affair, drawing on reggae performers from Portugal, Angola and Brazil (all three nations made it to the finals in Germany). While it would be hard to imagine this compilation is going to impress the hardcore reggae aficionado, it remains a cheerful confection, combining some electro-beats from DJ Nel Assasin and some altogether rootsier dub from One Love Family on “Africa Chora.” All in all, the post-game recap would be: one or two moments of genius, strong in midfield but poor finishing and hints of complacency at the front.