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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Democustico

By Mario Oña
Published April 27, 2007

Democustico
Far Out

Democustico’s debut was a decade in the making, and the group’s influences span three countries on as many continents. When Mauro Berman and Gabriela Geluda left Rio de Janeiro in 1996 for rain and sidewalks in London, they brought along sunshine-laced music. Geluda, a siren with mesmerizing vocal prowess, connected with Far Out Recordings beatmaker Roc Hunter. Adding Berman’s addictive bass lines, they produced their first single, “Brasil.” Unsurprisingly, the result is a posh, sophisticated hybrid tropical enough for beachside dance cabanas and metropolitan lounge bars. Though the rest of the songs are similar, the subtle, but omnipresent Punjabi folk percussion and chants that Geluda lifted during meditative trips to India add something unique. Just as the albums starts sounding like 2000’s big three electro-bossa nova standards—Bebel Gilberto’s Tanto Tempo, Suba’s São Paulo Confessions and Zuco 103’s Otro Lado—you realize Democustico beat them to it by four years.