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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Hamilton De Holanda

By Ernest Barteldes

Intimo
Adventure Music

Brazilian-born mandolinist Hamilton De Holanda has come up with an intensely personal album of solo mandolin, all of which he tracked at home or in hotel rooms using a simple digital recording setup. Playing music that has inspired him throughout his career (along with some new material he was working on at the time) Holanda eschews any pyrotechnics, opting instead to perform with subtlety and without pretense. The Jobim nugget “Luiza” provides one of the finest moments, with Holanda lending poignancy and emotion to the song’s middle section. “Chao De Estrelas,” a song written by Silvio Caldas and Orestes Barbosa (two immensely popular World War II-era Brazilian songwriters who were somehow overlooked abroad) offers another touching listen, as does “As Rosas Nao Falam,” a melancholy tune by the star-crossed Cartola, who was one of the main composers of Rio’s Mangueira samba school in the 1950s. Intimo is indeed an intimate album, meant for being enjoyed, as Holanda writes in the liner notes, “when you do not want to think, [or] want to cry or laugh.”