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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Various Artists

By Robert Kaye
Published January 28, 2008

The Inspiring New Sounds Of Rio De Janeiro

While most will find this album entertaining and well-crafted, not all will embrace the styles it presents, although its aim is certainly noble: profits from this and other Verge releases will go toward building recording studios in the distressed urban favelas of Rio De Janeiro. Most of the tracks here owe more to urban hip-hop, rapped in Portuguese, and post-mod Brazilian hybrids like baile funk than samba, frevo or bossa nova. “Tremenda 5 Calorera,” for example, borrows various motifs and sounds from Santana’s “Ain’t Got Nobody” to create a sonic background for a lounge-tempo rap number—interesting, but give me the charged-up original any day. “Cartilha” begins with the traditional Brazilian pandeiro (tambourine) 6 pattern, with a lilting guitar and some sultry horn accents Portuguese rhyming then drives the song into more of a brick-and-mortar “mean streets” direction. If rap in Rio doesn’t rile you, then this album will be up your alley.