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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Vinicius Cantuaria

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 13, 2008


After several fusion-oriented recordings, it’s only fitting that Manaus-born guitarist, singer and songwriter Vinicius Cantuaria should emerge with a disc that goes deep into his Brazilian roots. The journey starts with “Galope,” a maracatu-inflected tune about the strange ways of the heart that gets an added twist from the smart violin solo by Brooklyn violinist Jenny Scheinman. On “Chuva,” Cantuaria evokes the ’50s bossa-nova romanticism of Jobim and Vinicius De Moraes, to whom he pays tribute with a beautiful rendition of “Vivo Sonhando” (“Dreamer”), featuring a guest appearance by pianist Brad Mehldau. The percussion-rich “Batuque” is one of the disc’s most poignant moments—a far-from home reverie about Brazil, the singer feeling lost in anonymity among the “gelled Latinos and sharply dressed African-Americans” on the subway. The mood spills into “Você Está Sumindo,” a samba with lyrics about the dreary results of a broken heart, while “Ominira” blends bossa melodies with several electronic effects for a very positive mix.