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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Zuco 103

By Marty Lipp
Published October 21, 2008

After The Carnaval
Six Degrees

This multi-national, Netherlands-based trio took an extended trip to its lead singer's hometown, Rio de Janeiro, for its fifth CD and came away with a bit of a rootsier sound for its electro funked-up Brazilian mix. There are fewer sampled sounds than those of their earlier albums, though they still lean heavily on electronic keyboards and percussion. While bossa is a touchstone, Zuco is more dance floor-oriented, with a beat-heavier sound than other performers who in recent years have been distilling the laid-back coolness of bossa via electronics. Singer Lilian Viera has a versatile voice, sometimes channeling the sophisticated cool of bossa divas such as Astrud Gilberto, but also lets loose some soulful, rougher-hewn belting that reflects the group's jazz, rock and funk backgrounds. Viera heats things up nicely and the group's samba tinged swing can be pretty persuasive, but the enthusiasm of samba purists may be tempered by the cold-perfection of the electronic rhythms.