Tuesday, July 10, 2007


  • I think we can call our Semana Brasileira a success: between 400 and 500 daily visitors is not something we're used to here ;) We loved all your comments, the more the better!

  • The winner of the Tita Lima album 11:11 is... (drumroll).. Matt from Somerville, PA! And thanks to everyone who participated, of course.

  • El Guiri is kicking back in Mexico at the moment, and I'm leaving for Spain in a few days. So you'll have to do without new posts until the beginnings of August, when we will return in full force! You can check out the wonderful blogs in our Link List (to your right, at the bottom) to help you through this dark period ;) See ya!

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lost in MySpace Brasil

MySpace Brazil Trama Virtual Links New Music
We conclude our Semana Brasileira with a dive into MySpace and its Brazilian equivalent TramaVirtual. Thanks to our friends over at Masala, who have a nose for undiscovered Brazilian talent!

Sany Pitbull is a baile funk master with 20 years of DJ experience in Rio's favela funk scene. His own tracks are mainly instrumental, darker and more filled with electronica than most carioca funk.

If you're into complex hiphop beats, sunny vibes and freestyle rhymes, Slim Rimografia is something for you. Check out "Bom Som"!

Ivete Sangalo is the most succesful artist in axé bahia music, a feel-good reggae/samba/pop mix that must have been invented on a Brazilian beach. Although lately she's inclined more towards MPB and pop ballads.. She has an unofficial but very informative MySpace here!

Tecno Brega is something special. The music style, mixing brega music from north-east Brazil and European techno influences, is marketed completely aside from the normal music business. Artists are distributing CDs for (almost) free to lure people to highly popular soundsystem concerts (aparelhagem). It actually sounds like a reggaeton beat over polka/schlager music, trés kitch. Banda Tecno Show should be an example..

More trashy kitch as we look at Banda Calypso: their style is brega calypso, adding a distinctive caribbean flavour to the brega music. They seem to be selling big time, but I didn't manage to find ONE sound sample. Luckily there is YouTube: check out some videos below!

Banda Calypso - Isso é Calypso

Banda Calypso - Pra Te Esquecer (Live)

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Marisa Monte - Infinito Particular/Universo Ao Meu Redor

Marisa Monte - Infinito Particular - Universo Ao Meu Redor - Vilarejo - Bonde do Dom - MPB Musica Popular Brasileira Samba
Marisa Monte is one of the main exponents of MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira), Brazilian pop you could say. Though it takes only a second to realize MPB is nothing like the mainstream trash we get served up North: Marisa specializes in intimate, melancholic songs, with a typical pop/rock structure but still relying heavily on Brazilian influences like samba and bossa nova. Marisa was trained to be an opera diva, but singing her favorite Brazilian tunes in Italian bars is what led to her discovery. She sold 9 million copies of 8 different albums, and worked with almost every Brazilian music legend imaginable (she even started her own supergroup, Os Tribalistas, with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes).

In 2006, Infinito Particular and Universo Au Meu Redor were released simultaneously after three years of silence. Infinito Particular has Marisa's trademark dreamy pop songs: lush melodies, discrete arrangements and a touch of bossa nova. "Vilarejo" is a perfect example. Her intriguing voice takes you to MPB heaven in a laid-back atmosphere. Before you realise it the song is over, and you hit 'repeat'!

For Universo Au Meu Redor, Marisa dove into samba history. It's been a long-time dream of her to give old samba gems her characteristic treatment, and turn them into solid pop songs. Of course it's not carnival samba we're talking about, but the slower, more traditional guitar style of the early 20th century. Marisa manages to give the songs a modern, consistent sound while keeping intact the heart and soul of the original sambas. In "O Bonde do Dom", she adds stirring violins to the beautiful samba melody. Of the two records, Universo Au Meu Redor is my personal favorite: while Infinito Particular can be too polished and well-behaved, Universo and its samba vibes reveal true class. Marisa Monte, a great lady!

Marisa Monte - O Bonde do Dom mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Marisa Monte - Vilarejo mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Marisa Monte - O Bonde do Dom

Marisa Monte - Vilarejo

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bebel Gilberto - Momento

Bebel Gilberto - Momento - Night and Day - Brazil Latin Jazz Bossa Nova
When talking about Bebel Gilberto (daughter of the legendary João Gilberto), one should keep in mind the following formula: bossa nova + chilled out electronics + Bebel = good songs! How about that?

In 2004 I first discovered Bebel, thanks to her second studio album Bebel Gilberto. It wasn't her first album (in 2000, her debut Tanto Tempo was released), but definitely her best one. Now, please give a warm welcome to Momento! On her new album, Bebel immediately proves she still knows how to wrap you up in a warm blanket of sound ("Momento", "Night and Day", "Azul" etc.). The songs on "Momento" generally sound very laid-back. I've never actually been in Brazil, but Bebel Gilberto's songs make me feel as if I were chilling out on some Brazilian sunny beach (which, after a few intense weeks of exams, I could really use!). Anyway, to keep the listener's attention, a small number of more danceable tracks (e.g. "Caçada", "Tranquilo") were included. No real floor fillers, but dreamy songs that will perhaps make you gently shake your head, or even your hips, while lying in your hammock. Make sure not to knock over your caipirinha though!

Unfortunately, Bebel's English hasn't improved since her self-titled album from 2004, but the songs in English are just as good as the Portuguese ones. Actually, one of the best tracks on the album is the English "Night and Day", Bebel's interpretation of a song composed by Cole Porter. She maintains the jazzy character of the song (that saxophone towards the end!), but gracefully adds her own Brazilian touch to it.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help comparing this album with the exquisite Bebel Gilberto, and conclude that Momento is slightly inferior to it. It's just that, in my opinion, Bebel hasn't really added anything new to her music on this album, which causes it to sound a little bit too smooth at times. But hey, as I said at the beginning of this post: Bebel just stands for good, relaxing music, and that still hasn't changed!

Bebel Gilberto - Night and Day mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Bebel Gilberto - Momento

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mayra Andrade - Navega

Mayra Andrade - Navega - Cape Verde Morna Music
While we're exploring Brazil's biggest talents this week, we make an exception for this album: Mayra Andrade doesn't sing in Brazilian/Portuguese, but in her very own Cape Verdean Creole (for your information, Cabo Verde is an archipelago 500km off the coast of Senegal). The thing is, she is just so good that we want to make sure you don't miss out on her, so prepare for some Cape Verdean vibes!

Although Mayra Andrade's music is clearly marked by the Cape Verdean atmosphere, Mayra herself has had a taste of an enormous variety of cultures: she was born 1985 in La Habana, Cuba, but grew up between Senegal, Angola, Germany and Cape Verde. Since 2003, she has been living in Paris. Her international career is just getting started: after being discovered in Canada when she was 16, she toured in Cape Verde, Portugal and France for a long time and she was also the supporting act for Cape Verdean legend Cesaria Evora, a major influence in her work. Nevertheless, she hadn't recorded anything proper until last year, when she finally released her debut album Navega - the gem we're talking about here.

Although Mayra's exotic Creole singing on the album sounds very seductive, it's actually a shame for us -foreign listeners- that she didn't opt for Portuguese: unlike most Portuguese songs, I couldn't hardly understand a word of what she's saying, until I bumped into English translations for all of the songs on this album, on Mayra's website. And so, I discovered yet another layer of Andrade's music: not only does she have an extremely jazzy, sensual voice and a cute face, judging by her lyrics she also appears to be smart. She sings about real themes, such as failing democracy, poverty, love, etc.

On this album, Mayra Andrade takes us on a trip to her isle. Islands, as we all know, are usually surrounded by water, so we shouldn't be surprised to hear that a marine feeling dominates this album. The title, "Navega" (sail, navigate), says it all. It's as if this album contained two different story lines: one inside the lyrics, the other one inside the music. In the very first track, "Dimokransa", the music almost makes you feel the salty sea breeze on the Cape Verdean coast caress your face, while Mayra is actually singing about failing democracy, referring to important figures in Cape Verdean history. Two completely different sensations -marine atmosphere but seriously political lyrics-, fitted together in such a way that you can only profoundly enjoy this song. And not only this song, because high standards are maintained throughout the entire album: "Mana" is a slow bossa ballad about a girl who followed her ambitions, only to find out that money isn't everything. The French "Comme s'il en pleuvait" is the only song on the album where Mayra doesn't sing in her mother tongue, but that still doesn't take away the marine feeling: just guitars, saxophone and Mayra's hoarse voice, mmm... In the slower "Nha Sibitchi", Andrade describes some of her neighbours in Cape Verde, and in "Navega", the lyrics finally connect with the marine sound: while Mayra sings about how hard it is for a fisherman's wife to fearfully await her husband's safe return, the gracefully rippling music reflects tears of love and the water of the stormy sea at the same time. From this track on, things only get even better: "Poc li dente é tcheu" is about the heart-rending choice between poverty and emigration - the paradisiacal beauty of Cape Verde doesn't take away its misery. To the sound of guitars and cello, Mayra sings goodbye in "Dispidida". But we don't say goodbye to her until the very last note of "Regasu", Mayra Andrade's ode to morna - the Cape Verdean genre full of saudade that Cesaria Evora brought to international attention.

Think of this album as a "navegação": embark in Mayra's boat and sail the seven seas with her. We did it with pleasure. Actually, we enjoyed it so much that we can't wait for the next album to come out! But until then: mommy, can I go again?

Mayra Andrade - Dimokransa mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon
Mayra Andrade - Dispidida mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bonde do Role - With Lasers

Bonde do Role - With Lasers - Brazil Baile Funk Carioca Dance Punk Rock
Brazilian rock is hot. Last year's unexpected indie hype was electro-rock combo Cansei de Ser Sexy, this year the buzz is about funk carioca (or baile funk), sample-rich party music originating from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Bonde do Rolê is essentially a parody to the genre's original setup of sexually explicit lyrics and favela violence, adding heavy rock riffs and absurdist Brazilian slang to the pounding baile beats. But they proved to be more successful than the original funk artists - most of them are still handing out CDs in some sloppy neighborhood, while BdR is signed to Domino Records and touring the world.

Bonde do Rolê is like nothing you've ever heard before. You can call them a Brazilian punk band making their own twisted version of dance music. Or you can call them an incoherent clutter of Portuguese shouting and stolen riffs. Fact is, the 30 minutes of power punk called With Lasers will not leave you without opinion. From Marina Vello's yelling to the impossible samples (Alice in Chains, Europe, even Grease), Bonde do Rolê is an assault on your ears.

But what a catchy and fun assault it is. Highlights: "Gasolina" (10% Afrika Bambaataa, 90% crazy beats) must be the most danceable track of 2007. Boom-tcha-tcha. The question raised in "James Bonde" is: what would Mr. Bond be like if he were gay? I guess I don't wanna know what "James Bond chupa rola" means ;) And "Office Boy" could be called the most normal song on the album, though that's a very relative statement. Check out the videos below, and immerse yourself in favela fun!

Bonde do Role - James Bonde mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Bonde do Role - Solta o Frango

Bonde do Role - Office Boy

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Tita Lima - 11:11 (+Contest!)

Tita Lima - 11:11 - Brazilian Jazz Dub Hiphop Chill Electronic Latin Samba Bossa Nova
Tita Lima is the daughter of Liminha, bassist in the Brazilian rock band Os Mutantes. With 11:11 she dares her first solo steps, after playing and singing with dozens of popular musicians.

Tita mixes up the Brazilian sounds of MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira), samba and bossa nova in a dub-rich setting. Leaning towards latin jazz at one point, and to hiphop on others, 11.11 is the ideal record for enjoying a glass of wine in the afternoon sun. Best 30 seconds of the album: Tita singing along to the funky trumpet solo in "A Conta Do Samba" like a true jazz muse. The song is a personal favorite of famed DJ Gilles Peterson, and I'm a fan too: check that delicious wah-wah guitar!

Gradually, this record became the soundtrack of my springtime 2007. There's something about a sensual female voice singing in an unfamiliar language that makes me long for a sunny patch of white sand. Tita Lima has that warm, mellow sound of voice that will enchant you, and the rich and soulful arrangements highlight her vocal talent perfectly. A must for this summer!

And you can WIN this album right here! Just send an e-mail with your mailing address to laondatropical@gmail.com, and you're eligible to win. The contest ends next monday (July 9th), and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards. Good luck!

Tita Lima - A Conta Do Samba mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Semana Brasileira

July 1st - July 8th

Last april we introduced you to Latin Electronic music by ways of a special week-long focus on the genre, our biggest motivation being that we want to cover the whole spectrum of contemporary latin music on this site. And this week we'll be doing the same for another huge chunk of latin culture previously unmentioned here: Brazilian music.

Partly because we don't speak Portuguese, partly because we're not following it that much, we never really spoke about non-Spanish latin music at La Onda. Brazil takes up more than half of South America, so the music scene is huge: we won't pretend to give you a representative overview. Instead, we've picked a few gems out of the unlimited range of Brazilian rhythms and styles. Maybe there's a bias towards acts that have international success, but we still hope you discover some artists you didn't know of.

So be sure to check back here every day for a new album review, and tomorrow we'll start off with a contest to get things going! Have fun ;)

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