News Latin 31/01/2005

Putumayo's Acoustic Brazil Turns Over Stones And Finds Gems, Old And New, That Stand The Test Of Time

NEW YORK (Universal) "If Márcio Faraco lived in Brazil he would probably be very famous," says Putumayo producer Jacob Edgar, who with Putumayo founder Dan Storper compiled the new Acoustic Brazil CD, set for release by Putumayo World Music on February 22, 2004. The CD highlights the delicate side of Brazilian music, the counterpart to the upbeat dance music for which the country is also known. Putumayo has pulled together a mix of songs by some of the greatest names such as Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, and Gal Costa, as well as some lesser-known gems not yet released in America. The result is a compelling collection of beautiful songs that stand the test of time.

"We stumbled across Márcio about four years ago in a bar in Paris called the Blue Noite while visiting with Brazilian singer Nazaré Pereira," Edgar recalls. "The music scene in Brazil has a strong local flavor and it's hard for expat Brazilian musicians to be successful in their homeland when they are not based there. Here we were on a rainy winter day in Paris in this bar and this whole community was creating a great tropical feeling, artists with great potential had they lived back home in Brazil."

Another find on this CD is Glaucia Nasser, a relative unknown on the Brazilian music scene. Nasser was a self-help consultant before pursuing her dream to perform professionally. "Our international sales manager came back from Brazil with this very independently released CD," says Edgar, possibly the person who listens to more new music than anyone else in the world. "Whenever our sales staff travel we encourage them to bring back new music."

Lula Queiroga's "Noite Severina" comes from an underground release yet to be heard in America. "Queiroga is a quirky artist outside of the mainstream, like Tom Zé," Edgar explains. "His sound is very similar to Lenine, whom he has served as somewhat of a mentor. It is a very northeastern sound, acoustic but with subtle electronic accents."

Acoustic Brazil gently cuts across eras and styles, tied together by powerful songwriting and the sheer beauty of the Portuguese language and Brazilian melodies. Caetano Veloso˜who is featured here on a Putumayo CD for the first time (though he has reached superstar status at home and abroad)˜was a founding member of the tropicalismo movement, which blended bossa nova, rock, psychedelica, and protest music. Chico Buarque˜who was criticized for not being political enough in the 1970s˜sings here: "I leave behind many enemies because I've always been honest." The more extreme the military dictatorship became in Brazil, the more radical Buarque became, which eventually landed him in jail, a credit he ironically shares with Veloso. Both are considered to be among the top ten Brazilian musicians.

Rita Ribeiro is no newcomer to Putumayo, which released her Pérolas Aos Povos CD in 1999. Ribeiro comes from the northeastern state of Maranhão, known as the Brazilian capital of reggae. Listen closely to "Tem Quem Queira" for this subtle influence.

On "Moro Na Roça," Mônica Salmaso pays homage to Clementina de Jesus˜a granddaughter of African slaves who began singing professionally late in life after serving as a housekeeper for over twenty years. Singing while washing clothes, this "rough diamond" of a singer preserved the lundus and jongos of the Angolan Bantu.

"We've done fun and upbeat Brazil on our Brasileiro and Brazilian Groove albums," says Edgar. "So we thought people would be ready for something more laid back."

Putumayo's Acoustic Brazil bridges genres, regions, and time periods to create a striking collection of Brazil's rich songwriting tradition.

A portion of Putumayo World Music proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to AMENCAR, an organization dedicated to the struggle for civil rights of children in Brazil

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