UMA BATIDA DIFERENTE Bossacucanova
Bossa Nova means "new wave." With the Brazilian genre approaching its 50th birthday ("Chega De Saudade," written in 1958 by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, is considered to be the first bossa), it's amazing how youthful and supple it remains. Still, each generation likes to reinvent the music of the past, so enter Bossacucanova.
The name translates as "bossa with a new mind." And DJ Dalua, Alexandre Moreira and Marcio Menescal, a trio of Brazilian musician-programmers, are certainly bursting with fresh ideas. With one bare foot in the sand of Ipanema and the other on the dancefloor of some hip Rio nightclub, they bring an extroverted spin to the music Jobim once described as "cool and contained."
Fashioned with spirited humor, there's a wonderful depth of sound here. Clattering breakbeat loops and Moogy bleeps rubbing up against mournful cellos and gut string guitars. Wild congas and percussive organ dancing around snatches of old radio interviews, insects buzzing, and bicycle horns. It's like Spike Jones and Moby on vacation in South America.
Unlike many programmers, Bossacucanova have songwriting chops. Their originals sit comfortably next to classics by Jobim ("Aguas de Marco"), Caetano Veloso ("Vai Levando"), and Dori Caymmi ("Samba da Minha Terra"). What the trio does lack is a lead singer. They solve this dilemma by featuring a different guest vocalist on each track. Again, the contemporary blends seamlessly with the classic--Zuco 103, Marcos Valle, Simoninha, Roberto Menescal.
If you're looking for song snippets to sample online, I suggest the perky "Previsao," which bubbles along on handclaps, breathy tenor sax and Adriana Calcanhoto's dreamy vocal, and "Just a Samba," led by the gifted Celso Fonseca (his latest CD, Natural, is a must for bossa fans, and a great makeout record too).
In a recent interview, Bossacucanova's Alexandre Moreira said of the genre they're updating, "For me, this kind of music is like the American jazz. It is forever. You will still hear it in fifty or two-thousand years." I second that. Bill DeMain
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