CD Reviews: Torrential tropical music reigns
Brazilian and Latin musicians, via San Francisco and Boston, join British electronica wizards, via India, to redefine global musical styles.
BAT MAKUMBA: 'BOTECO' (Bat Makumba Records, $15.99)
Just try to imagine what a bunch of Brazilians transplanted to the Bay Area would create in the way of a punky samba sound. This exuberant band with a Clash-meets-Carnival sensibility makes a joyous noise while singing mainly in giddy Portuguese, or less convincingly on 2 out of 13 original songs in flat English. The album's title references a Brazilian bistro, although their percussive electric guitar attack and frenzied percussion make one think of a Bahia-based garage band. Some girl from Ipanema would catch a fever from their fire.
SOL Y CANTO: 'CADA DÍA UN REGALO' (MusicAmador, $14.49)
In spite of personnel changes during their quarter century, this Boston-based band has maintained a steadfast Pan-Latin tinge entirely their own. A constant has been the leadership of guitarist/singer-songwriter Brian Amador and his wife, Rosi, sensitive interpreters of Chilean, Venezuelan, Cuban, and Mexican traditional folk songs, as well as original tunes with those flavors. This is the most diverse and accomplished album of Sol y Canto's career, opening with a dramatic burst of jazz-flamenco singing and closing with an aptly named instrumental titled "Like Flying." Midway is a penultimate romantic Cuban ditty about kissing. Rosi's vocals winningly modulate from coolly coy to warmly committed.