Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical

At the tender age of 17 my best friend and I were looking at colleges in Washington D.C. We found time one evening to take in an animation festival. The first clip in the festival was this:

We arrived in NYC a few days later on the same college campus tour. His godmother took us to Tower Records where I somehow located this cassette. There hadn't yet been a tropicalia renaissance, no hipsters constantly praising Os Mutantes, so finding the album without much information wasn't hard. I remember there only being one shelf of world music cassettes.

Brazil Classics 1 was compiled by David Byrne and in 1989 was the first release by his then new label Luaka Bop, under the Sire Records banner. It stands as one of the finest compilations I've ever heard. It could be argued that it did for tropicalia what the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack did for country. This is not one of my rarer picks. BC1:BT is relatively popular, and being released through a major label means its not hard to find. You can purchase the mp3 album on Amazon. I'm only adding my voice to the choir of listeners in love with this album. It's one I always take on tour. More serious students of Brazilian music may tell you this compilation is obsolete and says nothing about the state of music today. I don't have many tropicalia albums, but I can tell you if you're craving a couple dozen indestructible melodies this is the album for you.

Lô Borges- Equatorial

Jorge Ben- Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma)

1 comment:

Bruce said...

That Jorge Ben song has been stuck in my head since 1989 because of that killer riff. I think the song is about a soccer player, hence the "go man go" refrain. The riff was sampled and used on an oddball CD single I bought at Tower called CitiZen by a guy named Lucas. It makes a good sample.