SambaDá is tight without being too controlled. This is what every good band needs to be, but it’s a particular advantage when you’re playing this kind of Afro-Brazilian Popular because the music has to sound bright, fast, rowdy, yet beautiful. It’s breathless party music brought to you by craftspeople and artists. It’s intense yet effervescent, and a mixture of such strange things too: blasts from celebratory whistles, the sweet huskiness of the Amerindian flute, and tough drumming. Jorge Ben Jor hangs over the album in spirit, and in the shape of a riff from “Taj Mahal” springing up in the third track, “Dendê”. The musicians unexpectedly produce a quick Middle Eastern passage, and “Meu Pai” hosts scattered moments of Congolese guitar, but these outside musics barely have time to register before they flee, and we go back to the serious business of being North American Brazilians who adore samba, capoeira, and rips of surf guitar.
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// Notes from the Road
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