Anastacia Azevedo - Amanaiara: Senhora da Chuva
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Anastacia Azevedo
Amanaiara: Senhora da Chuva
Piranha (

cd cover Considering how much great music emerges from Brazil, it's got to be tough for Brazilian musicians to stand out from the pack or even count themselves a part of it. Anastacia Azevedo is distinctive, though. Her music is a strong and flexible MPB with samba at its core and varying degrees of reggae, jazz, pop and hip-hop therein. Her singing is sassy and direct, navigating characteristic Brazilian cadences with an almost rap-like aggressiveness while keeping a sexy edge. Azevedo and her main collaborator, guitarist Ze Eugenio, are from the northeast of Brazil, a place where rain (which the album title bespeaks in both indigenous and colonial terms) tends to fall in overabundance or not at all. Thus Azevedo seems to seek a sound that brings the right degree of regional rhythms into the modern world in much the same way rain ought to soothe parched ground without drowning it. Her music studies took her from Brazil to Berlin, where this disc was recorded. Detaching herself from her homeland can be seen as an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder move that fueled the many moods of the album, including the longing feel of "Raios de Sol," the funk/reggae push of "Faco Amor" and a host of tracks where the vocals are urged along by percussive rhythms that hearken back to Brazil's deepest musical roots. The end result is a charming, glorious slice of contemporary Brazil. It won't make you forget the classic Brazilian albums in your collection, but it's deserving of a place among them. - Tom Orr

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