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The Brasil Project.

Next to the late Stan Getz, this 70-year-old Belgian harmonica virtuoso may be the best foreign friend modern Brazilian music has ever known. His collaborations with such legendary figures as the late Elis Regina, Brazil's most important vocal stylist of the '60s and '70s, and accordionist Sivuca, a master at popularizing obscure folk styles, are examples of his commitment to the tradition.

The Brasil Project documents the unprecedented affection Brazil's best musicians and composers have for their European friend. Each of a dozen songs features one or more Brazilian guests, often the composer himself, such as Ivan Lins, for whom Thielemans scored a Grammy award for his rendering of Lins' haunting "Comecar de Novo." Also included are such one-of-a-kind artists as guitarists Luiz Bonfa and Oscar Castro-Neves; pianist Eliane Elias; and such famed composer/singers as Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Joao Bosco and Djavan.

The Brasil Project pulses with the special verve that's made contemporary Brazilian music a global favorite for three decades. The magic is still intact, as this compelling recording so refreshingly demonstrates.

Gilberto Gil Parabolic Tropical Storm 76292-2 Brasil Project participant Gil, a trend-setting composer and vocalist since the mid-1960s, continues to find new ways of exploring the culture of his native Bahia through an eclectic mix of samba, rock, reggae and indigenous styles from Brazil's African-influenced northeast. Today, the 50-year-old Gil is a councilman in Salvador and a crusader for rainforest preservation, 25 years after his provocative songs earned him a radical's image with the military government and an exile to London.

Much has changed in Brazil since then, but Gil's rhythmically-rich melodies and poetic lyrics remain as potent as when the composer first emerged as a leader of the tropicalista movement. A colleague of Gil's once said, "There are many ways to sing and to make Brazilian music; Gilberto Gil prefers all of them." Parabolic is one of the best pop albums of the year in any language.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Organization of American States
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Holston, Mark
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:327
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