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O Micróbio do Samba

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Album Review

After a second delightful children's album under the moniker Adriana Partimpim, Adriana Calcanhotto seemed to want to keep on moonlighting a little more, this time with an all-samba album. O Micróbio Do Samba, however, is not your grandmother's samba record. In fact, O Micróbio Do Samba is many things a typical samba album is not. First and foremost, it's not really a sensuous, immediately endearing album, but instead an intellectual one (as most Calcanhotto projects are). It is not expansive, i.e., it certainly does not bring to mind the image of dozens of people dancing in the streets, singing, and beating on their pandeiros. Rather, it is extremely minimalist, with the typical ensemble instrumentation reduced — save for a few guest spots — to the bare essentials of Calcanhotto's voice and guitar, the double bass of Alberto Continentino, and the drums of Domenico Lancelotti. The sound design makes no attempts at re-creating tradition, but ventures a sci-fi take on it. Samba played by aliens? Initially, O Micróbio Do Samba may give that impression. Sure, the main beat is there, as well as most of the main ingredients, but certainly not in the assumed order. Sometimes an unexpected element comes strikingly forward, such as the bass that plays the roundabout motif of "Já Reparô," or the definitely un-samba-like drum sounds that kick off "Mais Perfumado," or the heavily distorted electric guitar at the end of "Pode Se Remoer" (heavy metal samba!?). Other times, Calcanhotto looks backwards rather than forwards: "Tão Chic" prominently features a fado-inspired cavaquinho, while "Deixa, Gueixa" sounds like classic late-'70s Caetano Veloso. Her lyrics are also ironically distanced from tradition, as these often tackle samba clichés, but from a slightly subversive-for-the-genre feminine perspective, as in the closer "Tá na Minha Hora", dedicated to Mangueira, Calcanhotto's favorite escola do samba. At any rate, Calcanhotto is typically more interested in experimentation than in provocation, and while O Micróbio Do Samba may be a little odd, it is never remotely discordant. It may not be Calcanhotto's best album, but it remains an excellent example of her playful intelligence and restless creativity. Besides, she is not considered one of the finest songwriters of her generation for nothing, and O Micróbio Do Samba showcases several fine examples of her gift. Don't be surprised if many of these clever, beautiful compositions reappear in upcoming albums of Brazilian female singers, rearranged as traditional sambas. In fact, two already have, from Marisa Monte and Teresa Cristina, while three more are dedicated to Monte, Thaís Gulin, and Mart'nália, and it is fair to assume they were written with those performers in mind.


Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '90s

Adriana Calcanhotto (formerly Calcanhoto) is a MPB/pop singer/composer revealed in 1990 who had great success in Brazil, and helped bring Brazilian music again to the hit parade after the 1980s were characterized as the Brazilian rock period. Her father, a jazz drummer, accompanied Elis Regina in her early career, and influenced Calcanhotto's taste for music. She started out in Porto Alegre playing and singing at small bars then moved to Rio, where she was invited to sing at bars of the same style....
Full bio
O Micróbio do Samba, Adriana Calcanhotto
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Brazilian, Music, World
  • Released: 18 March 2011

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