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Album Review

Carlinhos Brown is often thought of as a talented percussionist, a hefty dose of black Brazilian joy dressed in flamboyant George Clinton-style attire. By rights, he should first and foremost be regarded as a brilliant songwriter, as he has provided dozens of compositions for many of Brazil's finest singers over the past 20 years. Of his two joint 2010 releases (the other being the more dance-oriented but clearly inferior Adobró), Diminuto is Brown's most surprising solo album, since its main concern is to showcase his sensitive side rather than his party credentials. A true crooner's album, more in the vein of the recent work of Djavan, Milton Nascimento, or Ivan Lins rather than Olodum or Timbalada, Diminuto consists of ten beautiful previously unreleased Brown compositions. Of course, Brown has written lovely ballads before, but never an entire album such as this. It is even hard to pinpoint highlights, as all the material seems cut from the same fine silk cloth, with Brown's soothing voice amidst piano and string arrangements, plus a few more uptempo numbers that crop up on the second half of the record. For the same reason, there is a latent threat of a certain exquisite sameness, of turning into mood music. In order to avoid that, Brown subtly stirs things up by mixing genres and collaborators: a bolero with Chico Buarque here ("Maõs Denhas'), a reggae with Os Paralamas do Sucesso there ("Verdade, uma Ilusão"), a dreamy closer with Tribalistas partner Arnaldo Antunes ("Vi, Vouu"), a few perfect sambas ("Centro da Saudade," "Você Merece Samba"), an enchanting xote ("Veleiros Negros"). If there were any doubt that Brown should be a considered a songwriter on a par with his Tribalistas accomplices Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes, this album should set the matter straight. As for Brown's equally underrated reputation as a singer, the radiant Diminuto categorically proves that Brown can croon with the best of them.


Born: 23 November 1962 in Cadeal Pequeno, Salvador, Bahia,

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Privileged percussionist Carlinhos Brown also found his way as a composer and vocalist, displaying all his musical virtues in several albums which were released after 1996's Alfagamabetizado. He has had over 200 of his songs recorded by many interpreters like Marisa Monte ("Segue o Seco," "Maria de Verdade," "Arrepio," "Magamalabares"), Gal Costa, Daniela Mercury ("Rapunzel," "Rimas Irmãs"), Cássia Eller, Daúde ("Lavanda"), and Sepultura. More than 30 of them reached the Brazilian top parade. Sérgio...
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Diminuto, Carlinhos Brown
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