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Carioca

Chico Buarque

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Album Review

Chico Buarque is something of a hero of the arts in Brazil, where he is a tremendously popular and celebrated singer, songwriter, poet, and playwright, and is generally recognized as one of the formative influences on modern Brazilian pop music. Although he has released 26 albums at home and written more than a dozen film soundtracks, he rarely performs in the U.S., and this appears to be his first North American CD release. It's conceived as a tribute to his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, and consists of exquisitely gentle sambas, bossas, and other jazzy pop compositions, most of them featuring subtle but complex arrangements by his producer and collaborator, Luiz Cláudio Ramos. The sounds are almost all acoustic, though at times they sound electronic — what sounds charmingly like a cheap Casio keyboard rhythm on "Subúrbio" is actually a very precisely tapped tambourine, for example. "Outros Sonhos" opens with some startlingly sophisticated and beautiful wind writing, which segues into a soft and regretful lyric. "Dura Na Queda" and "As Atrizes" both swing jazzily, and "Ode Aos Ratos" flirts with rock (and even features a sort of rap interlude). Only "Leve" and "Imagina," both of them just a little bit too melodically thin and rhythmically wimpy, fall short of brilliant. (The package includes a DVD documentary on the making of the album.) Recommended.

Biography

Born: 1944 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Of the early stars of MPB (música popular brasileira), Chico Buarque was one of the first to become a certifiable pop star. With his warm, nasally croon, elegant phrasing, and considerable skill at lyric writing, Buarque (who is handsome to boot) became extremely popular with women, who loved his understated sensuality. However, Buarque was uncomfortable playing the role of pop star, preferring to be seen as a serious artist. Throughout his career, he's managed to have the best of both worlds, but...
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Carioca, Chico Buarque
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