It's an evocative word, calling to mind complex rhythms, melodies at once soothing and seductive.
Samba Bom - literally, " good samba", is a St. Louis-based ensemble whose diverse backgrounds join together to celebrate the Brazilian sound with Samba Mundo, their first relese.
Listen to these 10 tracks, from landmark sambas to the group's original compositions, and you'll hear a rich sample of Brazil's diverse musical heritage.
Inventive arrangements are a staple of Samba Bom's repertoire. Cuts like Baden Powell's afro-samba Berimbau and the familiar melody of Ari Barroso's 1939 classic "Aquarela do Brasil" (used so effectively in Terry Gilliam's film fantasy Brazil) get fresh interpretations here by guitarist and arranger Luciano Antonio.
Even an American pop standard like "Fly Me to the Moon" takes on a new life with a pulsating Brazilian makeover.
Why? Why not! Samba Bom founder Moacyr Marchini feels that mixing of musical cultures only enhances the versatility (and likeability) of the Brazilian sound.
Samba Bom pianist and arranger Tomoko Akiho contributes three original compositions to this CD. "If I don't have a story, I can't write" says Tomoko, and each of her instrumentals were inspired by unique imagery. "Clock (Maquina do Tempo)" is a brisk choro-style samba that brings to mind a flea-market find, an antique timepiece that runs too fast.
The bossa nova styling of "Saudade (Nostalgia)" reminds Tomoko of the beautiful ocean
surrounding her native Japan, calling to mind nostalgic images of her old life blended with her new life in the U.S. "Rain (Chuvisco)" reminds her of tears,
a feeling conveyed in a simple but poignant melody. Samba Mundo also features original compositions from percussionist and vocalist Moacyr Marchini.
Traditional samba music has been a part of his life since his childhood in São Paulo, Brazil. "Chuva de Verão (Summer Rain)" blends the influence of forró,
a music genre from the rural nordeste (think Brazilian country-western), with a more straightforward samba rhythm.
Marchini also collaborates with Luciano Antonio on the ballad "A Lua e a Rosa (India)". And not to be outdone, Marchini's music takes a turn toward rock with
"What If?". All of the tracks on Samba Mundo underscore the rich percussive tradition of Brazilian music. Nowhere is that more evident than with the lively "Batucada" (literally a percussive Brazilian jam session), a joyous celebration of rhythm pure and strong that transports the listener to the streets of Rio at Carnival time.
Enjoy these sounds of Brazil, this world of samba. Samba bom!