Caetano Veloso

Estrangeiro

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Produced by Peter Scherer and Arto Lindsay, with a band that features significant contributions from Bill Frisell, Nana Vasconcelos, and Marc Ribot, Estrangeiro (in English it means foreigner) was Veloso's first American release. Adventurous, idiosyncratic, and frequently beautiful, it in many ways is Veloso at his most topical and artfully lyrical. The title track makes references to Paul Gauguin and anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (two figures not normally associated with pop music), Veloso composes some stream-of-consciousness dialogue recited by Lindsay, and the excellent band swings from bossa nova to rock to jazz without missing a beat. In many ways, Estrangeiro is the embodiment of what Veloso, Gil and others were trying to get at with tropicalismo, the removal of genre barriers and the wondrous results possible when all forms of pop were conflated into one artful, stylistic melange. A lyric fragment from the song "Branquinha (Little White One)" says it best: "I go against the grain/sing against the melody/swim against the tide." He does all this, and the results are extraordinary.

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