So much great music has come out of Brazil that when a label decides to assemble a Brazilian compilation, it has to decide whether it's going to focus on one particular area of Brazilian music or go for variety. With this excellent 19-song CD, the World Music Network opted for variety and decided to take listeners to various parts of that very large country. The Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil ranges from funky Afro-Brazilian music of Bahia like Ze Paulo's "Batom Vermelho" and Muzenza's rap-minded "Charles Anjo 45" to breezy, jazz-influenced samba from Rio de Janeiro such as Ivan Lins' "Provei," Rosa Passos' "E Luxo E" and Leny Andrade's bossa nova offering "Voce Vai Ver." Dominguinhos' exuberant "A Lolta Da Asa Branca" is an example of forro, an accordion-dominated style that has been called "Brazilian zydeco," while Pena Branca & Xavantinho's "Santos Reis" falls under the heading of sertaneja, which is considered Brazil's equivalent of country & western and can also be compared to Mexican mariachi. Far from one-dimensional, this was one of the more ambitious Brazilian collections to come out in the late 1990s.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson