Zeca Pagodinho

Uma Prova de Amor

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One of Brazil's most popular sambistas, the universally well-loved Zeca Pagodinho returns with Uma Prova de Amor, the 20th album of a career that now spans close to three decades. Pagodinho is a classicist; thus, his music sticks closely to samba, pagode, and partido alto. Like all sambistas, Pagodinho sings mostly about love, faith, samba, and the people of Brazil. Such topics are in abundance on Uma Prova de Amor, with tracks such as "Não Há Mais Jeito," "Se Eu Pedir Pra Você Cantar," and "Eta Povo Prá Lutar." He even includes one song, "Sempre Atrapalhado," about a character associated with that most Brazilian of passions, the current prime-time soap opera. Pagodinho's most characteristic and endearing trait, however, has always been his jocular eye for creating irreverent portraits of characters and customs of Brazilian society. "Normas da Casa" offers a hilarious example, as it describes the unannounced visit of a carefree relative who shows up with a bunch of friends; together, they proceed to trash poor Zeca's house with their reckless partying. Also recurrent in all of Pagodinho's records is the singer's allegiance to the samba school Velha Guarda da Portela. Here they perform in two tracks, a medley of sambas from the school and the classic "Esta Melodia," in honor of the composer Jamelão, who passed away that year. A minor surprise is the guest appearances of João Donato and Jorge Ben, since Pagodinho usually keeps to his trusted circle of collaborators (although he tries to introduce one new composer on every album; here it is Fred Camacho's turn). Little else is new on this record, but why should it be? Superbly performed and arranged, Uma Prova de Amor is another characteristic entry by Zeca Pagodinho, a fine example of contemporary samba by one of the genre's main exponents.

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