Chico César

Chico César

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His melodies and lyrics reflect the centuries of European-African-Indian intercultural strife and matings that provide the essence of modern northeastern Brazilian music. César's style draws heavily on the region's signature off-center, chugging forro rhythms and breathlessly fast, unrelenting frevo beats, but hearty helpings of Carioca samba and African-based imports like reggae, R&B, and rock are also grist for his busy mill. His songwriting is influenced by the rebellious art-song esthetic of the Tropicalismo crowd, but also reaches further back to the chilled-out, boozy intellectualism of '60s bossa nova. He surrounds his high, reedy vocals with undulating vocal chorales, mellow guitars, blithe squeezeboxes, and percolating drums and shakers, and occasional lush overlays of brass, violins, and flutes. Despite his obvious taste and aplomb, César's compositions tend to come across as pleasing, graceful exercises that don't aspire to touch a deeper chord. Nonetheless, despite the fact that he seldom approaches the complexity and passion so often exhibited by, let's say, Caetano Veloso or Milton Nascimento, his work has considerable charm. His melodies are easy to fall into, they are catchy enough to augment the pleasure of an idle hour but barely avoid being facile. This confection is would add a festive, relaxed ambiance to al fresco pursuits like picnics, cocktails on the patio, and beach parties. Detailed liner notes and English lyric translations are included.

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