It is rare when musicians can successfully mix the ethnic folk musics of their homelands with the broader pop cultural framework of the outside world. Eletro Ben Dodo, the debut album of Brazilian flutist and composer Lucas Santtana, is a refreshing exception to this rule. In this 2000 release, the songwriting prodigy from Bahia injected the radiant afoxe rhythms of carnaval and the socially conscious energy of tropicalia with a heavy dose of electricity -- or, perhaps more accurately, electronica. But while the album is a highly experimental musical melting pot, Santtana never lets the avant-garde tendencies overwhelm the pure, hip-shaking funk foundation. At its essence, it's a very danceable album. The intro, "Reclame 302," quickly pays homage to mentors Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. From there, the album splinters off into a million directions, although it is cohesive and isolating the variables is impossible. Listening to the album is like going to a new ethnic restaurant for the first time: It's a pleasantly confusing blend of flavors never before experienced. In describing the variety of Santtana's influences, the song titles themselves are fantastically apt. One song, "Itapuà @No 2000," is a combination of an indigenous language of Bahia and a mock e-mail address. There's just nothing else like it. For most American listeners, the most enjoyable track will probably be Santtana's refurbishing of Godfather of Soul James Brown's " "Doin' It to Death," with a distinct twist of Brazilian electronica. In the end, it's more funky than the original. This album is fun, witty, ultra-modern (even post-postmodern?), and full of vigor. A great choice for listeners who want something new and exciting.
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AllMusic Review by Kieran McCarthy