An album from Paulinho da Viola always carries a high expectation. This artist has been making a point, over his almost 40 year career, to perform and compose in the truest samba do morro (samba of the hills) tradition (the very title of the album, I Sing Samba, along with the lyrics themselves, are evidence of that). His vision is broad enough: add to tracks where he explores the folkloric setting of morro percussion, cavaquinho, seven-string guitar with community singing, he performs "Asfalto" (asphalt, slang for the mid-class people who live at the hill's feet), renditions of samba-canção with alien instruments such as piano and trombone without percussion and moments of modern re-harmonization. In spite of the general atmosphere of hard-swinging sambas there is room for melancholic renditions, even ballads performed subtly in a very Brazilian way. As always, he's joined by excellent musicians, knowledgeable bearers of the samba tradition in their busy session schedule. Paulinho da Viola is a winning bet.
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AllMusic Review by Alvaro Neder