Jorge Ben

Homo Sapiens

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The 29th album in Jorge Ben Jor's career and the first through Sony had an initial printing of 250,000 copies, but the label's expectancy was to reach 1,000,000 before Christmas. Under an aggressive U.S. $500,000.00 marketing campaign for the release in Brazil, the album was also released in Europe with a tour through England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Ben Jor (who changed his name Jorge Ben because his rights were being paid to George Benson) always was a trendsetter in Brazil, mixing soul music into the samba right in the beginning of his career in the '60s, which led critics to classify his music as "samba esquema novo" (new scheme samba). Now he is enthroned as the "King of Pop," but his sound only followed the changes in technology and timbres, remaining basically the same: danceable pop music with strong soul influences, heavy brasses, and lots of Brazilian rhythms. Catchy melodies and simple, mesmerizing harmonies complete the picture. Track by track, the lyrics deal with different themes from esotericism to sex. "Ave Anjos Angeli" is about angels, a recurrent theme in his work. "Gostosa" ("Tasty"), slang for a desirable woman, is the hit of this album and refers to a delicious girl who lives faraway. It was inspired by a musician inBen Jor's band who was in love with a girl who lived in Porto Alegre, some 2,500 km from Rio. "Maria Luísa" is a romantic ballad dedicated to one of his muses. The first song written by Ben in Spanish. "Rabo Preso" was inspired by the affair between Divine Brown/Hugh Grant. As Ben says, "no one is spared from a Divine Brown." "Gertrudes Bornhausen" is about muses and angels. "Homo" brings his familiar word puzzles, with the participation of Samuel Rosa ("Skank") in the vocals. "Musas de Bruxelas" is another homage to Belgium women, after the widely known "Ive Brussel." "Little Black Joe's Band" is the literal translation of "Banda do Zé Pretinho," one of his bands which remained as an inspiration and "a musical guard angel." "Ubirani Ubiraci" is an homage to the sambistas who created the group Fundo de Quintal. "Café" ("Coffee") is a new reading of the Ben song which competed unsuccessfully in the samba-enredo of Salgueiro contest of 1990.

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