Natural Do Rio De Janeiro

Zé Renato

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Natural Do Rio De Janeiro Review

by Alvaro Neder

This is an excellent release by Zé Renato, which is dedicated to the great Zé Keti, one of the best samba do morro (samba of the hills) composers. The respect for the genuine samba tradition is evident, but Renato doesn't try to stuff the morro culture or try to be who he isn't. Being a young middle class interpreter, if he tried to sound like a true sambista it would be a fake; there's only one track with the typical morro percussion and chorus, where he is helped by the great sambista Elton Medeiros. So, he opted for elaborate studio arrangements with modern harmonies and mainstream instrumental, but he never resorted to easy commercial clichés, which is a great approach for modernizing the tradition. Accompanied by some of the best musicians in Brazil, all the way competent in the samba idiom, he recreates here some the biggest (and most expressive) all-time hits by Zé Keti, like "Opinião" (from the show by the same name, which, in the dictatorship times, marked the beginning of the protest song style in that period), "Malvadeza Durão," "Diz Que Fui Por Aí," the carnival march "Máscara Negra" (in a tender violão rendition), "A Voz Do Morro," and several others. A must have.

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