Noites do Norte

Caetano Veloso

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Noites do Norte Review

by Chris Nickson

Veloso continues to show his pre-eminence as a singer and songwriter with Noites Do Norte. He may be almost 60, but he's far from set in his ways, still chipping away at lyrical and musical boundaries. But where he looked outward many years ago, getting inspiration from the rock music of Britain and America, these days he looks inside, at Brazil, making songs like his version of Jorge Ben's "Zumbi" a cinematic journey across Brazil. The title track delves back into history, its words taken directly from the writing of 19th century abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco. Inevitably, samba and bossa nova remain the musical touchstones, but they're also the jumping-off point for experimentation, such as the hip-hop drumming (up front in the mix) on the opener, "Zera a Reza," or "13 De Maio," where son Moreno Veloso offers his own idiosyncratic approach to the playing and engineering. "Ia" uses electric guitar and drums to make a swirling soundscape that's almost modern psychedelia behind Veloso's instantly recognizable voice. Never content to tread ground he's already covered, Veloso continues to go off the map.

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