Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: Brasileiro

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The great thing about Putumayo's world music compilations of the '90s was the label's tendency to make such unlikely choices. If a Putumayo compilation focused on Celtic music, many of the artists wouldn't be Irish or Scottish -- and if the focus was salsa, Putumayo wasn't about to limit itself to big stars out of Cuba and Puerto Rico. A collection of Brazilian pop that spans 1974-1999, Brasileiro isn't as much of a musical roller coaster as some might expect from Putumayo -- you would have expected the collection to aim for maximum diversity and jump from forro, lambada and tropicalismo to bossa nova and serteneja before spotlighting a rap group from Bahia. But while Brasileiro isn't as far-reaching as it could have been, it's enjoyable and satisfying. Anyone who's seriously into Brazilian pop should be familiar with Beth Carvalho, João Bosco, Jorge Ben, Chico Buarque, and the late Clara Nunes, but Putumayo also turns its attention to some artists who weren't huge names in Brazil when the compilation came out, including Zeca Baleiro, Chico César (whose "Mama Africa" combines Afro-Brazilian music with reggae) and Rosa Passos, who embraces the Portuguese lyrics to the Antonio Carlos Jobim standard, "Waters of March."

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