Tony Mola


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Bahian percussionist Tony Mola set out to make a concentrated, all-encompassing, all-drums-blazing samba album -- and indeed, he has come up with a beauty. From start to finish, this CD percolates to several variants of samba in three- to four-minute bites -- irresistible, tuneful, joyous, sometimes surprising in its reach. The first track, "Conversa de Botequim," could be labeled Afro-samba -- the groove of the Afro-beat masters mixed with the percussion of Bahia -- and a number of other sambas on the CD openly betray their African roots and tributaries. Vocalist Gilson Babilônia sounds as if he has been studying Gilberto Gil closely and wisely; his singing has the same lithe, agile flexibility, tripping lightly over the groove. Now and then he is spelled by the smoother-textured, relaxed vocals of Carlinhos Marques -- and on the oddly calypso-flavored "Toma uma Beijoca," the singer is Tarsis Novaes. The playful flutes on "Beregede" and several other tracks belong to Letieres Leite. And throughout the disc, on a percussion shop full of instruments, Mola keeps the grooves floating along, never too heavy in accent, gently yet insistently pushing the beat. Give it a spin; you may never take it off.

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