The Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil: Bahia

Various Artists

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The Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil: Bahia Review

by Adam Greenberg

Given the well-known music of Rio's Carnaval and its massive samba affairs, Bahia is the next logical step for music producers to take for a compilation of Brazilian music. Bahia is widely (and rightly) regarded as a focal point for Brazilian music, spawning much of the Tropicalia movement, MPB, and the Afro-Brazilian traditions, as well as much of modern samba. Here, the old and new are both represented, as they are on much of the Rough Guide line. Old members of the Tropicalia movement are present in Tom Zé and Gilberto Gil (though Gil is a guest on a Monica Millet and Momilê track). Mid-generation performers such as Carlinhos Brown and Ze Paulo bridge the gaps between old and new. Even the ancient Riachão, the great sambista, is around for a song. Perhaps more interestingly, some of the newer trends are present, largely in the form of bands that stem in one form or another from the singular greats and their interactions with the blocos Afros. Timbalada, Ile Aiye, and Muzenza all pump out heavy tracks direct from the Salvador Carnaval parties. Elements of reggae, Yoruba, and Dahomey traditions, along with various Caribbean sounds, can be heard along the way, but the trademark stamps of Bahia are all over the tracks here. Given the massive amount of music to come from Bahia, a single album is arguably too little to capture the sounds. Nonetheless, this one takes a valiant stab at it, coming out with a coherent and enjoyable set.

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