When one is lost in the arid labyrinth of samplers and drum machines in Brazilian releases, there is no avoiding the question: Are you taking and using world pop culture, or are you taken by it? In the case of abusive commercial efforts (which represent the majority of the releases), the answer is clear.
Fortunately, there are some younger artists filled with a strong passion for the incredible richness of Brazilian music. One of those is Mônica Salmaso. In her opening solo album, surrounded by excellent musicians like Naná Vasconcellos, she covers with her talented voice in properly acoustic renditions some delicious folkloric tunes, and also compositions by Dorival Caymmi, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Guinga, Paulo César Pinheiro, José Miguel Wisnik, andRonaldo Bastos. She is even unprejudiced enough to cover a song by the pop star Lenine (who also is very respectful of the northeastern tradition, as can be heard in this melody). Through this album, Salmaso shows that extending the tradition is not a matter of plugging in electronic gadgets, but a more demanding talent-dependent work of swing, melody, harmony, arrangements, execution, and warmth, all truly Brazilian.