For lovers of Latin music, one of the most eagerly awaited compilation series is Mr. Bongo Records’ Brazilian Beats. The first installment of this critically acclaimed compilation series was released thirteen years ago, back in 2000, just as the new millennia dawned. Little did Mr. Bongo Records realize that they’d launched one of the most successful compilation series of recent years, one which helped popularise Brazilian music. 

The next volume, Brazilian Beats 2, was released a year later in 2001. Volume 3 followed in 2002, with volume 4 released in 2003. Then after a gap of two years, 2005 saw the release of volumes 5 and 6. Since then, apart from a box set containing each volume of Brazilian Beats, there’s been no further volumes of Brazilian Beats. 

Eight years have passed and Mr. Bongo continued to release cutting-edge music. What had been one of the most eagerly anticipated compilation series, it seemed, was no more. Wrong. All of a sudden, Mr. Bongo were about to release Brazilian Beats 7. 

After a short delay, Brazilian Beats 7 was released. During that time, I wondered whether Brazilian Beats 7 would match the quality of the six previous volumes? The last anyone wanted was for our memories of this critically acclaimed series being tarnished. However, we shouldn’t have worried. Mr. Bongo have dug deep, in their quest for the best in old and new Brazilian music.

Featuring twenty tracks, Brazilian Beats 7 is an exploration in the best in Brazilian music. There’s contributions from new names and familiar faces. Among them are Karol Conká, Cláudia, SamJazz, Junior Com Orquestra E Coro, Arnaud Rodrigues, Cizinha and Jackson Conti. These are just a few of the artists that feature on Brazilian Beats 7, which attempts to pick up where volume 6 left off. However, does Brazilian Beats 7 match the quality of Brazilian Beats 6? That’s what I’ll tell you.

Providing a refreshing start to Brazilian Beats 7, is Karol Conká’s Boa Noite. Karol is part of a new generation of Brazilian artists. Mr. Bongo Records will shortly release Karol’s new album, Batukfreak. Boa Noite which was a You Tube hit, is a fusion of hip hop, Baile Funk, trap and dub. Produced by Nove, it’s a groundbreaking, genre-melting track.

From the opening bars of Som Sete’s Esquindindin, you realize something special is unfolding. A slice of aural sunshine, is the best way to describe this samba classic.

Djavan’s career began in 1976, when the released his debut album A Voz, O Violao, A Musica De Djavan. Released on the Som Livre label, it was the start of a long and successful career that’s spanned four decades. Two years later, in 1978, Djavan received his eponymous sophomore album on EMI. fusion of soul, jazz, easy listening and Bossa Nova, there’s even an African influence to his music. One of the highlights of Djavan was Nereci. Soulful, joyous and jazzy, the addition of vocalist Mariznha is the finishing touch to what is one of the highlights of Brazilian Beats 7.

Cinematic, compelling and genre-sprawling describes Odair Cabeça De Poeta’s Isso É Bonito. It’s a real hidden gem, from s Odair Cabeça De Poeta’s second and final album A Forronatica E O Forramba. Released in 1976 it’s a melting pot of influences and genres. Everything from Brazilian, jazz, folk, funk and Afrobeat is thrown into the melting pot. Given a stir, the result is an irresistible and delicious hidden gem.

During Abilio Manoel’s career, he only released a trio of albums and a quartet of singles. In 1972, he released an E.P. for the Odeon label. The A-Side featured Rei De Ouros and Tua Chegada om. Tucked away on the B-Side was Luiza Manequim and Depois Eu Digo. Luiza Manequim reinforces by belief that you should always check out a B-Side. It also features on Abilio Manoel’s sophomore album Entre Nos. A timeless, emotive and dramatic soulful fusion of soul, jazz and Latin music, why this track was only a B-Side is beyond me?

Coaty De Olivieira’s Caminho Livre is a pulsating, percussive disco track that bursts into life. It’s impossible to keep still, during what’s essentially a call to dance. This was a track from Coaty’s 1975 debut album Le Forro Bresilein. It was released on the Mason Conseil label. A glorious fusion of samba and disco, this track is still  guaranteed to fill a dance-floor.

Without doubt the most leftfield choice on Brazilian Beats 7 is Zapata’s A Mesa Santa. Released on the Odeon label in 1971, gospel meets psychedelia and sixties rock. Gospel harmonies give way to a lysergic fusion of Hendrix-esque guitars and a vocal that’s akin to an cathartic exorcism. Add to that, thunderous drums and gospel tinged harmonies. The result is best described as Brazilian psychedelic gospel. So good is this track, it’s worth buying Brazilian Beats 7 just for A Mesa Santa.

One of the oldest tracks on Brazilian Beat 7, is the Jorge Autuori Trio’s Autorizando.  Taken from their sophomore album The Jorge Autuori Trio Volume 2, which was released in 1968 on the Rozenbilt label. A year later, in 1969, The Jorge Autuori Trio released their third and final album Ovalo. This hard driving example of Bossa Nova shows what Brazilian music lost when the Jorge Autuori Trio called time on their career.

Quarteto Novo’s Misturada featured on a 1965 compilation Introducao, which was released on the Rozenbilt label. Two years later, when Quarteto Novo released their 1967 eponymous debut album on Odeon, this Bossa Nova classic was one of the highlights. It showcased an innovative and inventive band, who sadly, released just one album.

My final choice from Brazilian Beats 7, is Mestre Bimba’s Corridos. This is a track from his 1969 album Curso De Capoeira Regional, which was released on RC Discos. Mestre Bimba who was born in Salvador, Bahia, where he was a master of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Here, he draws musical inspiration from  Capoeira. He delivers a corrido, which is sung during a Capoeira. Mestre Bimba sings call and response with the Academia Regional choir. They sing in toungues, while a single-string Berimbau contributes the hypnotic rhythms. Together, they play their part in one of the most compelling, mesmeric tracks on Brazilian Beats 7.

For anyone who loves Brazilian music, and are fed up with predictable compilations, then Brazilian Beats 7 is a compilation that deserves to take its place in your collection. It features twenty-tracks that showcase all that’s good about Brazilian music. Just as importantly, Brazilian Beats 7 matches the quality of previous installments in this critically acclaimed compilation series. New names and familiar faces feature on Brazilian Beats 7. Among them are Karol Conká, Cláudia, SamJazz, Junior Com Orquestra E Coro, Arnaud Rodrigues, Quarteto Novo and Mestre Bimba. These artists play their part in what is an eclectic compilation of quality Brazilian music. It seems that the good people at Mr. Bongo Records dig deeper than your average compiler.

While some of the tracks on Brazilian Beats 7 will be new to new to all but the most discerning connoisseurs of Brazilian music, this is no bad thing. After all, it’s the first step on a voyage of discovery. Once you’ve heard Brazilian Beats 7, you’ll want to hear more of this wonderful music. To do that, I’d recommend Mr. Bongo’s Brazilian Beats, an eight-disc box set. That includes the six previous volumes of Brazilian Beats. That’s the perfect introduction to the different styles of Brazilian music.

Mr. Bongo’s Brazilian Beats, just like Brazilian Beats 7, is best described as eclectic. Everything from bossa nova, samba, soul, funk, jazz, rock and psychedelia can be heard on Brazilian Beats 7. This is a world away from most of the tired and predictable compilations of Brazilian music released in recent years. Instead, the music on Brazilian Beats 7 is innovative and eclectic. Brazilian Beats 7 also joyous, uplifting and irresistible. It’s a welcome return for the the Brazilian Beats series. After eight years away, the Brazilian Beats compilation is back and back with a bang with Brazilian Beats 7, the latest in what is one of the best compilations of Brazilian music money can buy. Standout Tracks: Som Sete Esquindindin, Djavan A Voz, O Violao, Jorge Autuori Trio Autorizando and Quarteto Novo Misturada.


Brazilian Beats 7

1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on msamba.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: