Various Artists | Comfusões

Out/Here (2009)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  July 29, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

The Portuguese pun on this compilation's title suggests both "confusions" and "with fusions," a fruitful transatlantic exchange where contemporary Brazilian DJs and producers led by Mauricio Pacheco (of Rio funk outfit Stereo Maracanã) retool Angolan oldies from the heyday of Afrobeat. After seeing the light of Fela years ago in Europe, Pacheco found kindred spirits back in the Brazilian music scene, among them pal (and son of Caetano) Moreno Veloso and other cool urban kids as versed in George Clinton, Sly Stone, and Chic as in great local experimentalists like Jorge Ben and Tom Zé.

What started as a loving remix of Teta Lando's "Angolé," a genuine paean to tolerance that you can shake your bunda to, blossomed into a loungy world-beat collection pitched somewhere between the slickness of a Manu Chao joint and the soulful grit of the Buena Vista projects. Angola has more recently gained visibility in music circles thanks to kuduro, the ragga-inflected dance export championed by M.I.A. and others, but Pacheco et al.'s source tracks are of an earlier vintage, a Luso-African landscape inflected by the original African spring of the blues, the Iberian traditions of saudade, and even a touch of Gypsy angst.

And if the ubiquitous fado informs tracks like Bonga's "Kapakaiao," other confusing infusions here drift along the tropics to surprising destinations — whereas Carlos Lamartine's "Nzambi Nzambi" could well be a romantic bolero, Luis Visconde's "Chofer de Praça" (remixed by Alvarito) evokes a hip-hop version of the melodious Che Guevara anthem "Hasta Siempre." The set ends with an amazing folk performance by revered old-timer Elias Dia Kimuenzo (whom Pacheco calls "the African Ibrahim Ferrer"), reinvented here as quality 21st-century easy listening.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Che Guevara,  More more >
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