'Those eager for new material by the glamorous Brazilian diva Marisa Monte will be...
Jon Lusk 2003
Those eager for new material by the glamorous Brazilian diva Marisa Monte will be glad to hear that Tribalistas is not the next best thing to one of her solo albums; it's actually her finest record since her classic 1994 album Rose And Charcoal.
Monte has worked with Brown and Antunes on several previous outings anyway, and as producer and lead vocalist for much of Tribalistas' short but sweet duration, she's the strongest presence, accompanied in unison most of the time by the deep gravely tones of Antunes and Brown's slightly higher but less distinctive voice.
Brown is rightly famed for his prolific work as a producer to Brazil's musical aristocracy (including Monte) and a patchy string of solo albums, while poet and composer Antunes is probably the least well known. Tribalistas is the result of their combined song writing efforts and was recorded in only 15 days. Along with much music that emanates from Latin America's largest country, it's appropriate to call this MPB (Música Popular Brasileira).
Apart from a little oddball electronica, the sound throughout is refreshingly acoustic, and despite Brown's fierce reputation as a percussionist, as well as the impressive array of strikeable objects he plays, there's not much in the way of distinctly Brazilian roots rhythms. Unless you count the bossa nova-ish lilt of "Pecado é Lhe Deixar de Molho". They might sing about getting ready for a batucada work-out on the opening Carnavália, but the song only hints at a samba rhythm. That's emblematic of the lightness of touch which characterisesTribalistas as a whole. The arrangements are full of interesting sounds like music box, berimbau and glockenspiel without ever over-egging the pudding or resorting to gratuitous novelty.
Dadi Carvalho is another long term Monte collaborator and is the most noteworthy of a handful of backing musicians for his delightful piano, Hammond, accordion and guitars. The tunes slink into your memory over several plays and, like all the best pop music, soon take up residence. Best of all, Monte's effortless, honeyed voice sounds as good as it ever has.
None of these artists has as yet received the recognition they deserve outside Brazil so perhaps the U.K. release of this charming album will change that.