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There's a cliche that has crept into record reviewing in the last few years. 'Joining the dots' has come to mean finding a link between two initially different-sounding genres.
In this connection, Fernanda Porto's eponymous European debut is a fine example of dot-joining- in her case, between the current craze for Brazilian drum & bass, and the more traditional forms of Brazilian song and music. Even if you're unaware of it, you'll have heard Fernanda's voice at Notting Hill Carnival for the last three years over the drum 'n' bass, and the latin sound systems. "Sambassim", as mixed by paulistadrum 'n' bass dj Patife, was the tune, a groundbreaker not just for this artist, but for Brazilian d 'n' b generally.
For a lesser talent, drum 'n' bass would have been a deep hole to dig yourself out of when the craze passes. But Porto's composing, singing, peforming and playing abilities will prove to be the JCB for any such cavity that may appear in the near future. In fact, it wouldn't be immediately apparent from this record thatd 'n' b featured anywhere in the equation,such is the skill with which Porto's classically- trained playing and producing talents combine to give us a record of uncommon grace and beauty, mixing electronically-tinged (but only tinged) sambas and bossa novas with lyrics that are often decidely non-traditional.
Helpfully, there's also an English-language lyric insert, so you can fully appreciate poet Eduardo Ruiz' achingly physical lyric to Fernanda's love song "Intimate Village"; the bitter end of an affair ("So Much Crap"); Sao Paulo's smog problem ("Somewhere Else In The World"); the beautiful Tom Jobim/Aloysius de Olivereira classic "It Could Only Have Been You" (which was recorded especially for a Brazilian television soap-opera); and, of course, that song, "Sambassim", here given a more radio-friendly, bossa-jazz feel.
This unassuming, but formidably gifted artist has already sold well in excess of 100.000 copies of Fernando Porto in Brazil. If there's any justice in the world, Fernanda Porto deserves the same success in Europe. --John Armstrong
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Top customer reviews
If only more drum and bass could be played live, this well.
In my opinion this eponymous debut is a more enjoyable slice of Electronic Brasiliana than Bebel Gilberto's critically and commercially acclaimed Tanto Tempo album.
The stand out tracks are Sambassim (more stripped down than the DJ Patife version on the Brasilian Job) and Baque Virado, although Tempo pra Tudo sounds alittle dated and out of step with the rest of the album.
All in all a very enjoyable and very Brasilian debut, perfect for those lazy summer evenings.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
After 10 or so years on the road, this musical dynamo has finally found the time to release her self-titled debut CD, a bold juxtaposition of drum 'n' bass with bossa nova and samba, which has already achieved gold status in Brazil. It only makes sense that the visionary São Paulo record label Trama -- home to some of Brazil's most original new talents - should release this extraordinary debut.
Porto composed all but one of the songs on the CD; she also did her own programming and played all of the instruments. She shared lyric-writing duties with renowned Brazilian lyricists and poets such as Paulo Leminsky, Arnaldo Antunes, Ledusha, Edu Ruia, Lina de Albuquerque and Martha Medeiros.
The Jobim bossa nova classic Só Tinha que Ser Com Você, the only cover on the album, takes an exciting new turn with Porto's reinterpretation, a winning collaboration with the great Brazilian DJ Patife.
Baque Virado, written with Alba Carvalho, is one of the album's highlights. The track gives a modern spin to the energy and playfulness of one of northeastern Brazil's most famous musical styles, maracatu. Throughout the disc, Porto ably creates a successful fusion between both sophisticated electronic club beats and diverse traditional Brazilian rhythms. Another benchmark track is Tudo De Bom, a composition inspired by the sentimental heart of Brazil, Rio de Janiero.
Although this is her debut album, Porto displays more musical maturity and innovation than many artists on their second or third releases. With her self-titled release, the soft-spoken Paulistana is clearly positioned at the forefront of a powerful new wave in Brazilian music.