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by Rachel Devitt

November 1, 2012

Radio: Sounds of Brazil

by Rachel Devitt  |  November 1, 2012

If you find yourself with the sudden urge to both bask on a beach and moon about love, to both sip a caipirinha and offer searing social critique, blame it on the bossa nova -- and the samba, and the Tropicália, and the classic Brazilian pop. In fact, just blame it on our Sounds of Brazil station, a one-stop shop for all the icy-hot, sexy-smooth, sensually (and socially) conscious grooves we've come to expect from that country over the past 60 years or so.

On this station you'll find the velvet-voiced singers, contemplative acoustic guitars and sun-drenched shuffle of bossa nova, that serenely seductive sound born in the mid-20th century when pioneers like Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto took strains of samba, cool jazz and folk, plopped them in a lounge chair on the beach, slathered them with coconut oil, handed them a fruity cocktail, and got them talking about all the girls from Ipanema (and Brasilia, and Sao Paulo, and Salvador) who break their hearts. You'll also find the gently psychedelic Tropicalismo that followed, when artists like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and other rabble-rousers and students started employing Brazilian jazz and pop as political tools.

And of course, you'll find plenty of the sound that started it all: samba, aka the quieter, complex strains of samba-cancao (not the raucous version that became carnival), exemplified by greats from Clara Nunes to Paulinho da Viola. Finally, you'll hear the contemporary experimenters responsible for nu-bossa and neo-samba -- including artists like Bebel Gilberto, CéU, Cibelle, Luisa Maita and Curumin -- who pair the ebb and flow of bossa nova and samba with knob-twiddling lounge beats, chunky funk licks and hip-hop. So sit back, grab a cocktail, and lose yourself in sexy, sensual introspections about life and love.

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