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coverpic flag Brazil - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 2 - 12/24/96

Various Artists
A Brasilian Christmas
Astor Place Recordings (TCD 4006)

If you have ever wondered what it is like to spend Christmas in the southern hemisphere, where it is summer in December, then you know what to expect from A Brasilian Christmas. This collection of Christmas songs from Brazil and the world is as colorful as its cover artwork by Sarajo Frieden. Produced by Miles Goodman and Oscar Castro-Neves, A Brasilian Christmas is like a who's who in Brazilian music. Joyce, Dori Caymmi, Ivan Lins, Leo Gandelman, Gilson Peranzzetta, Oscar Castro-Neves, Ricardo Silveira, Toninho Horta, and João Bosco all add their talents to what is soon destined to become a classic Brazilian recording. As an extra bonus to the great music and performances, the superb liner notes by Joseph A. Page will give you the best portrait of Christmas in Brazil if you cannot be there during the holiday season.

Each song in this release receives a special treatment from its performer transforming the melody in something uniquely Brazilian. Whether with the instrumental pieces, such as Air on Six Strings, or even with the English vocals, special care was taken to present a Brazilian flavor in every song. The opening track, Schubert's Ave Maria, admirably mixes sleigh bells with Brazilian percussion. Ave Maria becomes a samba complete with the angelic voices of Denise Dumont, Bebel Gilberto (daughter of João Gilberto, the father of Bossa Nova), and Lois Albez. As you hear Ivan Lins in White Christmas, for example, you will likely wonder whether Lins could have written that melody. When Dori Caymmi brings his mellow voice to The Christmas Song, you will almost feel the balmy air as the gentle rhythm sways you giving you the incomparable sensation of being in a hammock under coconut trees on a beach in Bahia. Now, that is an image to think of during cold winter days in the northern hemisphere!

Song after song, A Brasilian Christmas will amaze you. Joyce treats Santa Claus Is Coming To Town to a lively forró, that Brazilian northeastern rhythm. Silent Night, with both English and Portuguese lyrics, brings the calm that song deserves. However, you should brace yourself for the biggest and most rewarding surprise of the CD: João Bosco's own Brazilian version of I'll Be Home for Christmas. Bosco's words kept the idea of the original lyrics about going home during the holidays and added a perfect Brazilian twist. The arrangement is typically Bosco, including his guitar artistry and scatting technique. To complete this holiday treat (though mistakenly credited as O Velhinho), Joyce delivers a beautiful rendition of Brazil's most famous Christmas song: Assis Valente's Boas Festas.

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