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Kátia Moraes & Sambaguru
Ginga
SugarCane Records

Some performers are born to make music. It is a unique gift for a privileged few. Kátia Moraes falls into that category. Not only can she make music, but she also writes heartfelt poetry in her lyrics.

Ginga is the latest album by Kátia Moraes and Sambaguru. The album is a kaleidoscope of Brazilian rhythms. Backed by a new band, Sambaguru, Kátia Moraes reigns in a familiar environment of original compositions penned by herself and other band members. The new band is comprised of percussionist Kevin Ricard, guitarist Sanjay Divecha, bassist Hussain Jiffry, drummer and percussionist Tony Shogren, and keyboardist Bill Brendle, besides Kátia Moraes on the vocals. The addition of Ricard, Divecha, and Jiffry brought the group a world flavor not found anywhere else. Yet, the sound is entirely Brazilian in feeling and substance.

Kátia Moraes began her career in Brazil performing with artists such as Sérgio Mendes, Rita Lee, and Banda Cheiro de Amor. Luna Kafé previously reviewed another album by Moraes, Ten Feet and The Sun. Being able to revisit her career is a special treat, mainly because Ginga makes it so easy to do my job. On to the music, and what lively pieces we have here.

If you are easily mesmerized by first impressions, you will be hooked to Ginga from its very first note. A tribute to Brazilian women performers, Pesca das Muié (The Women Go Fishing) begins with special guest flutist Justo Almario. That is just the beginning. The Bossa Nova feel and beat permeate the air as Moraes gives us a lesson in Brazilian music and poetry. She talks about Elis Regina, Rita Lee, Zizi Possi, as well as one of Brazilian most honored poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade. With a strong feminine presence, Ginga proceeds to elaborate further into the world of Moraes. Nossa Senhora do Medo Perpétuo (Our Lady of Perpetual Fear) is a marvelous samba such as the ones you would hear in the famous bars in Rio de Janeiro. Bill Brendle handles the cavaquinho with superb artistry. Besides the highly danceable beat, this song is one fine example of Moraes excellent poetry. She is capable of bringing with ease intense topics such as the one here. This song is a lesson for everyone to look at life and give it another try if things don't seem right at this moment. Another similar song is Não Vá (Don't Go), where the words are a breath of reassurance to an ending love affair. Switching between a slow tempo and samba, Moraes exudes understanding, caring, and compassion. The combination of music and lyrics in a perfect blend of styles is one of the strong points in every song with Moraes touch. If there is any doubt in your mind, simply experience the play in Pra Tocar Pandeiro (To Play the Pandeiro). Special guests Justo Almario (flute) and Cássio Duarte (pandeiro) are a joy to listen in the short "duel" they perform in this track. The sound is jovial and fun.

Ginga is an album that captivates the listener from the very start. Most amazing, though, is that with every song you will have a good balance of lyrics and rhythm. Each song is a world to experience. Kátia Moraes and Sambaguru feel completely at home with their own material. Moraes performs with gusto and emotion. Ginga is good swing from start to finish. If you want to find out more about Ginga, please visit Kátia Moraes' home page. Sound samples are available there.

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