Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Brazil - Full Moon 34 - 07/28/99

Maxixe Machine
Gravações Elétricas Sem Suíngue

Once in a while, I stumble upon something quite extraordinary, totally out of the blue. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, finding such hidden treasures has become easier. That is the case with Maxixe Machine's BarBabel.

BarBabel packs 27 songs and a 65-page booklet covering both traditional Brazilian music and several original compositions by band members. Maxixe Machine hails from Curitiba, capital city of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Luiz Ferreira plays cavaquinho, acoustic guitar, and samplers; Ricardo "Ô Rosinha" plays the enormous array of percussion instruments (zabumba, surdo, pandeiro, drums, etc.); Rodrigo Barros Homem Del Rey is the lead vocalist and also acoustic guitarist; Therciano Albuquerque plays the piano; and Walmor Douglas Góes provides guitar solos. All band members do vocals, too. Maxixe Machine has received some important recognition from the Curitiban arts community. Among such awards, the group was presented the Saul Trumpet Best Group Award of 1998. In brief, from musicians to song selections, Maxixe Machine's BarBabel is excellent!

The first striking feature of BarBabel is its selection of songs. The album opens with Assis Valente's Maria Boa (Good Maria). Assis Valente, if you are not familiar with the name, was Carmen Miranda's favorite composer. For her he wrote Carnaval songs and sambas that have become Brazilian classics. Another very well known Brazilian composer, Noel Rosa, is present with some of his sharpest lyrics. The humorous words in Mulher Indigesta (Inedible Woman) and Com Mulher Não Quero Mais Nada (I Don't Want To Have Anything Else With Women) provide the listener with a rare glimpse of the Vila Isabel Samba School most famous composer. Though Maxixe Machine captures the original feeling and style of those compositions with their own lively arrangements, these performances are also very spirited and contemporary. That is a rare feat for a young band, I might need to add. Lamartine Babo's Isso É Lá Com Santo Antonio (That is Saint Anthony's Business) carries the vitality of those long gone Carnaval marches. The same is true with Ary Barroso's Como "Vaes" Você? (How "Is" You?). Though he is more well known for the sambas he composed (such as Brazil), Barroso was also a very accomplished Carnaval music songwriter.

Interspersed with all these classic tunes, we find other intriguing songs. Often they contain clever lyrics with intelligent puns and humorous tones. While listening to some of these songs, you are immediately taken to those neighborhood bars all over Brazil. The music is infectious, especially in the few live tracks added to this studio recording. For example, Memória Rã (Frog Memory), cleverly incorporates samba breaks in the most traditional style of the Rio de Janeiro malandro (scoundrel). The Hino do Chupa-Cabras (Chupa-cabra's Anthem) is another enthusiastic number where the band shines with their facetious lyrics.

If you would like to hear and experience BarBabel, you can sample a few songs in the Maxixe Machine's web site. You can also contact the group directly, if interested in the CD. Turn up the volume and get in the mood. BarBabel is great entertainment.

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