Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Various Artists - Beleza Tropical (1989)


This CD is the first in a series compiled by Talking Heads singer David Byrne and released on his Luaka Bop label, riding the "world music" wave started with Paul Simon's Graceland. The purpose was to introduce American audiences to the Brazilian music genre known as Música Popular Brasileira (MPB).  Ever since the evolution of MPB began in the '60s, various American musicians have tried bringing MPB to the US, with less than spectacular results.  Don't ask me why - there are some great pop songs here.  The songs in this compilation were written in the years 1971-82 and, as could be expected, are heavy on Latin percussion and acoustic guitar.  I have no idea what the lyrics are about, but the Portuguese language is certainly beautiful to listen to, especially when sung.  Excellent liner notes including lyrics and their English translations. I purchased the second volume of the series, but didn't like it nearly as much as this first volume so I got rid of it.

A brief, lightweight documentary was made at the time about Byrne and this compilation.  You can view that here.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #178

Tracks: 18 tracks, 1 hour.  Most of the disc is extremely enjoyable.  My favorite track is Equatorial by Lô Borges. Other top songs are Ponta De Lanca Africano (Umbabaruma) by Jorge Ben, Queixa by Caetano Veloso, Só Quero Um Xodó and Quilombo, O El Dorado Negro, both by Gilberto Gil.  The only song I don't care for is the final track, Terra by Veloso.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: During a weekend beach male-bonding getaway about 15 years ago, I subjected my buddy Jim to this CD.  I don't remember if he enjoyed it or not.  Around the same time, I would occasionally play this disc for my students as they entered my classroom.  Since this music was way beyond the comfort zone of most 11 year old children, I received more than my share of eyerolling and strange looks.

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