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Bonfires of Sao Joao

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A beautiful, dance inspiring international debut. The first track sounds like a spaghetti western chase scene. Two songs later they stretch into feel-good territory with David Byrne making a guest vocal appearance, singing an English version of the Brazilian classic "Asa Branca". Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori joins the band to sing "Paraiba", a Japanese version of a Luis Gonzaga song originally recorded in the '50s. And on the album's sublime climax, Bebel Gilberto joins the group to sing a version of "Wandering Swallow", a song originally released by Peggy Lee.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nublu Records
  • ASIN: B000IFQLQE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,421 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
David Byrne wrote an article in the New York Times a few years ago which he titled "Why I hate World Music". The gist of the article, as I recall, was that "World Music" is just hopelessly inadequate to describe all the different genres that are lumped in with the term.

Not long ago, he described this album as a Brazilian Zydeco of sorts. But "Brazilian Zydeco" is woefully inadequate to describe the genre, if there is a genre, that this album fits into. To be sure, there are some zydeco references (or are there Forro references in Zydeco?), and maybe it goes without saying that the record has mostly an Afro Brazilian feel. I'm sure my own category as described in the caption of this review is inadequate too.

At any rate, one of the many cool things about Brazilian music is how big name musicians will play on each others' records, record each others' songs, and show up unexpectedly and play live with one another. There's some of that going on here, with giants like Bebel Gilberto helping out, not to mention Mr. Byrne his own big bad self. With his inimitable voice, he gives the Brazilian standard "Asa Branca" a brand new feel, sung in English.

As to the leader of the band, Mauro Refosco has played just about every percussion instrument known to man, and probably a few more, over the years. For Byrne fans, Mauro is the bug eyed guy with the big grin on his face you've seen on stage on Byrne's last few tours, beating the living crap out of everything in sight. Smokey Hormel, of Beck fame, handles the bass and some guitars on Forro in the Dark.

All in all, a great party record. I suspect its intoxicating sounds will be emanating near backyard swimming pools and beach bars from Atlanta to Ipanema to Marbella beginning this summer and for years to come.
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Format: Audio CD
If you are not familiar with the Forro style of music, this is a great introduction and is very accessible. There are several instrumental songs that create interesting movie-like effects and moods ranging from fast-paced chase scenes to mysterious investigations. The songs with vocals are performed by the band members themselves as well as a number of guest performers singing in several languages. Notably, David Byrne sings two songs (in English), including the title track. There is no language barrier to worry about - the songs and the vocalists convey the humour, melancholy, and overall spirit of each song beautifully. For something a little different than what you may usually listen to, for the excellent musicianship, and for the unique mix of songs and styles, I highly recommend this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very colorful album. There are melodies that you can whistle to, playful harmonies and all feels unbounded and flexible especially in their live performance Nublu bar, wednesday nights. They have great musicians joining them and you can never guess who'll be there. It really worths checking it out.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc defies category. Listen to he samples and you'll see what I mean. The style is it's own style, a rowdy chaotic, at times melodic mix of earthy jams that challenge you to be down in the dumps. After listening to these tracks it is impossible to be down and out or depressed. Great music for forgetting your troubles, those of the world, the ecomomy, the battle between good and evil and all of it's repercussions. This is mardi gras with all it's colorful vibe but in different hues just like the cover of the disc. Some outstanding tracks(but not limited to) are the bizzare " I Wish" which features Talking Head frontman More Songs About Buildings and Food David Byrne sounding like a deranged cowboy pastor, "Wandering Swallow" that features the soothing voice of Bebel Gilberto Tanto Tempo singing in English behind lush rhythms,"Cajuina" that is a pure instrumental jam that sounds like music you'd hear on some exotic beach,you know, where everyone is dancing barefoot, which is full of sweet guitar lead by a melllow sax, the over extended (9:24) "Lampiao No Ceu" that is set a blaze by a wild flute and exotic rhythms and the super mellow "Riacho Da Navio" that features vocals that can best be described as something you'd here in a zydeco band. This is party music when you want something different in the mix to get people stimulated. Recommended for lovers of world music and party lovers.
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By Deb Mizz on March 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I have been searching for a new band. By new I mean amazing, not known by the entire world (yet; and I stress yet), basically a band I can adore. I believe I have found this in Forro in the Dark. I hope they start touring soon so I can rock out to their amazing sounds.

Peace,

Debra
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