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It was through Yo-Yo's first such foray, "Appalachia Waltz," that I initially became familiar with the fiddling of Mark O'Connor and the bass playing of Edgar Meyer, two artists I've since become well-acquainted with, collecting all of their works. And, if this early foray of Yo-Yo's was somewhat tentative on his part, in terms of adapting to new styles of playing, he has only gotten better - measurably better, in fact - since then.
"Obrigado Brazil" is the sequel to Yo-Yo's wildly successful "Soul of the Tango" album, and I think it surpasses it in every respect, not least of which is his constantly improving skill at absorbing and subsuming "world music" genres and styles. Moreover, the variety of Brazilian music on this album is far wider - and the music itself much more laid-back - than the tangos of that earlier effort. (There is a near-monochromatic tension in the rhythms and sharp accents of the tango, as a musical form, that can tend to give the music a sense of "sameness"; a little can go a far way. This is hardly the case for the mellower range of styles present in Brazilian music, which is much more of an amalgam of the many cultural styles of Brazil than the more restricted - and heavily stylized - tango form.)
For this project, Yo-Yo has brought along a few artists who collaborated on the "Soul of the Tango" project: Kathryn Stott, the pianist on both, and Oscar Castro-Neves, the great Brazilian guitarist who not only got in some of the best guitar licks on "Tango" but produced that album as well.Read more ›
I admire the selection of music on this CD as it covers a wide variety of genres and a large chunk of Brazilian history. Several of the newer pieces were also quite enjoyable, especially because they were performed by the composers themselves.
Of course, Yo-Yo Ma outdoes himself again. His playing is impeccable as is his ability to become part of the larger ensemble. I'm so glad he's willing to blend in and let us hear all the different and beautiful aspects of this music. He's truly a class act as well as an astonishingly accurate and polished musician!
Ma is joined by a septet of mostly Latin American performers, two of whom also double as composers: composer/clarinettist Paquito d'Rivera, singer/guitarist Rosa Passos, guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, Ma's long time accompanist at the piano Kathryn Stott, and a bassist and percussionist.
Listen to one of my favorite tracks, the lovely Menino, and you wil hear that Ma brings real sensibility to this music. Occasionally his performance reveals that he isn't as familiar with the style as d'Rivera or the others--he tends, for example, not to bend pitches but approach them as his Classical training would have--but this is no significant flaw, as the qualities of line and rhythm he does bring to the music compensate. Those who complain that Obrigado Brazil isn't truly Brazilian music, that it's perhaps over-refined miss the point entirely, and are advised to look elsewhere for their entertainment. Certainly if "authentic" folk music is what listeners are after, they won't find it here. But they will find wonderful music, played with love and dedication by superb musicians, and well worth hearing.
Now, to compare the studio version with the live concert recording.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you like Yo Yo Ma and Brazilian music, this cd is a must.Published 20 months ago by Honorio Barrientos
As a clarinetist,I was particularly charmed by the presence of wonderful accompanying clarinet sounds on this CD - adding to the lilt
of the Brazilian idiom.
I believe there is a song here by the name of Bodas de Prata e Quarto Cantos. The composer did not seem to be famous to me ( but seemed similar in the style of Villalobos) , but oh... Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by Elisa
The surprising aspect of this album is the constant, everchanging VARIETY of formats --- by no means is it all cello. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Ronald Haak