Pretty, Funky

I love Brazilian music. Beleza Tropical, the record above, is what started it all. It was compiled by David Byrne and put out on his own label Luaka Bop (I’m not sure if he is still part of it). Damn you, David Byrne!!! Well, really, Thank you, David Byrne! (I just finished his Bicycle Diaries, which I really enjoyed, too.)

It took a while to come around to the prettier songs, but after listening to this with headphones in the early 90s while walking around Jamaica Pond in Boston, I finally started to catch all the percussive details (and the more-interesting-than-usual bass lines). A “pretty” song in America is often a bit shlocky, but in Brazil they are still free to do wonderful things with percussion – the song can be beautiful and funky at the same time. There are some groovier songs on this compilation, but please take a listen below to the pretty ones. These artists are the world’s foremost practitioners of pretty funk.

Here are the artists for the songs above:

  • “Sonho Meu” – Maria Bethania with Gal Costa
  • “Só Quero Um Xodó” – Gilberto Gil
  • “Caramba! … Galileu Da Galileia” – Jorge Ben
  • “Queixa” – Caetano Veloso
  • “Anima” – Milton Nascimento