Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Various Artists, Brazilian Beats Boxset

Usually when you buy a CD and it’s not what you thought it was going to be it’s a huge disappointment.  That’s especially true when the CD is a boxset that contains more of the unexpected and costs more than a single disc.  For some reason I thought the Brazilian Beats Boxset was a collection that surveyed Brazilian music from the club-oriented dance music of contemporary Rio to more traditional forms of music.  Brazilian music is known for its rhythmic variety and sophistication and I was hoping the collection would provide examples along with a hefty booklet that would allow me to identify which rhythm was which.  I don’t know where I got this idea but it’s not at all accurate which didn’t turn out to be such a bad thing at all.

Brazilian Beats is the name given to a series of eight CDs of Brazilian club music.  The series was compiled and released by the Mr. Bongo label out of Brighton England and the boxset simply collects all eight discs in one package.  The accompanying booklet gives track listing, copyright info, and reproduces the pictures on the carboard sleeves containing each of the disks.  It’s minimal to the point of insulting. 

The saving grace here is the music.  Based on what you hear on any one of these discs the cliub scene in Rio is exceptionally varied.  House, disco, funk, jazz, techno, lounge, marching band and a dozen other influences can be heard here.  Throughout it all there is an emphasis on sophisticated rhythm and even when some of the lounge tunes lay on the cheese you can usually drill down to an interesting rhythm track. 

I don’t know why anyone would need eight discs of this music but I have to say that having it in the house has been a delight.  Buying the boxset was a mistake that it turns out I’m very glad to have made.  I believe each of the disks can be bought individually and listeners who like rhythmic Latin dance music might want to sample the series with the purchase of a single disk.  Any of the disks will do and whichever one you buy will give you at least a track or two that is different from anything you’ll find on any of the others.  If you really like the single disk, think about getting the collection next because picking up all eight discs in the boxset costs substantially less than purchasing each disc alone. 

While the music on Brazilian Beats may often serve as background music, it is the kind of background music that is rich, varied and often takes you away from whatever it is you were doing for a round of sultry dancing.  And that’s never a bad thing.   


06/30/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , ,


  1. Hi Kmurnane

    Yep, no information with Brazilian Beats Box Set, but instead Mr Bongo set up an official fansite with loads of original content.

    Check out the site at http://brazilianbeats.info

    Where there are articles on the history of the box set and track selection policy.


    Timjim (Fansite Admin)

    Comment by Brazilian Beats | 07/01/2008 | Reply

  2. Hello Kmurnane!

    I stumbled across your blog when I was looking for Brazilian music related websites. I was wondering if you would be interested in checking out a new Brazilian fusion band from Brooklyn, Nation Beat.

    Here is a link for three free tracks from our brand new album. (It’ll give you a little taste before you buy the cd, just to make sure you really like it!) Hope you enjoy!



    Here is a bit of writing from the press release:

    “…Nation Beat specializes in Brazilian (maracatu) and New Orleans second-line funk… the obvious affection for their sources and sheer moxie they bring make Nation Beat’s sound near addictive.” — Time Out Chicago

    Which nation, and which beat? What makes this group special is that it offers no simple answers. They are rhythm gatherers, harvesting the fruit of 500 years of cultural crossbreeding, which is why the sounds of the northeast of Brazil and the southern United States blend together so seamlessly; NPR’s All Things Considered music writer Banning Eyre calls them “the most original and alluring fusion group I have heard in years.”

    At the heart of Nation Beat’s new album, Legends of the Preacher, lies a totally original 21st century fusion between thunderous Brazilian maracatu drumming and New Orleans second line rhythms, Appalachian-inspired bluegrass music, funk, rock, and country-blues. Conjuring the spirit of powerful and liberated carnival queens, rising Brazilian star Liliana Araujo fronts the ensemble with her soaring powerhouse vocals. A recent finalist on Brazil’s “American Idol” spin-off program FAMA, Araujo evokes the righteous soul singers of America’s gold age of soul.

    Bandleader Scott Kettner describes maracatu as “a really high-energy, percussive, Afro-Brazilian dance rhythm that gets all up in your bones and makes you shake. Imagine the sound of thunder when you see a big storm coming across the ocean — that’s what it sounds like when a maracatu group is parading toward you in Brazil.” Nation Beat brings the audacious energy of this musical storm to both their recorded work and especially their electric live performances. As a result, their explosive live show has attracted music fans from a wide demographic: bluegrass and country music fans, Brazilian music lovers, outdoor festival-goers, and pretty much anyone who loves to dance.

    Please give us a listen and let us know what you think!

    Tu-maraca! NATION BEAT

    Comment by Nation Beat | 07/25/2008 | Reply

  3. Andreas css template with wordpress install.. Thanks for the idea..

    Comment by John Doe | 09/19/2008 | Reply

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