Title - A Vida Com Paixăo
Artist - Brasuka
For those unaware, Brasuka is an exciting and original world music ensemble. They are 6 musicians, representing 5 different cultures, singing in 3 languages: Portuguese, Spanish, and English.
Their wonderful musical and cultural diversity comes together through their friendship and their shared love of Brazilian music.
From samba to reggae, jazz fusion to funk, fiery frevo to tender ballads, Brasuka explores many different rhythms and stories, delivering them with carefully crafted, lush arrangements, reminiscent of beloved Brazilian artists like Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins.
Their debut album of almost all original music, A Vida Com Paixăo (releasing October 6th, 2021 via trombonist Nick Finzer’s Outside in Music label), delivers a compelling debut recording rooted in Brazilian fusion, taking the listener on a culturally diverse journey.
Over the past year and a half, music experienced a dark and dismal outlook of pandemic doom. But in demanding times, musicians keep us grounded. They call up the strong, beautiful parts of our spirits.
Welcome Brasuka, the hopeful and spirited ensemble that offers a healing outlook. Based in Dallas, the sextet’s compelling debut recording, A Vida Com Paixăo, captures the joy and beauty of its translated name, A Life With Passion.
Inspired by different styles of Brazilian music with spices of reggae, classical, jazz improvisation, folk-styled melodies, Uruguayan candombe, and splashes of pop, the six-member band, along with special guests, delivers a sublime album with every tune a pure delight of lyricism and percussive rhythms.
1. Samba Jiji
2. A Vida Com Paixăo
3. Road to Hermeto
5. Deusa Do Meu Carnaval
6. Reina’s Song
7. Praia Felix
8. La Higuera
10. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Opening on the delicious hipsway of the captivating wordless vocals within Samba Jiji and the addictively joyful and uplifting beats of the title track itself, A Vida Com Paixăo, next up is the beautifully buoyant Road to Hermeto, the Uruguayan candombe and Brazilian maracatu combination of Marakandombe and then we get the gentle samba, flute and melodica joy of Deusa Do Meu Carnaval.
Next up is the simply divine, sobering original Reina’s Song and the exuberant Praia Felix, which are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the candombe groove-layered, complete with mellow bass solo that bleeds into a rousing sing-along of La Higuera, the vibrantly seductive album rounding out on the melodious and dynamic improvisations found within Confundido, closing on Brasuka’s rhythmic approach to their uplifting rendition of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The 10 tracks, including 9 original songs, work together as a culturally diverse journey of a group formed a decade ago, originally as a Sergio Mendes tribute spearheaded by percussionist Ricardo Bozas and vocalist and current spokesperson, Rosana Eckert.
“After many years of playing music by artists like Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins, the band evolved. After a few personnel changes and some brainstorming, we shifted our focus to original music. We started writing songs together as a group and loved it.” says Eckert.
Eckert likens the band to a collective. “There is no one leader. There are six leaders, and we’re all invested. The biggest challenge has been finding the time to rehearse and write, given that we all have so many other musical jobs and groups.”
“But we believe in this band and devote ourselves to it, planning rehearsals weeks in advance. Rehearsals are often day-long events when we eat together, write, arrange, eat some more. We also split up into smaller groups for writing sessions,” she says.
Brasuka stands as a solid band with a firm undergirding influenced by their shared love of Brazilian music. The multi-ethnic ensemble features Mexican-American Eckert on vocals and keyboards, Uruguay-born Bozas on percussion and vocals, Cubaborn Denny Robinson on keys and vocals, Tom Burchill from South Dakota on acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, Dallas-born Brian Warthen on bass and percussion, and Puerto Rico native Jose Aponte on drums and vocals.
Guests include co-producer Daniel Pardo on flutes and melodica, Drew Zaremba on flute and tenor sax, and Jeff Robbins on tenor saxophone.
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