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Cyro Baptista: Beat the Donkey Beat

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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As rich and varied as this music is, it's a glimpse of a multifaceted enterprise that encompasses a broad aesthetic and disciplinary gamut that includes dance, couture silliness, tap, body and common objects percussion, capoeira, and light effects, among other things. Wisely, a three minute QuickTime short is included with the release that can be played in a computer as a sketch of the aforementioned multimedia endeavor. The music on this release can be thoroughly enjoyed though without experiencing the larger context for which it was conceived.

Listing the various musical genres and styles coalescing in this record would be superfluous, as there are too many to mention and they are readily identifiable upon listening, in spite of the syncretic milieu. Anchoring them all, however, are various acknowledged types of Brazilian music—with concomitant rhythmic and melodic sumptuousness.

There are various highlights all the way through. The percussively melodic collective vocals are quite appealing, conceptually as well as in their execution. The percussion work on all the performances, as well as their coloring, is simply superb. Robert Curto's accordion work is worth salivating over, particularly on "Anarriê and on the rockish impetus of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song, where Viva Deconcini brandishes her vocal nastiness. The latter also enhances the production with her guitar, as illustrated on either "Movie Screen or "Olivia-Step on the Roach, as there is no correlation between these two songs in this position in the liner notes, the album cover, or the recording's listing. Either way, the horn trio shines in whichever composition actually occupies the fifth space on the CD.

Among the salient places of interest are the sax and organ-laden chunky jazz section of "Forró for All, featuring Peter Apfelbaum, who also eats up the delicious reggae section of "Rio de Jamaica. Marc Feldman's dazzling violin playing in "Maria Teresa is of particular note. Oodles of passionate feeling are present throughout the various poignant sections of the composition, even including a brief interlude of Japanese poetry. The coda appropriately collapses into the violin itself.

Track Listing: Anarri

Personnel: Robert Curto: accordion (1-3,11); Nilson Matta: acoustic bass (10); Scott Ketner: alfaia (8,11), flexa (8), pandeiro (12,13), vocal (12), surdo (14); Cyro Baptista: cyrimba (1,5), vocals (1-4,6,8,9,11,12,14), triangle (1-3,13), cowbell (1,9), woodblock (1), shakers (1), sheker

Title: Beat the Donkey Beat | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Out of My Mind Music

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