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Carlos Barbosa-Lima: Merengue

Jerry D'Souza By

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Guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima has been enchanting listeners for over 50 years. During that time he has made his mark in live performances, as well as the 50 albums he has released. His sense of rhythm and melody, time and pulse, and his ability to enhance the mood through dynamics and harmony give his music an incipient beauty.

The music of South America speaks several native languages. Barbosa-Lima, a luminous interpreter of the norms, lets that shine through in solo as well as group outings.

Karin Schaupp and Christopher McGuire join him on "Invocation to Xango," arranged by Laurindo Almeida. The music of the guitar trio is enlivened by the seamless interjection of notes and chords set up with an uncluttered crispness.

Harmonicist Hendrik Meurkens duets with Barbosa-Lima on the plaintive "Batuque." The tune, influenced by the ritual dances of Brazil's northeast, evokes dark shades, with Meurkens' lead voice immersed in the pathos of the composition as the guitar counterpoints with open-ended harmonies. The two are joined by Gustavo Colina (cuatro) on the lithe "Seis Por Derecho," another dance tune. The melody is instant and the entwining voices of the guitar and cuatro make an irresistible force.

Barbosa-Lima plays several tunes unaccompanied, and it is here that he shows his mastery of the guitar. He has a lyrical quality that is manifested in his clean notes and restrained approach. "Prelude No. 2" is a fine blend of notes and chords that are shaped gently by shifts in tempo and emphasis. "Cancion Carorena" is bathed in rich lyrical qualities, the enunciation of the melody elevating the impact. The closing track, "Fantasy on a Hawaiian Lullaby," is built on subtle changes; the mood shimmering in constant beauty.

Barbosa-Lima has enriched the tradition of the guitar over the years, and once again stamps his class all over Merengue.

Track Listing: Invocation to Xango; Merengue; Valeiro; Modinha; Batuque; Camino De Pedra; El Marabino; Seis Por Derecho; Prelude No. 2; Seis Milonga; Danza Del Altiplano; Guajira Criolla; Cajita de Musica; Canhoto; Implicante; Cancion Carorena; Pais de Abanico; Nunca Te Olvido; Escorregando; Fantasy on a Hawaiian Lullaby.

Personnel: Carlos Barbosa-Lima: guitar; Gustavo Collina: cuatro (2, 7, 8); Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica (4, 8); Marcillo Lopes: mandolin (14, 15); Duduka de Fonseca: percussion (1, 14, 15, 19); George Anderson: bass (1); Karin Schaupp: guitar (1); Christopher McGuire: guitar (1).

Title: Merengue | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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