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Ravi: The Afro-Brazilian Project: Travels With the African Kora in Brazil *

Track List

>21-String Samba
>Koraçao Brasileiro
>Driving to Búzios
>Bird of Paradise
>Amazon Journey, Pt. 1
>Amazon Journey, Pt. 2 - (featuring Marlui Miranda)
>Amazon Journey, Pt. 3
>Amazon Journey, Pt. 4 - (featuring Marlui Miranda)
>Paranaguá (Reprise)

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

British kora player, Ravi, spent six months recording these tracks with Brazilian musicians in Rio de Janeiro. The musicians explore the styles, tone colours, and rhythms of this energetic culture with kora, guitar, and voice. Several special guests are featured on the album, including legendary clarinetist Paulo Moura, leading percussionists Armando Marcal and Robertinho Silva, and vocalist Marlui Miranda, who brings the Amazon to the songs with sounds of Brazilian native culture.

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Ravi (vocals, various instruments); Marlui Miranda (vocals, flute, percussion); Sameera (vocals); Eric Roche (guitar); Paulo Moura (clarinet); Guta Menezes (harmonica); Ezio Filho (bass, programming); Alex Rocha (bass); Roberto Marques, Robertinho Silva (drums, percussion).

Recorded between December 2002 & May 2003. Includes liner notes by Ravi.

Personnel: Marlui Miranda (flute); Paulo Moura (clarinet); Ravi (guitar, berimbau, kora, kaval, electric piano); Alex Rocha (double bass); Ezio Filho (electric bass, programming); Robertinho Silva, Roberto Marques (drums, percussion); Armando Marçal (congas, bongos, caxixi).

Audio Mixers: Martyn Phillips; Ravi.

Liner Note Authors: Diz Heller; Ravi.

Recording information: 45, Copacabana (12/2002-05/2003); EG, Bata FOgo (12/2002-05/2003); Rio De Janerio (12/2002-05/2003); Zaga, Ipanema (12/2002-05/2003).

Editor: Fabian Smith.

A nice album from ARC's resident über-cross-culturalist Ravi, The Afro-Brazilian Project is a mix of African and Brazilian influences, with the Brazilian side dominating the affair thoroughly and the African side taken up primarily by the use of the kora, Ravi's main instrument. The album starts out with "21-String Samba," a basic samba that incorporates the kora into the structure. Following quickly is a kora adaptation of the old "Coracao Brasileiro (Brazilian Heart)" and a romping number about a nearby beach resort based on some electric bass bounce -- a very modern Brazilian sound. "Paranagua" uses a pair of acoustic koras and an electric over the top of some fine percussion to evoke a train coming into station, and "Berimbao" gives Ravi an excuse to work out on the berimbau for a stretch. "Bird of Paradise" is a tropical-esque piece making good use of Guta Menezes, a young harmonica virtuoso who brings out a Stevie Wonder sound in the process of her accompaniment. "Moino" is a basic guitar-based track, which is followed by the rather grandiose "Amazon Journey" suite, featuring the kora along with some throat singing, Tibetan bowls, and the flute and vocals of Marlui Miranda, mixing the Brazilian and the decidedly non-Brazilian aspects of music together over a series of movements that explore the boundaries of a music culture and its context quite well. Ravi isn't necessarily playing his kora at the level of a Jali Musa Susso here, but then again, that's not the point of the album. The mixing of cultures is somewhat prominent here, especially in the "Amazon Journey" suite, but foremost there's a basic expression of sentiment for Brazil through the eyes of a foreigner taken into the culture through the music. ~ Adam Greenberg


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