Words by Russ Slater
Seu Jorge’s latest finds the Brazilian singer back doing what he does best. His previous record, a selection of rock-leaning covers recorded with Almaz had some interesting moments but, like Paul McCartney doing opera, was a touch indulgent. Músicas Para Churrasco Vol 1 is an album of samba funk, focusing on the groove and feeling good.
Sunshine-soaked vibes exude from the title – translating as ‘Music for Barbecues’ – through the lyrics, which focus on the pleasures of the opposite sex, and onto the lush production. With Seu Jorge’s distinctive baritone being the focal-point, and the sound of the cavaquinho never far away, it’s the arrangements that make these songs stand out. The addition of a brass section is a touch of class, bringing the subtle seduction of Gamble & Huff’s Philly soul to songs such as ‘Dois Beijinhos’; the electronic synths that cut through opener ‘A Doida’ are less subtle but undeniably fun; while the use of big singalong codas just adds to the party atmosphere. All of these qualities come to the fore on ‘Japonesa’, a tale of falling in love with a Japanese girl that ends with a chorus of voices shouting the unlikely refrain of ‘Yakisoba’, the name of a Japanese noodle dish hugely popular in Brazil.
As summer approaches, it’s hard to think of an album that could better accompany the English barbecue; Músicas Para Churrasco Vol 1 does exactly what it says on the tin.