Review | Songlines

Orla

Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details

Artist/band:

Caravela

Label:

None More Records

April/2021

London-based Afro-Brazilian sextet Caravela won plaudits for their eponymous 2017 EP, which showcased an often soothing, sometimes gritty blend of traditional Lusophone styles and contemporary urban feels. Orla makes good of this early promise, maximising on stints spent living in Bahia, north-east Brazil, with seven Portuguese-language tracks buoyed by the songwriting partnership of singer Inês Loubet and guitarist/percussionist Telmo Sousa.

Influences from Cape Verdean batuque to percussive Brazilian rhythms including samba de roda and spiritually infused ijexá – as implemented in Candomblé ceremonies – vibe with the genre-leaping electro-verve of the new school London jazz scene. Lead single ‘A Macieira’ is a tightly coiled, vocally lush musing on innocence and experience marked by syncopated drums, funky guitar and Loubet's melismatic voice. ‘Um e Meio’ is a hefty tribute to Bahian singer/poet and cultural historian Juraci Tavares, and a composition made exceptional by the piano work of Joseph Costi and powerful spoken word poetry of cult Bristolian singer/rapper/activist Dizraeli. Environmental awareness is at a premium on the slow-building ‘Pexi Secu’, a track intended to highlight the negative effects of oil pollution on the ocean shared by Brazil and Cape Verde. The fabulously psychedelic ‘Vale do Capão’ celebrates communion with nature. An extraordinarily accomplished debut, then, by a band with something to say.

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