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CD Review: Sonantes

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Artist: Sonantes
Album: Sonantes
Label: Six Degrees Records
Release Date: May 20th, 2008

Listen to "Quilombo te Espera":

Sonantes is a musical collaborative from Sao Paulo - the result of which is greater than the sum of its parts. The parts in this case are: CéU, members of Brazilian groups Nação Zumbi and Instituto, as well as guest stars including Siba, Lucio Maia, Beto Villares, and Apollo 9. Last year LAist reviewed CéU's excellent and beautiful self-titled release and were fortunate enough to interview her before one of her shows in LA.

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The goal for this recording was to create a collection of songs for imaginary films and the artists succeed in creating a wildly diverse and compelling set that ranges from traditional sambas to melanges of rock guitar, techno, and layers and layers of ethnic rhythms. The album starts out with an engaging and subtle sound (yeah, you definitely know that this music is from Brazil) and then things start to get weird with "Miopia" which ends with a waltzy ska and a guitar sound that sounds lifted from Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones, then on to "Toque de Coito" which has ghostly vocals that sound almost Japanese.

My favorite track on the album is "Mambobit" which is a beautiful samba, without lyrics but including glorious poppy "ba-ba-ba" choruses (I'm convinced we'll be hearing snippets of this in some commercial sometime this year). The album turns a bit darker and dramatic for several songs, but always different (listen to "Quilombo Te Espera" above for an example of funky guitars overlaying subdued percussion, CéU's beautiful voice, and traditional instrumentation). The album ends with the uplifting "Frevo de Saudade", with blasts of horns and a snappy melody, perhaps reminding us that Sao Paulo is a party town indeed, and, perhaps the setting for the imaginary film that Sonantes was thinking about.