Clarice Assad


Perceptions of Brazilian music may have been shaped by international stars like Sergio Mendes and Gilberto Gil, but in a young country — 40 percent of the population is under the age of 24 — scenes spring up fast. Today Brazilian popular music is dominated by baile funk, the celebration of gangster culture that exploded out of the favelas a decade ago, samba rap, and funhouse-mirror takes on MPB (“Música Popular Brasileira”), where bossa nova and baião music is spliced with rock and arty beats.
The girl from Ipanema has been replaced by socially-conscious wordsmiths like Emicida, and artists such as anarchic funk group Metá Metá are reinventing Brazil’s glorious musical history with a harsh electronic edge. The new sound of Brazil is often fueled by anger — which spilled out in the protests against the excess of the World Cup preparations — and captured by labels like Mais Um Discos and Biscoito Fino, whose releases feel like snapshots from the frontline of a society in flux.
To celebrate the World Cup, Chris Nickson spotlights albums that are shaping Brazil’s musical revolution, from 10 of the hottest artists south of the equator.
Clarice Assad
2014 | Adventure Music / The Orchard
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Latin Grammy nominee Assad belongs to a celebrated Brazilian musical dynasty, but her music is far from safe or predictable. Her fourth album has been acclaimed as the most startling Brazilian jazz album in years, nodding to the music of Japan in tracks like "Fantasia," and even incorporating rap on opener "De Perna Pro Ar." Assad is an impassioned scat singer, but "A Morte da Flor" features an aria from the American soprano Melody Moore, while the music mixes piano with screams of dissonant violin. Wildly ambitious, it tears up the old definitions of jazz and replaces them with something thrillingly new.

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