Hello Sailor have enlisted to Selvagem main man Augusto Olivani (AKA Trepanado) to curate a selection of the sounds that shaped his early musical development – a showcase of a lesser known musics from the Brazilian world. Yes, this is a Brazilian Street Soul compilation…. you what mate?!
Somehow this seems to have arrived on our streets before anyone has managed to get together a similar selection of its UK varietal. Given the nebulous nature of the genre, it’s unclear how much of a scene there actually was in Brazil. It would seem, from the the sleeve notes, that this is taken from a broader gamut of genres – smooth pop, romantic hip-hop and even a kind of indigenous 90s RnB are all touched on.
Whereas UK street soul artists mostly seemed to release a white label or two before returning to their daily lives, some of the names collected here had significant careers in Brazil. As such there is more of a high polish to these songs. Far from being a hindrance, this adds a different, less realist and kind of dreamy sun-kissed flavour to proceedings. So whilst we have a somewhat familiar palette of drum loops and samples, this has less of the heavy British bass and lower sample rates and is a good deal poppier and, dare I say, balearic than its UK cousin.
This too is a very personal collection of songs but their populist and likeable nature makes it super easy for the listener to share in a collective, pleasant nostalgia. This is pretty romantic stuff as mentioned in Augusto’s evocative liner notes, “Back in the 80s and into the 90s, it was very common at parties to have a slow dance moment in between the more uptempo sections. A timeout from all the frantic dancing, when people could cool off and flirt in a more romantic way”.
Highlights for me are Afrodite se Quizer’s ‘Fora de mim’, where smooth flutes gently groove along in a catchy summertime jam. Fernanda Abreu’s ‘Hello Baby’ has distinct shades of Sade, a gently burbling acid baseline, and hum-a-long English language vocal chorus. Luna e DJ Cri’s ‘Acabou como Comecou’ vibes a little like BBG’ ‘Snappiness’, the Soul II Soul beats being more Cafe Del Mar than Manchester. As Damas do Rap’s ‘Um Sonho Real’ features charmingly of its time rapping and a naggingly familiar reprise.
There’s a couple of ballads at the end that might be more meaningful for those that have grown up with them and come with a slight aroma of fromage. Not that is necessarily a bad thing… Taken as a whole though, this collection is very very hard not to love. Summertime selection right here! 12.5/10. Very highly recommended.
‘Street Soul Brasil’ is out late June on Hello Sailor recordings