“This is the only way to adequately reflect what is going on in Brazil at the moment”
– Mariana Da Cruz
Vibrant colors, mindboggling dancers, and a plethora of eccentricities exploding in a wondrous culture somewhere deep in the midst of the world’s most daunting jungle is how most people outside of one of South America’s most prominent countries see this exotic place. Upon closer examination, however, there is a darker side. A side consumed with economic inequality and political problems hidden from the mainstream world.
In one of the most bold, unexpected and beautifully orchestrated moves I have experienced when it comes to Latin influenced music Da Cruz brilliantly balances the light and the dark side of an emotion only someone from Brazil could exude. Mariana De Cruz’s ability to mix lovely vocals with the captivating styling of Ane Hebeisen, versatile guitar of Oliver Husmann and body-possessing rhythms of Pit Lee on Disco E Progresso is the second most incredible thing you’ll find in association with Brazil this year.
Splitting the record into two parts, “Bright Side” and “Dark Side,” it becomes glaringly apparent that all I thought I knew about Bossanova, Samba, Tropical New Wave and/or Urban Brazilian Disco was wrong; entirely wrong. It is as enthralling as it vivacious, but you’d be seriously challenged to simply stand still; this record will possess your hips and get you moving instantly. From the first stunning moment I hit play to about the third straight listen, I could not stop moving and grooving to this record.
Though the bright versus dark is subtle in change, there is a noticeable difference; which is not directed at their quality. Throughout the record repetition lends itself to the purpose of this being a genuine dance record and does not detract in the slightest. From the consuming “Bola da Discoteca” to traditional feel of “Boa” or even to “Menino mau” where it is like Garbage singing in another language, Da Cruz crafts a world that I cannot help but fall in love with. These seasoned musicians are masters of their trade and we get to reap all the benefits.
Balancing the worldly view of Da Cruz’s native land with a very real perspective, split down the middle, was a bold undertaking that posed a few possible risks. Specifically, it could have forced us to pick sides between “Bright”and “Dark.” But in the end the poise demonstrated throughout left me in awe, torn between a dozen favorite tracks, and thinking that The World Cup better be spectacular, or this is going to be the Brazil of 2014 I remember.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He is an avid soccer fan and is looking forward to The World Cup. Between soccer and music, he is torn.