Bicho

In addition to Jorge Ben’s Africa Brasil, I’ve been really enjoying Caetano Veloso’s 1977 album Bicho.  The story goes that Veloso — a Brazilian star associated with the Tropicalia movement that dominated Brazilian pop at the end of the 60s — was invited to play at a festival in Nigeria, and was so excited by the Afrobeat and funk he heard there that he abandoned whatever projects he was working on at the time to record an album that incorporated and responded to those sounds. The result is a tight, melodic record, with some of the best hooks Veloso ever wrote and supremely funk moments. It’s a more relaxed and leisurely affair than Africa Brasil, which tends towards the driving and jubilant side of things. The bass player on Bicho (someone by the name of Moacyr Albuquerque, according to the liner notes) provides the strongest foil for Veloso. The bass line on “Olha O Menino” (a song Allmusic claims was actually written by Jorge Ben), is a standout.  It switches speeds, changes directions, and the whole song follows its wonderful whims. A nice video clip below:

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