Various Artists – Luaka Bop, Beleza Tropical Brazil Classics 1

Brian Cullman

By Brian Cullman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
David Byrne’s musical love letter to Brazil.

Beleza Tropical was Luaka Bop's first release, a collection of prime 70's-era Brazilian tracks. Originally compiled by Byrne as a cassette for his friends, the album is surprising for what it isn't. At the time, Byrne was the hippest guy in the room, known for taking what seemed a detached, ironic stance and looking at life sideways. Beleza Tropical was neither ironic, detached nor particularly strange, just a genuine love letter to a culture Byrne had nothing but affection for. And it wasn't put together for hipsters or know-it-alls, but unashamedly presented some of the best known and best-loved tracks by some of Brazil's best artists: “Terra” by Caetano Veloso, “Anima” from Milton Nascimento, “Umbabarauma” from Jorge Ben, “Caixa de Sol” from the less celebrated Navare Pereira. Nearly twenty years on, it's still the best collection of 70's Brazilian songs you're likely to find.