Silvério Pessoa, Cabeça elétrica coração acústico

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Pernambuco’s resident scholar puts a contemporary spin on old styles.

This former singer for the roots-rock band Cascabulho has become a genuine scholar of music from Pernambuco, working diligently to preserve older styles and forgotten artists, but also by putting meaningful, contemporary spins on styles like forro and frevo, among others. I can't think of another fresh and probing record that prominently features a triangle. Untangling the dense weave of rhythms is a pleasure, but Pessoa's inventive arrangements — mixing the traditional accordion with horn charts and impressively nimble, complex electric bass lines — give the listener lots of stuff to grab on to. As with all of his work, Pessoa prominently features his musical forebears — in this case the father of Pernambuco rock Alceu Valenca and veteran accordionist Dominguinhos — as well as current star Lenine, but he's got loads of personality on his own. Forro has been called the zydeco of Pernambuco, but this rich olio twists and turns in countless directions.