Sep 15 2002

Cidade Negra: Acústico MTV

Only Hits


Acústico MTVBaixada Fluminense is the birthplace of this samba-reggae band. Reggae was the main music you heard in this rather aggressive neighborhood. Cidade Negra was one of the many bands exploring that music. Their lyrics didn’t lie about life in the baixada, something that wasn’t always appreciated by radio stations and record labels. The group adjusted a little to that and got a record deal with Sony. Their records were a huge success, even more after lead vocalist Ras Bernardo was replaced by Toni Garrido. The group immediately sounded more polished, both in music and lyrics. Now they’re one of the main bands in Brazil with their mix of pop, reggae and soul. So this Acústico MTV seems like a logical consequence. Critics love referring to Cidade Negra as far too soft, nothing compared to the original reggae. Nevertheless the band’s appearance at the Sunsplash festival in Jamaica was a big success. Their danceable reggae with definite Brazilian accents is a joy to listen to. Toni Garrido’s charismatic stage appearance and voice may be the band’s main attraction; the other three musicians of the band aren’t too bad either. Bassist Bino Farias lays down the clear reggae groove; no escape possible! Drummer Lazão is a master in mixing the musical styles the band uses, in a playful but nevertheless very tight rhythm. Guitarist Da Gama holds it all together with his no-nonsense reggae approach.

This acoustic album features the band’s main successes. They’re almost all there, played in the MTV Acústico house-style. Arrangements are close to the original thing; no risks were taken. In that way this album doesn’t add much, other than having a good time listening to it. And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Guest musicians are the same the band tours with: Alex Meirelles on the piano and organ. Eduardo Lyra on percussion and the wonderful Sérgio Yazbek on the acoustic guitars. He’s a thankful addition to the music of Cidade Negra; great guitarist. His playing lifts the listen-quality of the song, being inventive and funky. The CD opens with “Girassol,” proving the band wanted to capture its fans right away. Herbert Vianna’s “Soldado da Paz” is performed with respect to the unfortunate Paralamas guitarist/vocalist. Like a tribute. “Firmamento” puts you right on track again in a pleasant way; complete with friendly sounding backing vocalists. Gilberto makes a guest appearance on his own “Extra.” Like an interlude to the Bob Marley tribute he’s touring with now. Gilberto Gil seems to feel comfortable singing with this well organized reggae band. “O Erê” is maybe the bands biggest hit and played here as fresh as a brand new composition. It’s clear the band enjoyed the evening at Rio. Two highlights are “A Estrada” and the following “Berlim.” Wonderful backing vocals on this catchy song. On “Berlim” the guitar gives the song a nasty undertone, while Toni Garrido dances his voice through the composition. “Pensamento” is another big hit of the band, and listening to this rendition, it isn’t hard to tell why. A very simple and playful reggae, very easy to enjoy. “Mensagem” is another one of those. The horn section (Jessé Sadoc (trumpet), Marcelo Martins (saxes) and Aldivas Ayres (trombone) have fun laying down the accents. The dance hit “A Cor do Sol” ends the CD. A wonderful compilation of the band’s main hits, sounding even friendlier thanks to the main use of acoustic instruments. The Hammond organ is not real an acoustic instrument, but I’m glad it’s here, donating its power to the music.



Cidade Negra
Acústico MTV
EPIC Sony 2-502692 (2002)
Time: 65’41”


  1. Girassol (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Pedro Luís – Toni Garrido)
  2. A Sombra da Maldade (Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  3. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry – Vrs. Toni Garrido, Lazão, Da Gama, Bino Farias, Paul Ralphes)
  4. Soldado da Paz (Herbert Vianna)
  5. Firmamento (W. Foster – H. Lawes – Vrs. Cidade Negra)
  6. Extra (Gilberto Gil)
  7. O Erê (Bino Farias – Bernardo Vilhena – Lazão – Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  8. Podes Crer (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  9. A Estrada (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  10. Berlim (Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  11. Já Foi (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  12. Onde Você Mora? (Marisa Monte – Nando Reis)
  13. Pensamento (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Ras Bernardo)
  14. Conciliação (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Ras Bernardo)
  15. Realidade Virtual (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Toni Garrido)
  16. Mensagem (Bino Farias – Lazão – Da Gama – Ras Bernardo)
  17. A Cor do Sol (Bernardo Vilhena – Lazão – Da Gama)