May 15 2008

Cidade Negra: Diversão

Fizzling Out


Cidade Negra: Ao VivoThe guys from Cidade Negra take it easy on their latest and maybe last album. It’s a concert registration of the show they did with music that dominated their youth. Older Brazilian pop songs are dusted off and performed in a relaxed way. A friendly reggae dressing gives the repertoire a typical Cidade Negra sound.

As always, that sound clearly benefits from the participating guest musicians. Long time regular guest-guitarist Sérgio Yazbek spices up the often predictable arrangements. His rock and funk influences give a different twist to the music, while his soloing is always refreshing. On his various keyboards Alex Meirelles also knows how to keep the sound interesting. For this tour the band also hired two back-up vocalists to assist lead singer Toni Garrido. Sérgio YazbekKacau Gomes and Ana Luísa complement each other in a nice way. Kacau Gomes, also known from her work with Marisa Monte and jazz rarity Uri Caine, does a perfect job singing the second voice on “Primavera nos Dentes,” smoothly backed up by an unselfish Ana Luísa. Their presence on Belchior’s 1974 hit “A Palo Seco” is also more than pleasant. A touch of soul is added by the two horn players, Marlon Sette (trombone) and Altair Martin (trumpet).

Unfortunately the approach Cidade Negra chose on this album doesn’t always work. Some of the songs have such a strong history that the reggae rendition of the band sounds hopelessly superfluous (“Inútil,” “Me Liga,” “Errare Humanun Est”). But there are enough nice moments to consider this as an amusing album. Cidade Negra is a fan of Pepeu Gomes and that results in entertaining renditions of two of his hits: “Meu Coração,” which Gomes wrote with Gilberto Gil and “O Mal é o Que Sai Pela Boca do Homem.” Kacau GomesVery surprising is how well “Minha História” sounds, the classic written by Pallottino, Lucio Dalla that was adopted by Chico Buarque in 1971.

The cd’s opener “Muito Romântico” by Caetano Veloso also sounds good with strong horn arrangements and the aggressive guitar solo by Sérgio Yazbek. It’s the aggressiveness that’s missing throughout the rest of the album. That’s the major problem on Diversão; it’s all a bit too clean and too gentle, not the way Cidade Negra should be remembered.

Vocalist Toni Garrido announced he was leaving the band for a new career with his other band Flecha Black, which also houses guitarist Sérgio Yazbek.

Of course there’s also a DVD version of this CD. It offers 3 extra tracks but the CD will do just fine. The images on the DVD aren’t that great. It shows that the quartet desperately tries to look cool with silly looking dance steps. Let’s just enjoy their easy listening music.



Cidade Negra
EMI 507286 2 (2007)
Time: 60’49”


  1. Muito Romântico (Caetano Veloso)
  2. Tudo Azul (Nelson Motta – Lulu Santos)
  3. Lua e Eu (Cassiano – Paulo Zdanowski)
  4. Monte Castelo (Renato Russo)
  5. Primavera nos Dentes (João Ricardo – João Apolinário)
  6. Me Liga (Herbert Vianna)
  7. Inútil (Roger)
  8. Meu Coração (Pepeu Gomes – Gilberto Gil)
  9. Clube da Esquina 2 (Milton Nascimento – Lô Borges – Márcio Borges)
  10. Minha História (Dalla – Pallottino)
  11. Eu Amo Você (Cassiano – Sílvio Rochael)
  12. A Palo Seco (Belchior)
  13. Errare Humanun Est (Jorge Ben)
  14. O Mal É o Que Sai da Boca do Homem (Pepeu Gomes – Baby Consuelo – Galvão)
  15. O Tempo Não Pára (Cazuza – Arnaldo Brandão)