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marciolocal.jpgMarcio Local
Says Don Day Don Dree Don Don: Adventures in Samba Soul
Luaka Bop
8/10

Is it just samba or is it world music? Brazilian artist Marcio Local makes it a little bit of both with his record entitled Says Don Day Don Dree Don Don. He also acknowledges Rio predecessor Jorge Ben by working with producer Armando Pittigliani, who happened to work with Ben in the early stages of his career in the 1960s. In the end, Local gives listeners a fusion of the lively sounds of samba and bossa nova with the mellow vibe of R&B. The Luaka Bop artist finds a delicate balance between the two groups and it is a testament to the talented musicians of the world music genre.

Foreign language albums have a tendency to lose personal connection with an outside audience, but the man from Santa Teresa manages to break that cultural barrier with the sensual sounds of samba and with a passionate voice that caresses the hips of it. The universal appeal transcends borders and since Local taps into an energetic vibe that people can dance to, it is even more of a uniting force to be reckoned with.

It is not only about the feeling Local captures with the music, it also about the subject matter. For instance, “Preta Luxo” (Black Lady Luxury) speaks of elegant black women but far beyond it, Local uses the topic as a jumping off point to showcase the Afro-Brazilian dance music influence in this album. Listen to the heavy percussion in “Preta Luxo” because it even has a hip-hop flavor to it with the rhythm that it carries as well as the projection in Local’s voice.

The local favorite, “Happy Endings,” takes queue from a soul samba sound called Pilantragen. Besides the horn section, this Brazilian sound touches on risqué double entendre and flirtatious boasting, according to Local’s official MySpace page. Even without the liner notes, Local accomplishes just that with sensual melodies that can romance the pants off unsuspecting listeners. In other words, call it the world music version of baby-making music.

For some reason, Local is like the Brazilian Ricky Martin because they share that same charisma- except Local has more of an edge and street cred then the pop star. Local is a product of the environment he grew up in, which is nothing short of an upbringing overwhelmed by a thriving music scene. The Rio native was born in Realengo, a working class neighborhood that was also home to a samba school called Padre Miguel. It was recognized for its inventive bateria, the enormous drum corps that parade behind the floats during Carnival. The man couldn’t escape this infectious percussion and based on this album, he does not try to break free from it but rather embrace this one-of-a-kind sound.

Local brings in the funk when he wants to and he pulls it off in a way that only adds to the colorful spectrum of instruments that decorate this record. For example, the Congo drums are ridiculous in the track, “Quem Pode, Pode”. Also, his funky vocals on “Represento” border just a tad on a reggae style.

The man knows how to slow it down and mellow out, like in the song “Resgate”. It is the artist’s soulful quality that really brings out an inventive side that shies away from the comfortable arms of the type of party music that lacks substance. Actually, there is a real attempt to engage the audience with this softer, more thoughtful side.

Another interesting tidbit is the fact that Local experiments with sound itself and he plays around with the musical arrangement in a very unconventional way. According to his MySpace page, the track “Swingue Dominou” (Swing Took Over) utilizes a heavily reverbed slide guitar played with the side of a screwdriver. It is these unique touches to the music that really captivates and flexes those creative muscles.

All in all, Local demonstrates superb knowledge about who he is as an artist and as a person. He is able to translate the Brazilian music that shaped his life into something he can physically embrace in the form of this project but most importantly, feel especially proud of what he has done with it.

–Gail Navarro