Jovino Santos Neto — Alma do Nordeste (2008)

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Brazilian-born, Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Jovino Santos Neto is an artist I’m just getting familiar with, but his brand new CD Alma do Nordeste ( has sure gotten my curiosity. The title means “soul of the Northeast” in Portugese, and the “northeast” being referred to here is the northeast region of Brazil.

Neto returned to his native country and created this collection of music that celebrates and introduces to the rest of the world the jubilant music of that area.

What you will find from listening to Alma do Nordeste is that there is a lot of accordion in this music and the percussion is often more complex than the stereotypical Brazilian music but still very danceable. Every tune has its own distinct character, which only goes to show how rich and varied the music is out of just a portion of this South American country.

Neto adds his own contemporary touches in the right places to bring the genre into the twenty-first century, and wrote all the songs with the traditions of the nordeste in mind. He brings considerable expertise to bear on this project, having worked under such names as Hermeto Pascoal, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Sergio Mendes. Neto supplied piano, melodica, fifes and flute to the sessions, and is joined by eleven other Brazilian musicians.

So, you see? Good Brazilian music didn’t begin with Antonio Carlos Jobim. With talents like Jovino Santos Neto around, it certainly doesn’t end with him, either.

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