Psychedelic Rio

SSC1725 2024-03-22

Track List

Rio Negro - 3:31
É Preciso Perdoar - 4:20
Uirapuru - 3:35
Berlin - 5:14
Humanos - 2:52
Insensatez - 4:09
Nossa Estrada - 5:16
Verde Mata - 2:45


Vinicius Cantuaria - guitar, vocals
Paolo Andriolo - bass
Roberto Rossi - drums, percussion, vocals
Rafael Meninao - accordion
Gianluca Ballarin - keyboards

There seems to be a patented Brazilian musical sound, whether it be the cool strains of bossa nova or the rhythmic pull of samba. Vinicius Cantuaria is a master of Brazilian music in its many forms, but on his new recording, Psychedelic Rio, he decided to turn the music on its head. Recruiting the Italian duo of Paolo Andriolo and Roberto Rossi to form a power trio, Cantuaria and the music demand to be played loud!

Cantuaria is well known to fans of Brazilian song. He began his musical sojourn with the Brazilian rock group O Têrço and continued making waves through popular the MPB, collaborating with the legendary Caetano Veloso, and cementing his credibility by expertly performing and recording the music of Carlos Antonio Jobim.

The past few decades have found Cantuaria branching even farther afield for collaborations. A few years ago, Cantuaria was approached by bassist Paolo Andriolo at a concert in Rio de Janeiro. A fantastic bassist and Brazilian music lover, Andriolo wanted to see if Cantuaria would be interesting in working together. The two met during the following week and began jamming at Cantuaria’s home.

Andriolo then introduced Cantuaria to his friend and collaborator, drummer Roberto Rossi. Within in three weeks, the trio had found a musical bond and began to visit Jupiter Studios to jam and record the bulk of the material on this album.

The music they created is set apart by the musicians’ approach and instrumentation. Rather than play the customary acoustic guitar, Cantuaria chose to play his electric Fender guitar over the Italian duo’s electric bass and drums. There was also a concerted effort to let the guitar’s reverb and distortion distort the harmonic complexities of the songs they performed, leaving a more raw and open sound.

The recording begins with an amplified version of Cantuaria and Caetano Veloso’s “Rio Negro,” which is propelled by Rossi’s insistent percussion and Cantuaria’s ambient-tinged guitar. The trio’s take on Alcyvando Luz and Carlos Coqueijo’s classic “É Preciso Perdoar” requires strict rhythm from the bass and drums as Cantuaria experiments with the harmony, allowing the aquiline reverb of his guitar create a unique atmosphere. Cantuaria wrote “Uirapuru” with the legendary percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, the title referring to a rarely seen bird native to the Amazon. The song is a lament on the rareness of witnessing the magic of the bird, though its song is commonly heard.

Cantuaria’s laconic ballad “Berlin” is a tribute to the city and its ghosts, as Cantuaria considers the turmoil the city has been through from war to occupation and the angels that seem to float in its silent night air. Cantuaria’s “Humanos” continues with a preoccupation on angels and how that however much people would like to be angels, they are only human. The musicians revisit a classic with Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes legendary “Insensatez,” which seems to float on the electric haze of guitar and guest Gianluca Ballarin’s keyboards.

The leader’s “Nossa Estrada” is a galloping rumination on the ups and downs in a relationship, using movie making as a metaphor, Cantuaria compares the switching of roles between actor and director in the relationship and celebrates the triumph of realness over fantasy. Andriolo and Rossi’s “Verde Mata” is a celebration of Rio and the beauty of the landscape, the people, and experiences therein.

On his new recording, Psychedelic Rio, Vinicius Cantuaria tries to give another vision of Brazilian music, one of intensity and power that will attract audiences that are looking for new sounds beyond those that have been connected heretofore to the Brazilian musical world.