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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Africa Brasil

Jorge Ben Jor

1976

Africa Brasil
Album Summary

África Brasil is a 1976 release by Brazilian artist Jorge Ben, recording at the time as Jorge Ben. It was Ben's 14th studio album. África Brasil represented a milestone in Ben's career with Ben's switch to electric guitar and incorporation of both Afro-Brazilian and African-American funk music styles into his sound. Known for its funkiness, África Brasil is one of Ben's best-known recordings. Rolling Stone Brazil listed it as one of the 100 best Brazilian albums in history, and it was included in both Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die as well as Tom Moon's collection 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.38

Votes

8078
Genres
Samba
Funk

Reviews

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

“Africa Brasil” by Jorge Ben Jor (1976) Never heard this album nor this artist. But wow, welcome to my ignorance. The basic thrust of this album is the integration of western American and European) musical motifs into Brazilian urban samba. From the opening bars of "Ponta de Lança Africano (Umbabarauma)", the listener might expect an American country rock ballad with instrumentation and chord structure like Creedence Clearwater Revival. But eight bars in, Brazil steps up with lead and background vocals. Track two is funk Hermetica. Sounds like a Sly and the Family Stone take on 2nd century B.C. Egyptian mysticism. Apparently Jorge Ben Jor had earlier devoted an entire album on this theme (“A Tábua de Esmeralda” (1974)). Worth exploring if you’re into that sort of thing (as, obviously, I am). Listen to the first few bars of "O Filósofo" (1976) and the opening bars of “I’ll Take You There“ (1972) by The Staples Sisters and you’ll see what’s going on here. Personally, I think a little appropriation is cool. "Meus Filhos, Meu Tesouro" is a celebration of his three children (“My Children, My Treasure”). Great sound and sweet lyric. "O Plebeu" gives us a happy tragedy of the collision between poverty and affection, as the penniless poet joyfully resigns himself to the fact that his love for a rich girl must remain unrequited. Interesting take on a classic theme. ‘Xica da Silva” tells real-life story of a wealthy 18th century Brazilian woman welcomed in the royal court, but excluded from her parish church because she was a black former slave. According to Wikipedia, “Xica was banished from the parish church, which was reserved for Caucasians only. To show the locals Xica’s power, [the white nobleman] João Fernandes built a luxurious church attended just by herself.” The song celebrates this act of trans-racial loyalty, and thus becomes a protest against racial exclusivity among social elites. Powerful. Compare the happy autobiographical reflections of a child who was ‘different’ in Jorge Ben Jon’s "A História de Jorge" (1976) with the tragic autobiographical reflections of a child who was ‘different’ in Juanes’ "La Historia de Juan" (2002). Fascinating. However, the most powerful track on the album is the title track, "África Brasil (Zumbi)". We’re treated to angry, driving rhythms and chord structure, with suitable vocal tone. According to Joel Sattler, “Zumbi was the last leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares runaway slave refugee colony in Alagoas, Brazil that also harbored fugitives and deserters. Born a free man in 1655, captured and sold into slavery at the age of six, baptized by his missionary owner, he learned Portuguese and Latin and the Bible. Escaping at 15, he returned home and became a military leader and renowned warrior. When the local governor offered freedom to the colony, Zumbi distrusted the Portuguese and refused to accept the offer while other Africans remained enslaved. He took over leadership of the quilombo and ruled for 15 years until the Portuguese military destroyed the central settlement of Cerca do Macaco with an artillery assault. The colony fell, Zumbi went to ground and led a rebellion for two years, evading capture until betrayed by one of his followers. He was beheaded by the Paulistas, and his head taken to Recife and displayed as a warning to all other slaves. The date of his execution, November 20 1695, has become the equivalent of our Martin Luther King Day.... https://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewpoetry.asp?id=279469 Brazilian rock. This album teaches and connects. Very nice. 4/5 Bonus connection for those familiar with Juanes: Joga bola, jogador Joga bola, corocondô Joga bola, jogador Joga bola, corocondô (from "Ponta de Lança Africano” by Jorge Ben Jor (1976)) Yo te doy todo mi amor Luna de mi corazón Yo te doy todo mi amor Si tú me lo cuentas todo (from “Luna” by Juanes (2002))

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Tue Sep 07 2021
5

Three albums ago I wondered whether we'd get any Jorge Ben Jor...and here we are! Not his best work in my estimation, but still five stars because it's Jorge Ben in his pomp. A lovely mix of tropicalia and funk, plus he has one of my favourite voices in popular music. Nothing here quite touches the greatness of 'Mas Que Nada', 'Take It Easy My Brother Charles' or 'Pais Tropical', but this is a remarkably cohesive collection with some spiky guitar work and insistent, rolling rhythms. So, so good. Oh, and Rod Stewart ripped off 'Taj Mahal' but made it far worse.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

The 1001 Albums series often gets (warranted) flack for its lackluster selection of 'World Music' in it's catalog, but they certainly know to include the absolute essentials when push comes to shove. "África Brasil" is a masterclass in rhythm and performance, with secretive but long-lasting influence that can still be felt today. Even for any listeners wary of any language barrier with music, Jorge Ben Jor makes music that anybody can immediately understand and groove along with.

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Mon Oct 26 2020
5

I loved this album. Had no idea what the lyrics said, but who cares?

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

The cuíca is a type of friction drum where the pitch is changed by adjusting the tension on the head of the drum. It has a high pitched squeaky sound and is often compared to a laughing monkey. This instrument is ubiquitous in samba music and is featured heavily on this album. It's sound is unique and instantly recognizable, so keep an ear out for the cuíca player on here! Overall, a great assortment of songs, that instantly invoke the feeling of chilling out around Lapa, drowning in caipirinhas while having not a care in the world. 5 Taj Mahals out of 5 🕌🕌🕌🕌🕌

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Fri Sep 17 2021
3

Overwhelmingly reminded me of music from the Sims. But I did quite enjoy it. Very fun

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Mon Dec 13 2021
3

A fun week of albums continues! This is the first non-English album I have received on this list and comes from a genre I know absolutely nothing about; however, I enjoyed this one a lot for what it is and more than I initially thought I would. The production and instrumentals are great with many unique sounds coming together in a catchy, cohesive manner. It feels like a mix between traditional Brazilian/South American music and Rolling Stones-like blues rock with its prevalent bass and electric guitars standing out in the mix. Although I cannot speak to the lyrics, I found Jorge's vocals to be strong and elevate the energy of the tracks throughout the record. The main reason I cannot rate this higher is that I have no idea how this compares to the rest of his work or the overall style of his music. If there were specific songs that stood out as being amazing, I would be very impressed given my lack of knowledge of the genre, but the songs blend together in a way that makes it difficult to differentiate between tracks at some points. With that being said, I enjoyed this one more than a lot of albums I have received so far and would throw it on as background music again. 3/5.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

What a funky groove. These guitar riffs are great. The variety of each track is amazing, and the energy never dips.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Lovedddd new dinner party album

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Tue Mar 29 2022
3

Aujourd'hui était un jour particulier, puisque nous fêtions l'anniversaire du générateur. En effet, vous n'êtes pas sans savoir qu'il y a de cela tout juste un an, je débutais cette aventure générateurienne avant d'être très vite rejoint par mon envieux camarade d'écoute, le désormais très célèbre robpaupière. A cette occasion, nous avons mis les petits plats dans les grands, en décidant de signer un pacte de non aggression, afin de pouvoir célébrer cet événement comme il se doit. Le projet était le suivant: nous devions débuter la soirée d'anniversaire par quelques biscuits et boissons, afin de nous ammener vers le vrai climax de la soirée. En effet, à 23h55, nous avions prévu de nous cacher derrière les meubles du salon, car à minuit pile, Robert devait faire irruption dans la maison pour nous dévoiler notre album du jour, l'album cadeau d'anniversaire. La soirée débutait sur de très bonnes bases, rob et moi-même choisissant chacun notre tour une chanson à jouer sur l'enceinte disposée au milieu de la pièce, afin de respecter notre quota musical respectif. Aucun débordement ne fût à déplorer, si ce n'est une petite prise de bec sur la place de la trip-hop dans l'histoire de la musique, sans conséquence fort heureusement. Mais au fond de nous, ce que nous attendions réellement, c'était les douze coups de minuit, pour découvrir cet album anniversaire concocté par Robert. Il se murmurait d'ailleurs que l'album devrait être l'un des albums de Nirvana présent dans le générateur, que nous n'avons pour l'instant pas eu la chance d'écouter. Soudain, c'était l'heure. Je courrais me cacher derrière la bibliothèque du salon, pendant que rob peinait à dissimuler son imposant corps grassouillet derrière le canapé. La porte s'entrouvit doucement, et les premières notes de musiques retentirent, précédent un Robert vêtu de ses plus beaux habits. Et la, ce fut la stupéfaction. Les premières notes très latino crachées par Robert laissèrent bientôt place à la voix de Jorge Ben Jor, qui se mit à baragouiner dans un brésilien incompréhensible. Ce n'était absolument pas Nirvana à qui nous avions affaire. Notre déception se lisait sur notre visage, et les explications de Robert sur l'impact de Jorge Ben Jor sur la samba rock ne suffirent jamais à rattraper cet anniversaire gâché. Rob ne réussit d'ailleurs pas à retenir ses larmes, et partit s'enfermer dans sa chambre.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

bom mas não o melhor do ben jor

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Fantastic album! Amazing instrumentation, and amazing vocals. Can't give criticism to the lyricism because I dont speak portuguese but damn what an amazing album

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Amazing. One of the best discoveries from this list so far. Funky and danceable with African rhythms and melodies commingling with Latin rhythms and touches of soul. He’s a great, charismatic singer. His vocals on “Xica Da Silva” are awesome. Really catchy song. The music is crazy fun. It’s also complex at times. On “Cavaleiro Do Cavolo Imaculado,” there’s an interesting guitar part that comes in around 2:10. It feels detached from the melody and adds a cool layer of tension and contrast. Definitely an album where every track is strong but these ones particularly stood out to me: “Ponta De Lança Africano,” “Xica Da Silva,” “Cavaleiro Do Cavolo Imaculado,” “África Brasil (Zumbi)” (wow - this one really rocks)

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

I decided to check this one out, it staying here over the weekend certainly boosted its chances and from the first song I was very glad of this. No galician this time but I'll write out my thoughts as the album goes. I love the mix of blues and bossa that this album brings right from the start. The riffy guitars and the choir and call and repeat vocals are just so great. The percussion and groove as well as some other stylistic choices really sit in a great place for me Oh yeah the portuguese vocals obviously are a big thing for the bossa/samba feel lol I can't listen to this with headphones at the moment because I feel like I'm dying of sickness which makes me sad because what little I can hear of the bass guitar is really driving these tunes along Also I think there's an organ buried in there. There's a lot of influence from african funk I think. The way that the horns are playing is quite remeniscent of this more than what is so typical for exclusively bossa nova stuff It's very nice being able to understand a little of what's being sung too. Normally lyrics fly past me anyway so really I would say the input is not a super significant way off of the typical song in english or slower spanish Again, I can't listen to this with headphones, but wft this production quality is insane for 1976 right!? There are albums by, like, the beatles or some really influential jazz artists that sound way worse than this, I mean overall the style also feels way ahead of the curve although I'm not as good at dating other music... So apparently this is this dude's first album on electric guitar!? Damn he plays it so well. For something like afrobrazillian music I think conceptually we should strongly consider the 2 different instruments and although there are obviously elements of both styles, he's certainly not just playing bossa nova on an electric guitar I have fallen in love with this album it turns out, I was growing dissapointed in the selection that this website was putting forth recently especially because I have been able to find so many great albums otherwise, but am so glad I didn't skip this! I also love the vocalisms on this album, at the end of the songs or sort of over the other singing, it's really a great mesh of genres. Cowboy of the immaculate horse is a great name for a song that I'll steal one day I'm sure, I'm glad that the album picked up with this song because I was just about to think that the album was slowing down in the 2nd half, and then BOOM this amazingness!

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Mon Dec 07 2020
4

Insanely funky album. The arrangements, perhaps, are a bit samey. But the instrumentation is consistently interesting and I find Ben's voice magnetic. The energy oozes from every minute, though there are certainly peaks.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

I was really surprised by how much I liked this album. I also noticed the song Taj Mahal was very close to Da ya think I'm sexy by Rod Stewart. As it turns out Rod Stewart lost a copyright infringement lawsuit over the similarities.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

Great! But the problem with stuff you're not familiar with is you don't actually know if it's good or not! Is this the best Brasil record, or does it sound the same as the rest?!

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

So much funk here, a little bit of Sly, James Brown and Curtis Mayfield, but based around Samba? It works really well, with the interwoven percussion, guitar work, warm vocals and funky bass lines providing an extremely enjoyable record. I can hear a lot of influence on David Byrne here.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

Loved the breezy 70s laid-back jazz funk and beautiful Brazilian melodies and female backing singers. 1st track is very cool, pity there wasn't anything else solar in a slightly more edgy rock style.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

This got me dancing in the kitchen.

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Mon May 23 2022
4

Starts every song at full throttle, then makes them go harder, through a combination of surprise breaks, ecstatic vocals, the push-pull of formless scatting and ultra precise tightness, and introductions of new rhythms and melodies that are like intriguing subplots.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
2

yay, more Brazilian stuff. 2/5 this, we've had worse Brazilian music and this was a bit funkier and cooler than the previous. Still not of huge interest.

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Fri Apr 07 2023
2

I don't know - this one may have caught me on a bad day. I kinda liked the first few cuts, good music - and I almost always love that mid-70s creamy recorded sound - and it all fit. Then after ~track 3 or 4 it got boring or lazy or just not-interesting to me. A bit repetitive; sure it's a kind of dance music which that comes with the territory but gimme some variety. Feel like I should be fair and give this a 3 although I'm likely to forget it in an hour... so unfortunately downgrading. Just didn't connect with it. 5/10 2 stars.

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Sat May 29 2021
5

Its not as good as A Tábua de Esmeralda or Força Bruta, but still a damn good and classic Jorge Ben album. closer to a 4.5

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

Loved this album. Funky world music.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

Phenomenal. Multiple listens in store for this one.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

i liked it more than i thought i would, the music is fun and light. easy listening

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

Best find of this process so far, loved this from the moment i heard it.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

I love this but i don't know what he's saying. Absolutely fantastic album, i was jammin

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Awesome. Great music with lota of life and personality. Just what i needed.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

Wątpię, czy będę obsłuchiwać jak głupia, ale to było fajne

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Mon May 24 2021
5

extrem starke Album! Einige Klassiker dabei, u.a. Umbabarauma :)

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

Love this. Reminds me a bit of Fela. Great drummer.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

Groovy and a little bit gnarly. Yes I am IN TO this. Party funk rock! (I am also a sucker for a nice cuica)

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

This is great! But it had to be with a title like that.. First album i've downloaded so far.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

Really good, lively and well made. If you’re the best in brazil you know you have something going on

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Mon Nov 22 2021
5

In a vein next to Seu Jorge and ACJ. A very good vein

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Samba brasileña muy animada. Venga, le pongo un 5.

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Sat Jan 08 2022
5

This is the kind of thing I came here for. It wouldn't occur to me to seek this kind of music out and, even if I did, I wouldn't know where to start. And how else would I find out that Rod Stewart got sued for stealing the melody for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"? Lots of fun.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

365 DAYS!!!!! And couldn't have landed on a better album for it. SAMBA FUNK. So much fun. You could play O Plebeu on repeat and just strut around town for probably 12 hours straight with out even a drink of water or muslie bar. Plus the drum fills in that song are absolute perfection. Also so happy that my 365th featured the Cuica so heavily, it's fast becoming my new favourite instrument, look out ride cymbal. Anyway just so stoked with this whole process at the one year mark, have discovered so so many five star albums. Looking forward to the next two and a bit years.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
5

Álbum que representa o há de mais brasileiro na musica nacional.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

great album. could listen to this album over and over again.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

Even nowadays when you go to samba-funk bars in Brazil you might hear some songs from this album.

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Wed Mar 16 2022
5

Makes me wish I understood what he was singing about, but even that isn't necessary to enjoy the funk.

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Sun Mar 20 2022
5

Relentlessly fun interesting album that sounds timeless - there is no fat here - every note and rhythm has its place and even after repeated listens it never gets boring.

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Sun Apr 17 2022
5

Fun and refreshing. Lots of cool instruments making cool sounds. Reminds me how much fun this kind of music. Definitely will check this out again.

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Tue May 03 2022
5

Theres a lot of bangers on here

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Wed May 04 2022
5

I really loved this. Great voice, funky, groovy. An easy 5/5 for me. Added to my library immediately!

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Wed May 18 2022
5

besto disco. Ponta, historia do Jorge,meus filhos 10/10

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Wed May 25 2022
5

This album is an excellent example of how adventurous Brazilian musicians are and how open they are to fusing musical styles. This is a real treat.

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

2º melhor álbum do Jorge Ben. Uma experiência muito boa ouvir em sequência. Com vários clássicos dele. Melhores músicas: Taj Mahal, Xica da Silva e Ponta de Lança Africano

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

what a vibe! you can hear the influence of later artists in the work. really digging the sound of these 70s albums.

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Sun Oct 16 2022
5

Sometimes funky, sometimes melancholic, sometimes rocking. Always elegant. I truly become a fan of Brazilian music.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

this was great! no idea about the lyrics, but everything else was genuinely excellent

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

Jorge come over and let’s have a dance party in my living room.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

👏 I 👏 am 👏 here 👏 for 👏 world 👏 music 👏

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Thu Jan 19 2023
5

This was incredible. Never heard of this artist before but I enjoyed this a lot. Upbeat Brazilian songs with incredible rhythms and sounds. Thought Taj Mahal sounded a little familiar and lo and behold it turns out Rod Stewart ripped it off. Anyway, good job, list, for introducing this to me.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

This one was great! I had never heard of either the artist or the album. I was a bit leery going in when I noticed it was in a language I didn't speak. Once I started listening, I loved it! I added it to my music library in Apple Music. I would've never found this album if not for this project.

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Tue Feb 07 2023
5

An example of low expectations being blown out of the water. What a bop.

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Sun Feb 12 2023
5

This was such a fun fusion of samba and south american sounds with funk feeling. I loved every second of this.

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Mon Feb 13 2023
5

Good energy and classic 70’s world music instrumentation

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

Great album, fela afro beat sound with French pop vocal

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Sun Mar 26 2023
5

My favorite part of this list is finding music that is brand new to me and music that is just a blast to listen to. This album is one of those

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Tue May 16 2023
5

aquela sonzera brasileira que o patriota aqui adora né. eu gosto da maneira como no começo parece que tu vai ouvir uma musica dos stones com riffs de rock, e de repente, booom o samba chega. eu entendo o porque teriam pessoas que não gostariam, justamente por não estarem acostumadas com o jeito brasileiro das musicas, mas eu que cresci ouvindo os sons de samba e esses instrumentos unicos brasileiros me soa muito nostalgico ouvir isso.

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Fri May 19 2023
5

The opening track was such a jam! This is something I could definitely listen to repeatedly.

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Tue May 23 2023
5

Funky Jazz and Samba Rhythms. Put a smile on my face and I found myself wishing I spoke Portuguese so that I could join in - A remarkable album which I will definitely return to

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Thu Jun 01 2023
5

10/10 I’m so glad Brazilians exist — their music is out of this world

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Tue Jun 06 2023
5

Jorge Ben Jor representando o BR

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Mon Jun 19 2023
5

Damn this was fun to cook to.

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Mon Jun 26 2023
5

Amazing album. Absolutely loved it, what a great surprise.

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Tue Jul 04 2023
5

When the album started, I wasn't quite expecting the guitar to be such a major focus, but nearly every riff here is super catchy, and the samba style really lends itself to this blend of music that is familiar yet all its own. That final song being so aggressive comparatively puts a nice bow on this extremely well made package. Perhaps the language barrier makes this a tad repetitive, but it is a repeat of only banger after banger, so that is hardly a knock against it. Rod Stewart can eat his heart out when it comes to Taj Mahal, quite frankly. Sick of artists "sampling" (or in this case straight up stealing) amazing music and making it obviously worse. I believe George Harrison when he says he unconsciously lifts a melody from a song, not the "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" guy.

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Tue Jul 18 2023
5

Day 107 I hate football, always did.  I already knew the first song on this album, Ponta de Lança Africano (Umbabarauma) in the version by Max Cavalera's Soulfly; I love that song but it's a song about football and we all should agree that music should never be about football. Well, Jorge Ben in 1976 made a whole album of songs about football, and it's a freaking blast start to finish; Umbabarauma and Hermes Trismegisto Escreveu, the first two songs, are an irresistible one-two punch as Afro as Fela Kuti and as funky as Sly and the Family Stone; by the third song, O Filósofo, the Brazilian elements become more prominent, and that's the direction that the record takes from that point onwards. I guess this is the music everybody imagines as being the Carnival soundtrack. The 6th track, Taj Mahal, is possibly the most well-known (and infectious) hook to come out from Brazil. A Histôria de Jorge could be featured in an Italian Poliziottesco movie ambiented in Rio, if that ever existed.  Hooks, that's the word I was looking for. Jorge Ben seems to master the art of hooks impeccably; there's plenty of danceable, sing-along hooks on this thi6 I hate football, but I am going to buy this record, and you should too. Rating: And the whole stadium went "Goooooolllllll" 

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Tue Aug 08 2023
5

Unexpected never before heard surprise. Amazing

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Tue Aug 08 2023
5

So I'd never heard of Jorge Ben Jor before today, but I'm glad the list has introduced me to his work. This is an amazing blend of samba and funk. The instrumentation is amazing and the vocals are wonderful even if I can't understand Portuguese. It's a fun and motivating album that just makes a pleasant summer's day even brighter. I really liked this. Also today I learned what a cuíca is! I've heard it numerous times before but always thought that noise was some kind of wind instrument. Favourite: Cavaleiro Do Cavolo Imaculado

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

Agora eu penso que aqui teria que ter nota 10 por motivos de Camisa 10 da Gávea.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
5

This was joyous and brilliant will listen to again for sure

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Wed Aug 23 2023
5

Very energetic, incorporating funk sound’s combined with African + Brazilian instruments and musical styles. Best album on this list so far and still lives up as fun and entertaining listen in 2023. Favorites: All Least Favorites: none son

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Wed Aug 23 2023
5

This one is for the blues and jazz fellas. This record jumps between being Rock n Roll, Funk, Jazz, Blues, and Folk and drops your jaw at every turn. No machines, no computers, just humans. 5/5.

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Wed Aug 23 2023
5

This is not the best Jorge Ben album, but it's still a too much strong release to do not to rate with 5 stars.

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