First things first: I have never been to Brazil. And I am terribly ashamed to admit this to you. And you’d think with the amount of times we’ve headed to South America we could at least stop by and pay a visit. But no, I haven’t been. And it’s not only on the top of my list but every Brazilian friend I have basically says the same thing: “What on earth are you waiting for?” That’s an excellent question.
Not a lot of people know that before I stepped into the world of food & design I really wanted to pursue a career in music. Music was an integral part of my world growing up and just about everyone in my family plays a musical instrument. After years of piano and violin lessons I was bitten by the design bug and threw all my creative efforts into graphic design although I still like to play the piano on occasion. But now it’s really just to annoy others with terrible renditions of Carpenters, Yvonne Elliman and Britney Spears songs.
Some of my earliest musical memories involve sitting on the floor while my dad played Brazilian records. It was that time in musical America where jazz had been fused with Brazilian compositions and for a while it seemed our house was filled with João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luis Bonfa and a roster of other Brazilian composers and musicians. Listening to the music never failed to put a smile on my face as I picked out the few words I understood while my dad usually strummed his guitar along to the music. Perhaps this is why I have an affinity towards Brazilian pop, choro, samba, and especially bossa nova. Put this on and it’s impossible for me to not start swaying. My mood lifts and I drift off, even during those painfully heartbreaking songs. This is a genre filled with spirit, elegance, simultaneous complexity and simplicity, with musical structures no one can even come close to.
When my friend Kaveh at Putumayo asked if I’d be interested in receving a copy of their Brazilian Café complilation I couldn’t hit my reply button fast enough. He made sure to tell me that the CD booklet contained a recipe but really, it was the music alone that excited me. And now that I’ve been listening to it I thought it’d be great to give away a few copies and share all the sonic goodness.
Putumayo puts out some amazing titles and I’ve been a fan of the label for quite some time. Each compilation focuses on a region or genre of music and is a great first course in discovering new global favorites. With Brazilian Cafe, Putumayo brings together a terrific selection of jazz, samba and bossa nova by up-and-coming artists and it’s been in heavy rotation on my ipod lately.
Next to amazing music, I think the single best thing about Putumayo is its dedication to assisting many non-profits based in the countries whose music they share with the world. There’s a complete list here.
I’m glad Kaveh was open to sending me a few extra CDs when I asked if I could give a few away. And to my surprise he included an additional CD called Picnic Playground from Putumayo Kids, a collection of food-themed songs in English, Spanish and French. I haven’t listened to it yet but I can only guess it’s fun and fantastic.
I’m giving away 5 copies of Putumayo’s Brazilian Cafe + Picnic Playground to the first 5 folks who leave a comment. I’ll email you for your address and send them to you shortly. Promise me you’ll sip a Caipirinha as you enjoy the music, ok?