Review: En Canto Brings Brazil to the NW on ‘Solto Por Jeri’

There is something wonderful about experiencing golden warm rays of sun in the Pacific Northwest. Like those rare warm days, the band En Canto is that glorious warmth in the midst of rock, punk, and a sea of singer-songwriters who like to plunge into the gray feelings of sadness. A band dominated by extremely talented musicians who happen to be mostly women, they have put forth an album punctuated by sambas, forros, and other fantastic danceable rhythms and melodies inspired after a brief trip to Brazil. Solto Por Jeri, named for an old fishing village, whisks you away into distant sands, blue waters, and the allure of the ocean, which is somewhat familiar to those living on the coast.

A Brazilian native, Adriana Giordano’s vocals are all in Portuguese, and are at times conversational, cheerful, whimsical and full of personality. She sounds like a good friend from Brazil called and has something to say, but she’s going to do it with a backing band and you’re going to love it each time she has something to say. Jamie Maschler is brilliant on the accordion, with light and quick riffs and melodies. Equally skillful and expressive in her delivery is Rosalynn De Roos’ clarinet. Beautifully melded together with the other instruments, there is a beauty to what she does. Similarly,  Meese Agrawal Tonkin’s flute is airy, light and sensual. Mike Withey’s keys add great texture and a conscious support to the melodies, while tossing in some great relaxing piano solos here and there. Adam Kozie and Martin Strand deliver a tight rhythm section, grooving deeply, never missing a beat.

Some serious highlights on this album include “Eu Lembrei do Ceará,” “Sempre,” “Elas,” and “Brincadeira de Martim.” If Brazil can live in the Pacific Northwest, it does it well with En Canto’s first full-length album. In addition to the marvelous performances, the record is well mixed, beautifully produced, and a delight to listen.

(This would be amazing on vinyl, but you’ll have to be content with Solto Por Jeri on CD or high quality MP3s. You can pick up a copy here: http://www.encantobrazil.com/store/p5/Solto_Por_Jeri.html. Stream lead single “Elas” below.)

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