Global hit – Vinicius Cantuaria

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The World

At the end of February, winter seems at its longest. When February has 29 days, winter feels even more endless. So we end this week with some music from Brazil, a place where — right now — it’s summer.

And what better Brazilian musician to empathize with our long winter than one who now makes his home in New York.

That’s the guitar of Vinicius Cantuaria. He was born in Manaus, in Brazil’s Amazonas State. There’s a well-known opera house in Manaus. It’s an odd piece of neo-classical architecture — devoted to music and performance — in the middle of the jungle. But that’s not what drove Vinicius Cantuaria to music.

Cantuaria moved to Rio with his family when he was seven. The bossa nova Rio is known for is evident in his music today, as on this tune. But Cantuaria spent the 1970s playing a lot of rock and roll with his band at the time O Terco. On this track from Vinicius Cantuaria’s new album, there are little hints of his past.

You’ll hear rhythms from the north of Brazil, where he was born; you’ll hear a touch of electronic distortion; and you’ll hear lyrics that remind us that now that he’s in New York City, Cantuaria’s somewhat of a fish out of water.

Here’s what Cantuaria is singing:

How I miss Brazil
I’ve been away a while
The cold is killing me
No one sees me on the subway
The elegant blacks
The slick Latinos
And a blonde American
Skating round every corner
Whatever am I doing here?
This time of year, it’s a question many of us may be asking.

We leave you today with a more upbeat tune from the downtown New Yorker-Brazilian-Vinicius Cantuaria.

A tune called Galope, from Vincius Cantuaria’s just-released CD “cymbals.”

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