City Pages A-List Pick: Some 40 years after tropicalismo emerged in Brazil with its avant-garde melting pot philosophy that the rest of the world only started catching up to decades later, Brazil is still turning out cutting edge music with 21st century variations. Among the latest artists to hit these shores is Curumin, a.k.a. Luciano Nakata Albuquerque, a São Paulo singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist of Spanish and Japanese heritage. His latest album, JapanPopShow (Quannum), is a head-spinning amalgamation of MPB (música popular Brasileira), Brazilian roots, samba-reggae, dub, hip hop, electronica, funk, rock, and pop. Curumin comes across as a inspired experimentalist with an innate pop sense who manages to project a unified vision even while ricocheting among hard-funk workouts ("Caixa Preta"), tuneful rock anthems ("Magrela Fever"), breezy ballads full of soul ("Misterio Stereo"), off-kilter noir-samba-reggae grease-fests like the title track, and collage-like, politically charged mashes of dub, rap, funk, and electronica like on "Kyoto. (Rick Mason)
According to Jim Farber of the New York Daily News, Curumin mixes up funk, hip hop, lounge, pop and electronica, along with hints of Brazilian jazz. "I don't want to be the guy who just represents Brazilian music to the world," declares Curumin, perhaps the most exciting of these new stars [younger Brazilian musicians]. "I will always have a Brazilian flavor to my music, because I'm from here. But I want my music to be whatever I want it to be." And he wants it to be a lot. If you listen to Japan Pop Show, the new CD by Curumin (pronounced Kooro-mean), you'll hear a mad mutt of funk, hip hop, lounge, pop and electronica, along with hints of Brazilian jazz and the kind of samba rock pioneered by '70s S.O.B.'s stars like Jorge Ben and Tim Maia. It's to Curumin's credit that he kneaded this thick sonic dough into something not just digestible but delicious. Japan Pop Show includes some of the catchiest music released this year, including a single, "Compacto," that rates as an ideal song of summer.
#5 on Best World Music of 2008 (Editor's Choice) Amazon.com
"Cheerful Brazilian oddball brews up a world of groovy fun!" 4 stars. --Spin
Nike ad featuring Curumin
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This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.