A gente ainda não sonhou is the new album by Carlinhos Brown, due for release on April 2007. From a musical mind as exuberant as this Brazilian artist, you could be forgiven for not knowing what to expect. It seems that he wants to prepare us for another carnival, like those in 2005 which brought together more than a million people in Madrid, 400.000 in Barcelona, 250.000 in Valencia, and 200.000 in Seville and Bilbao…Yet it is as if the carnival itself has given Carlinhos Brown back his expressive and successful songbook, and now he is disembarking the carnival float, and entering our living rooms to sing us his new album, far from the crowds. Recorded between March 2005 and September 2006 in his Ilha dos Sapos studio in Salvador, Bahía (Brazil), Brown produced the record, wrote all the songs, designed the album’s artwork and played the majority of the instruments: bass, guitar, home-made electronic percussion, drums, bongos, conga, piano, surdo, agogô bells, keyboards, timbau, berimbau organ....
The album kicks off with the song O aroma da vida in an admirable fashion, as if announcing that surprises are on their way; that we should expect anything and everything. Brazilian percussion mixed with electronica; psychedelic strings and booming beats; primitivism and sophistication. A great song, and one of the four on the album written exclusively by Carlinhos Brown. Mande um email pra mi ¬¬¬¬(mis) follows, and has a delicacy which, in different forms, recurs throughout the album. Acoustic, simple, earthy, with a technically naïve feel, as if a music box was operating a computer. Everybodygente is pure sensuality in the best Brazilian tradition. The track was composed by the “tribalistas” Carlinhos Brown (who plays all the instruments), Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes, on this occasion together with Seu Jorge. Aos teus olhos is dedicated to Yemanjá (female deity of Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian region) and includes the collaboration of the great Jaques Morelenbaum whose magnificent string arrangements adorn one of the most lyrical songs on the album.
The album continues with Loved You Right Away, a song which is an old friend of Carlinhos Brown, rhythmical and sung in English. Goodbye Hello evokes the story of a wartime deserter, with Carlinhos once again in charge of almost all the instruments. Marina dos mares (remove names) is dedicated to Dorival Caymmi and fuses electronic sounds with a radiant rhythm. It is performed by the group Mar Revolto and was written by Carlinhos
Brown, Géo Benjamin, Octávio Américo and Raul Carlos Gomes. Pedindo pra voltar by Carlinhos Brown and Alain Tavares, is the only song on the album recorded in Madrid, with Javier Limón as additional producer, Niño Josele on guitar and the overridingly Brazilian air of a rumba-tango that hails straight from Bahia. A gente ainda não sonhou is a ballad which seems to be suspended in time, which mixes acoustic and electronic sounds and shows Carlinhos Brown’s mastery of this type of music. Garoa shows off the dynamic reggae-loving side of Carlinhos Brown, playing all the instruments on an excellent dance track. Guaraná café was written by Carlinhos and Ivete Sangalo and is a great example of the Brazilian-Jamaican connection, though more of a subtle example on this occasion. Dia de você by Carlinhos Brown and Michel Sullivan, is a relaxing track and on Página futuro the “tribalistas” Brown, Antunes and Monte come together again on a syncopated funk. The party ends with Te amo família, a gorgeous track also written by Michael Sullivan which sums up the character of A gente ainda não sonhou, the new album from a unique artist: Carlinhos Brown.
Antonio Carlos Santos de Freitas was born in 1962 in Candeal Pequeño, a little neighbourhood in the area of Brotas, in Salvador de Bahía (Brazil). His parents, Renato and Madalena, didn’t manage to persuade him to learn a good trade but Osvaldo Alves da Silva, the (remove) Maestro of the Bongo, introduced him to the rich tradition of Brazilian folklore and percussion. At the beginning of the 1980s he started to learn music recording and production techniques, as well as commencing the task of compiling a collection of the percussions and rhythms from the Bahia area. And he adopted his first pseudonym: Carlinhos Brown, inspired by Box Brown, a black man who, in the United States of the 19th century, fled from slavery hidden in a box. In 1985, Carlinhos Brown joined the band of Luiz Caldas and Acordes Verdes, playing and arranging percussion. The band’s soloist, the Bahiano Luiz Caldas, wrote the song Visão do Cíclope along with Carlinhos. The song became a radio hit and started the phenomenon of Axé Music in Bahia. At the end of that year, 26 of his songs were being played on radio, for which he won the Trofeu Caymmi, the most important musical award in Salvador de Bahía. A year later, Carlinhos Brown became a member of Caetano Veloso’s band, and in 1989 the album Estrangeiro was released, containing Meia Lua Inteira by Brown . The album was his international baptism as a musician, as he played on tours with João Gilberto, João Bosco and Djavan. Later, Carlinhos formed the band Vai Quem Vem, which recorded five songs for the album Brasileiro by Sergio Mendes, which won the Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1992. That album included the song Magalenha, the inspiration for reggaeton. The band Timbalada was formed in 1993 by Carlinhos Brown for him to be able to play what he called samba-reggae, a style which was popularised by many important Afro-Brazilian musical groups in Salvador de Bahía.
In 1996, Carlinhos Brown released Alfagamabetizado, his first solo album. It was critically acclaimed and his concerts helped consolidate and show off his charisma and love of performance, an explosive mix of modernity and tribalism. In 1998 followed Omelette Man, on which came a change of style, where Brown introduced string arrangements and sang in English. Three years later, Bahía do Mundo, Mito e Verdade completed his first trilogy of albums. It was a meeting of Brazil and Africa, rock and jazz, pop and contemporary music. In 2002 he formed Tribalistas together with Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes and the album won a Latin Grammy, sold a million copies in Brazil, became a talked-about album in Europe and has still not lost an ounce of its relevance. In 2003 he investigated the relationship between Brazil and Cuba on the album Carlinhos Brown é Carlito Marrón and in 2004 along with Bebo Valdés he inspired the film El milagro de Candeal (directed by Fernando Trueba and winner of the Goya Awards for Best Documentary and Best Song) and he looked to electronic dance with the album Candyall Beat with the help of DJ Dero.
Ten years have passed since his debut as a solo artist, and now Carlinhos Brown releases A gente ainda não sonhou. After a long time aboard his carnival float, the Camarote Andante, bringing celebration, dance and carnival to half the world, he now offers us the songs of his new album. Pure Carlinhos Brown.