Certa Manhã Acordei de Sonhos Intranquilos
In the ‘90s, the Brazilian musician known as Otto played with Nação Zumbi and Mundo Livre, groups that mixed the sounds of the northern state of Pernambuco with other Brazilian genres, hip-hop, and rock. (The resulting style was known as Manguebeat.) His fourth solo album, Certa Manha Acordei de Sonhos Intranquilos (a title that references Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis) is quite good. On the opening track, “Crua,” Otto’s wonderfully emotive voice is backed by layers of strings and a rhythm section led by acoustic rhythm guitar. The moody “O Leite” features guest artist Céu on vocals and the pairing makes for an intriguing, cliché-free duet. The fine Mexican singer Julieta Venegas appears on the melancholy “Lagrimas Negras” as well as “Saudade,” a track with a rhythmic undertow that nods toward Colombia and Jamaica. On occasion, Otto pushes his voice, playing rough on tracks such as “6 Minutos” and “Filha.” “Agora Sim,” a lovely slice of orchestral pop with an arrangement that recalls Curtis Mayfield, closes this excellent album on a high note.