As the World Cup draws to a close, so does my series of great Brazilian albums. For some of y’all this is the first time discovering these new types of sounds, and for some, like me, it’s rediscovering a deeper love that will always exist for them. One love that will never die is my devotion to Jorge Ben’s music. Jorge Ben’s music from its inception all the way through the creation of this album always had a wavelength that could tune itself to any frequency. His samba soul could tackle any genre: psychedelia, folk, disco, funk, R&B, rock and more…without losing any of the essence of what Jorge was about.

1981’s Bem-Vinda Amizade, which translates to “Welcoming Friendship”, is another one of Jorge’s dialed-in albums. On this album he tunes into the new post-disco and incoming electronic R&B sound of the ’80s. Now, 20 years into his career, its simply amazing to hear him not lose one iota of inquisitiveness and inventiveness. The album starts with the great Carnaval track of “O Dia que o Sol Declarou seu Amor pela Terra” setting you up for the party atmosphere of the album. This is an album that demands of the body not the swivel of the neck but the gyrating of the limb and hip.

Using all of his previously created styles, he propels forward in sound with “Santa Clara Clareou” a track that finds a way to create a spacey electronic samba disco-funk that sounds both mystical and soulful. “Oe Oe Faz o Carro de Boi na Estrada” continues to create a new sound that was touched on in Remain in the Light the sound of alternative dance music that could both stimulate the booty and entrance the mind, much of that owed to the incredibly undated way both Jorge and the Talking Heads knew how to arrange electronic and acoustic instruments. Much of the album finds Jorge seeding his unique rhythm to different instruments, check out the slinky funk of the next track “Era uma Vez um Aposentado Marinheiro” driven by an electric piano, or the torrid “Lorraine” placating its groove with a Moog synthesizer pawing and holding dearly his rhythm playing.

“Curumin Chama Cunhata que eu Vou Contar (Todo Dia era Dia de Indio)” which starts of the second side explores the sound of Parliament with his own Samba-disco. Its a genius track, check out the synthesizer background just expanding/contracting behind him…all the while he injects dub-style vocals here and there when he chants through the chorus. Damn, even at this state in the game he was showing younger groups how deep the groove can go. And boy does the groove continue. After this, the marvelous phased-out beauty of “Katarina, Katarina” continues with its Isley Brothers trapped in Pernambuco sound. The roof-raising hand clapper “Ela Mora em Matogrosso Fronteira com o Paraguai” follows with its undeniable drum and bass pendulum rhythm. This tempo sets you up for the secretly best track of the album, “Para que Digladiar” an ode to letting go and forgiving yourself or others if all you want to do is dance awhile. Out of love, devotion and surrender, isn’t surrendering to the soul the most important?…

Anyway, this masterful album continues to find ways to brighten up any day. On some days, maybe days that are grayer than most, it seems like ray of lights peeking through the clouds, bringing the promise of a brighter day. On some days, when the sun is blazing hot, and the coolness of a breeze soothes the body, it tempers the heat. Symbolically, for Brazil writ-large, with the ending of its dictatorship and new promise, you could say it was welcoming this new start and providing some sonic guidance with how to deal these new feelings. The limbs and feet, would now be able to dictate where the mind couldn’t follow before…

Have some time? Want to check out Tim Maia, Gal Costa, and Caetano just having a ball with Jorge check out their performance of a ton of the tracks from this album here: