Vinicius Cantuaria lands among the World Folk section of the Spectrum much for the same reason Pierre Bensusan does. Both guitarists explore jazz territories—Bensusan in the more traditionally jazz scating form and Cantuaria in the jazzy bossa nova. That’s jazz, but both men open up a portal to another part of the world—Bensusan’s France and Europe and Cantuaria’s Brazil and South America. Listening to Cantuaria’s Silva, you wander the Brazilian streets of his music; it’s an emotive travelogue.
With apologies to my South American and European readers, I realize that labeling Cantuaria and Bensusan as World Music is completely U.S.-centric. Yet, there’s a celebration here, as well, in recognizing that Cantuaria isn’t just reproducing American jazz guitar. There’s plenty of non-U.S. bands trying to sound American (or U.S. bands trying to sound like British bands). Mostly those artists remain less than newsworthy. Cantuaria is newsworthy because he brings jazz strains to music that sounds of his home country, his travels, and his life in the Southern Hemisphere. He brings those sounds from there to wherever you are. (In fact, having moved to New York in the 90’s and recorded Silva in Brooklyn, Cantuaria really is bringing that Brazilian sound from Brazil to New York, then back to Brazil, and finally to your part of the world).
The most fun track is “The Bridge,” which swings and grooves a bossa nova beat even while singing about just how to define bossa nova. Cantuaria says, “Bossa nova is samba,” or perhaps it is Jobim. It seems the “new trend” could be something that’s really old, coming from many different places around the world. Bossa nova is World Folk music, you see, world folk music that gets the night dancing.