Some things take time to happen, some things perhaps take a bit longer than they should but, finally, we are delighted to present an issue of the iconic, and sought-after, Brazilian album 'Alucinolândia' by Zito Righi e Seu Conjunto from 1969.
The trippy, surrealist 60s cover design with hands holding eyeballs is somewhat confusing. Rather than the stoner acid rock record that the art may suggest, 'Alucinolândia' is actually a quintessential 60s gem, mixing samba, MPB, bossa nova, quirky organ-led mod-jazz groovers and easy-listening crooners with a relaxed cool swagger.
Zito Righi aka Isidoro Righi, the Brazilian saxophonist, instrumentalist, conductor and composer brought together an illustrious cast for this masterpiece, including the much-loved vocalist Sônia Santos. Sônia delivers a masterclass on the album's opener, and maybe its crown-jewel 'Poema Ritmico Do Malandro’. The song is fierce and driving with an enticing funk intro that bursts into a Samba / Batucada workout. A real monster that works magic on the dancefloor. Sônia would later re-visit this track in 1971 on a recording for Copacabana Records, which Mr Bongo released as part of the Brazil45 series. The Brazilian songwriter Roberval penned three tracks on the record, including another highlight and the far too short 'Birimbau'; a catchy Brazilian jazzy-samba dancer at its finest. Other musicians include the drummer Fernando who also recorded with the greats Dila & Guilherme Coutinho.
The fact the record was released in 1969 meant it was probably a bit out of step with its contemporaries in comparison to the works of artists such as Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil et al. The core of 'Alucinolândia' is that of a more optimistic early to mid-sixties party feelgood vibe rather than the angsty, psychedelia, and rebellion of the Tropicália movement. Over 50 years since its release, the work can finally be judged on its own merit; and what a beauty it is.