A Brazilian musician whose albums over the past decade have drawn on a unique set of influences, the artist presently known as Guinga has woven together an intriguing concept album that bows to his Brazilian heritage, but in his own image. Cine Baronesa (Velas 1010; 51:15) is a lavishly produced and gentle-spirited portrait of the Rio of his upbringing. The title track, fittingly, is a nostalgic homage to a particular movie theater of his youth spent in Rio, with Guinga's voice atop the interactive dialogue of the Quarteto Maogani guitar quartet. He demonstrates his expressive warmth as a classical guitarist, on a piece like "Caiu do Ceu," against a languid, pillowy backdrop of strings. Rhythmic sway kicks in on the brass-swathed samba of "No Fundo do Rio." "Melodia Branca" opens the set, with a kindly blend of piano-played by the tune's arranger, Gilson Peranzzetta-eight-string guitar and strings. The tune seems inherently cinematic, as if expressing a second-hand emotion, subservient to imagery we can only imagine.
This is one of those charming oddities that belongs nowhere in particular, in terms of strict categorization, to its credit. Guinga is an artist making music grounded in his roots, but fashioned on his own terms.