Google Artist of the Week: Lucas Santtana

Musicians from around the world have always looked to Brazil for inspiration. On Sem Nostalgia, producer and singer Lucas Santtana returns the favor. Playing a game of cross-cultural musical ping pong, he weaves his home country’s tropical sounds and rhythms into a vibrant mix of cosmopolitan electronica. Santtana subverts the notion that a Brazilian singer armed with an acoustic guitar will be crooning breezy sambas. But he remains reverent to his culture, offering a delicate balance of bravado and respect.

"Super Viola Mashup" Lucas Santtana

"Amor em Jacumã" Lucas Santtana

Hailing from Bahia, Santtana began his musical career as a flautist. He was discovered by Brazilian legends Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso and subsequently toured with both in the 1990s. Sem Nostalgia is his fourth album, following Eletro Ben Dodô (2000,) Parada de Lucas (2003,) and 3 Sessions In A Greenhouse (2007.) It is his first to be made widely available outside of South America and Japan. Helping him stir this cosmopolitan brew is longtime songwriting partner Arto Lindsay, a mainstay of both the tropicália and no wave movements.

The influence of his time with Gil and Veloso is most evident on the ballads “Amor em Jacumã” and “Cá pra nós.” The stripped-back production showcases Santtana’s melancholic voice floating across simple guitar riffs. But even in these tender moments Santtana steers away from the past by introducing subtle electronic synths and left field sound effects to pull the songs into the present. Touted as a South American counterpart to Thom Yorke, he voices a dusty swagger on tunes like “Night Time in the Backyard” and “Hold Me In.” Unable to sit still in one groove or tempo, Santtana is equally adept at dishing out moody atmospheric songs as he is dabbling with the cutting edge. He seamlessly places mellow songs next to dance floor-friendly instrumentals like the uptempo and choppy “Super Violao Mashup,” or Balearic-fashioned “Recado para Pio Lebato.”

There’s plenty of nostalgia and reverence on this album, and it paints a clear picture as to where and how deeply Santtana has been schooled in tradition. However, it is the way he has thoroughly re-interpreted and re-written the rules, set by the Brazilian masters who taught him, that Sem Nostalgia is such an impressive, refreshing and even revolutionary listen.-- Andrew Jervis

"Super Viola Mashup" Lucas Santtana

"Amor em Jacumã" Lucas Santtana


Anonymous said...

Wow, I have never heard of this guy but he is amazing. Lucas Santtana is going to have a career. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Andrew Jervis said...

Glad you approve! I'd heard Santtans first album years ago and subsequently forgotten about him. I'm so glad I was introduced to his new one (and got the chance to write about it) and that it was good enough to make me go back and listen to the 2 albums I missed out on.

Anonymous said...

Heard bits and pieces of him before, but this is great. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Wow, great, didn't know him. Thanks for sharing.

Paróquia Nossa Senhora Aparecida said...

"Amor em Jacumã" is very good! Thanks

ewj said...

This is very nice and I typically think Latin is just OK at best. I look forward to hearing more.

Mike D said...

Just downloaded the album after hearing the segment on NPR. First spin through, it's refreshing, different, hip, but rife with unrealized potential.

Needs some sound engineering tune-up, as there is a lot of background hiss, and the lows are a little flat. Also, a lot of catchy hooks go unexpounded upon. Some songs end abruptly. Some of the songs could be great club tunes, but lack a solid beat, for example, tracks 1, 8, and 10.

All told still worth a download, and I think that if this guy can get a good producer he will be HUGE.

Unknown said...

很輕鬆的音樂Very relaxing music

Anonymous said...

I love the combination of Brazilian flavor and subtle electronica in "Amor em Jacuma". Very inventive guitar playing and effects in "Super Viola Mashup" - or is it viola playing? Just got the full album via iTunes. Hghly recommended for friends of electronic music with a liking of some exotica.

Elizabeth said...

Is Lucas Santtana receiving the distinction of being Google Artist of the Week twice?

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