WHY IS THIS COUNTRY DANCING? by John Krich

WHY IS THIS COUNTRY DANCING?

A One-Man Samba to the Beat of Brazil
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Everything you ever wanted to know about samba and the kindred sounds of Brazil, told with the neurotic hipness that leavens Krich's best writing (El BÇisbol, 1989, etc.). Krich serves up a tour de force through Brazilian popular music. Apparently he's has managed to talk with every composer and musician in the country--a motley crew of picaresques, deadbeats, eccentrics, geniuses, and just plain guys. From Sao Paulo to Rio, Recife, and Amazonas, style after musical style is drunk from: bossa nova, chorinho, lundu, trio electrico. But it's irreverent samba that captures Krich's heart. However far he wanders in pursuit of the peculiar and the telling detail (Krich is a lover of the odd fact and the strange encounter)--checking into the pedigrees of various high priests and goddesses, exploring the nether regions of mysticism, tracking down the inventor of the lambada--samba exerts enough gravitational force to pull him back into its spirited, high-stepping world. Krich is a student of the places he visits: Substantial doses of Brazilian history and landscape provide a context for the music and a shape to the country. A few short intermezzos serve as bridges between sections of the narrative--little dreamscapes often delivered with the creepiness of a sideshow barker--and each chapter comes equipped with a discography. You either warm to Krich's style or are quickly put off by it. It's aswarm with anxieties and prone to complaint, but intrepid, clever, informed, and pleasantly goofy. As polyrhythmic as Carnival itself: an artful blend of music, politics, and the land; a maelstrom of sounds and images from which Krich concocts an intriguing picture of Brazil.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-76814-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992




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