Escaping paternal shadows can be tricky for a musician, especially if that musician’s name happens to be Lennon, Marley or Dylan. Brazil’s Moreno Veloso, however, probably shares more in common with Nigeria’s Femi Kuti. Both are sons of superstars in their native countries who virtually created their own genres of music. Caetano Veloso and Fela Kuti not only invented tropicalismo and afrobeat respectively, but were a source of inspiration to their people that went way beyond music.
Femi Kuti finally found respect and success — most notably at home, but also around the world — by adding a modern sensibility to the legacy of his father’s on the album “Shoki Shoki.” Now, Moreno Veloso has followed suit with his remarkable new CD, “Maquina de Escrever Musica” (released as “Music Typewriter” in Europe and America). Currently, the album is topping the World Music Charts Europe — the first Brazilian release to do so in several years.
Veloso, who sings and plays acoustic guitar, calls his band Moreno + 2, the other two being longtime cohorts Alexandre Kassin on electric bass and Domenico Lancelloti on electronic drums and percussion. Also joining the sessions were the elder Veloso and Daniel Jobim, the son of another famous musician, Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Demonstrating a profound understanding of, and respect for Brazilian music, Veloso has taken a subtle approach to modernizing it. Phat beats and electronic sounds augment the traditional elements of samba and bossa nova, but there is also a fair share of seductive acoustic tunes.
With Carlinhos Brown, Lenine and Moreno Veloso leading a new generation of musicians, Brazilian music is now truly back on the international stage.
Moreno + 2, 7:30 p.m., May 18-19 at Tribute to the Love Generation, Tokyo, Odaiba (sixth floor of Mediage, Odaiba Station on the Yurikamone Line). Tickets 6,500 yen in advance, 7,000 yen at the door. Call TLG at (03) 5531 2025.
Haruomi Hosono has never had to live in the shadow of a famous father, although his grandfather was the only Japanese on board the Titanic (he survived). While an interesting trivia point, this is irrelevant to the fact that Hosono is one of Japan’s most influential and respected musicians.
Hosono has been at the forefront of almost every stage in the development of modern Japanese music, from pioneering the Japanese “folk” boom with The Happy End in the mid-’70s, electronic music and technopop with YMO in the ’80s, and ambient and club in the ’90s as a solo musician. Before this, he was one of the first musicians to combine various world musics in the ’70s, including Asian and New Orleans music, with his group Tin Pan Alley and on solo albums such as “Tropical Music” and “Bon Voyage Co.”
After 25 years, Hosono recently got back together with Shigeru Suzuki and Tatsuo Hayashi of the original Tin Pan Alley, dropping the “Alley” and adding a host of guest musicians. The band’s self-titled album includes influences from Bali and Africa is well as Cajun, blues and New Orleans music.
Hosono is not a regular live performer these days, so Tin Pan’s upcoming concert in Fukuoka will be a rare chance to catch a musician for which the word “genius” could be justifiably applied.
Tin Pan Concert 1975/2001, 7 p.m., April 27 at Fukuoka Sun Palace. Tickets are 7,500 yen in advance, 8,000 yen at the door. For information, call BEA at (092) 712 4221.
Chuck Prophet was a member of American group Green on Red, who at the beginning of the ’80s were one of the most successful of the so-called Paisley Underground groups that included Long Ryders and Rain Parade. Producing a kind of psychedelic country rock (part Velvet Underground/part Neil Young), these all-American bands ironically found most success in Europe. Although their influence can be heard in Wilco and other artists, not many of the musicians are still successful and active.
Prophet is an exception. He has been recording as a solo artist since the beginning of the 1990s, and his latest album, “The Hurting Business,” is one of his best. His music has clearly moved on, but he has never lost his penchant for songwriting. The newer works, somewhat Dylanesque, are spiced up with drum loops and turntable scratching in a mixture something like Tom Petty meets Beck. Coproduced by Jacquire King, who worked on Tom Waits’ “Mule Variations,” Prophet is both a great singer and a fluid guitarist, which together makes for one of the best Americana albums of recent years.
For his upcoming, mostly acoustic shows, Prophet will be joined by Stephanie Finch on keyboards and other instruments.