Wednesday , April 24 2024
Each piece has a clarity of storytelling, achieved through thoughtful lyrics and creative, focused arrangements; variously employing accordion, cavaquinho, flute, saxophone, and layered vocals to articulate a precise emotional arc for the listener.

Music Review: Os Clavelitos – ‘Arriving’

Os Clavelitos is an American Samba band based in New York City.  The sextet creates original music combining the traditional Brazilian rhythms of samba, baiao, bossa nova, cha cha, and frevo with English lyrics. Comprised of band members from Brazil, Japan, and the U.S., the six-piece ensemble celebrates Brazil’s rich musical heritage while incorporating their eclectic backgrounds in Latin jazz, acoustic pop, carnival dance, and folkloric styles.  Os Clavelitos, which means “Little Carnations” in English, shares tales of romance, melancholy, and introspection on their recording Arriving, enticing audiences to join them along their musical journey.

os-clavelitosThe fluttering notes of Livio Almeida’s flute through “Frost” add an ethereal texture to the melody as the percussive beats shimmy sensually, framing Chieko Honda’s buttery vocal register.  “Oblivion” has an infectious island sway silhouette by the slinking strands of Dan Kendall’s accordion, cruising leisurely through the track.  The samba shakes traversing across “Tom Cruise Samba” are wrapped in a dynamic arrangement of jangling percussive beats and Almeida’s sleek saxophone puffs.

The lilting notes floating across “Sands of Memories” set the placid scenery as the lyrics reflect, “Still remember the hourglass and the river that I saw behind your shoulder … When your lips met mine / I didn’t know that green leaves could fall like the end of my favorite melody … My tears melt in the river that’s still flowing there … Still remember the hourglass and the river on which I lost myself in his charms / while sand was falling out of my palm.”  The abstract imagery depicts a love lost as Honda’s ruminations express an introspective arc, which is a recurring theme throughout the recording in numbers like “Profondo Blue.”

The carnival mood of “Eunice” displays a Brazilian accent in the percussive gyrations garbed in streaks of Caribbean-tinted whistles and tinpan jangles, which travel into the soft inflections of the guitar chords and springy saxophone wiggles along the title track.  The marching beats thumping along “Dewberry” are shrouded in the folksy hues of the guitar strings, changing to a sauntering cha cha in “Unrest of Mind” as the curves of the flute show a malleable spirit.

The band’s percussive dynamics range from the smashing beats of “Fiumerapido” to the fluid strokes of “Afrose,” charting a course that carries the listener between gentle thrusts and Carnival-style tremors.  Os Clavelitos’s music is about coming together to share Latin and American cultures, conjuring an enchanting vista of sounds that brings to mind leisurely feasts and waltzing walks in the forest.


Chieko Honda – vocals, Anthony Lanni – guitar, backing vocals, Dan Kendall – bass, cavaquinho, accordion, backing vocals, Livio Almeida – tenor & soprano sax, and flute, Uka Gameiro – drums, percussion, Arei Sekiguchi – percussion


“Eunice,” “Arriving,” “Profondo Blu,” “Dewberry,” “Unrest of Mind,” “Frost,” “Oblivion,” “Tom Cruise Samba,” “Sands of Memories,” “Fiumerapido,” “Afrose,” “Eunice Reprise”

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.

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