Sambossa lights up Peggy’s Skylight, Nottingham 14/07/2023

By George Newton 02 August, 2023

I had the pleasure of attending Sambossa’s electric performance at Nottingham’s Peggy’s Skylight, a jazz club which has been hosting for over five years an eclectic range of jazz and other musical acts from the UK and beyond.

Comprised of three Brazilians and one Englishman, Sambossa is a London-based samba and bossa nova quartet that has been lighting up venues around the country over the last few years. Paul Rumbol, the band’s guitarist, revealed that they always look forward to playing at Peggy’s Skylight on account of the club’s fantastic audience and ambience.

Fronted by the enchanting voice of Carolina Lelis, the quartet’s repertoire included such well-known classics as Jorge Ben’s “Mas Que Nada” and the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Garota De Ipanema”; songs that may be less familiar to British audiences, including Elis Regina’s “Madalena”, Gilberto Gil’s “Chiclete Com Banana” and a funky reworking of Céu’s “Malemolência”; and some of their own confident and accomplished material. An instrumental interlude, for example, written by the band’s long-time collaborator, Marcelo Andrade, featured a drum solo that was enthusiastically applauded by all present.

Quite apart from the band’s musical polish and harmony and the audience’s involvement on numbers like “Mas Que Nada”, the singer’s insights into the song titles and the Brazilian cultural points to which they refer helped to hook the crowd from first to last – describing for instance the wide variety of musical genres, speaking about forró and other North-Eastern traditions and explaining the importance of farinha (cassava flour) in Northern Brazilian cuisine.

Anyone in the UK interested in Brazilian music should certainly treat themselves to one of Sambossa’s engaging concerts. And why not at Peggy’s Skylight, a splendid venue that’s establishing itself as a jewel in the crown of the UK jazz scene?

George Newton is a freelance writer and translator. You can contact him at [email protected].

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