Album Review of
Le Notti Di San Patrizio - Distorcao do Tempo

Written by Joe Ross
January 23, 2022 - 12:19am EST
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Born in Salvador de Bahia, Nilza Costa sang in choirs and has always had music in her life. The capital of Brazil’s large northestern state of Bahia, Salvador has many African influences in all aspects of its culture, food, religion and music. It’s also known for a large number of the major stars of musica popular brasileira (aka MPB) such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Maria Bethania, as well as a new generation of younger stars like Margareth Menezes and Daniela Mercury. Singer Nilza Costa found herself married to an Italian for ten years, and she calls Italy her second home.     

Five years since her release of Roots, singer-songwriter Nilza Costa’s The Nights of Saint Patrick - Distorção do Tempo continues her musical vision characterized by the “osmosis of tribal Afro rhythms with colorful Brazilian sounds and performances suspended between Yoruba and Portuguese primordial idioms.” She is very ably assisted by arranger and multi-instrumentalist Roberto “Red” Rossi (percussion, Fender Rhodes piano, vibraphone, flute, bass), Daniele Santimone (guitar, bass) and Massimo Zaniboni (flutes, saxophone).  Costa has a beautiful voice, especially with the electrifying native Bahian rhythms and jazzy instrumental accompaniment. While the spoken words and chanting in some selections like “Resistance,” “Oselu Ko Ni Sè” and “Desastre” didn’t do much for me without a storyline or English translation of the words, the genesis of some tracks eventually evolve into smooth free form jazz progressions. I especially enjoyed the vibe and driving groove of tracks like “Odè in Transe,” “Maresia,” “Awa” and “Choro Das Águas.” A piece like “Elegbarà” is a nice showpiece for the lyrical messages in a musical conversation with instrumental improvisations from the vibraphonist and saxophonist.

Brazil has its share of social injustice, and the tracks include vigorous shouts of protest against discrimination, inequities, racism, economic and political conflicts. Besides being the soul of her Afro-indigenous roots, Costa’s music is a scream against injustice, racism, immigration, violence and power. Costa and Company also view themselves as musical messengers for optimism, courage and hope. I suspect that the contemplative closing number, “Choro das Águas” provides a sense of incandescent emotion and compelling visuals to encourage and support others on life’s challenging journey. This album is an enchanting and splendid fusion of expressive jazz, Bahian rhythms and spiritual Afro-Brazilian music. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)