Blog January 15, 2021
João Selva Sails the Afro-Brazilian Atlantic with “Navegar”

Like Italian cooking, Luso-African music can be described as a few key elements getting endlessly recombined. From Angola to Cape Verde to Brazil, the pluck and buzz of a berimbau and asymmetrical rhythms situate the listener even before the vocals come in.

You only have a split second before João Selva’s voice pops in on his new single, but those familiar elements—and a bouncy flute line that really could’ve come from nowhere else—are used to great effect on “Navegar.”

Check out the song and this endearing video right here:


The tune is the title track of Selva’s upcoming album, out April 2 on Underdog Records. The artist’s goal is a sort of travelogue, through Brazilian musical styles and elsewhere across the Afro-Atlantic and up into the Caribbean. Appropriately enough, navegar means "to sail."

This is the only song I’ve heard from it so far, but I’ll be eager to check it out when I have the chance. You can’t go wrong with the staples.

Related Audio Programs

A Beginner’s Guide to Lusophone Atlantic Music
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A Beginner’s Guide to Lusophone Atlantic Music
A lightning tour of some of the most important groups that helped pull together the often-overlooked Afro-Lusophone sonic universe.

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