Of all albums by Paulo Bellinati, this is arguably the least jazzy. All songs here were written and performed by himself - which implies there is not even one of his superb interpretations of Antonio Carlos "Tom" Jobim, Baden Powell or João Gilberto. That might drive foreign listeners looking for a more familiar Brazilian sound - that is, Bossa Nova.
Which brings to my point: Brazil is not only about Bossa Nova. Each song of "Lira Brasileira" is a typical rhytm from the country, and might be thought as a picture of the sheer richness of Brazilian music.
Mr. Bellinati used to be, hands down, one of the best guitarists of Brazil, until his right hand was injured ( nowadays he can only play with a pick), a condition afforded by his extensive classical training. I am always impressed by his technique, which is displayed masterfully throughout the album, such as on "Chuva e Mar" ("Rain and Sea"): the arpeggios resemble the raindrops falling over the sea and the crashing of waves AT THE SAME TIME.
I must also praise his writting skills: most of the songs are wonderful, although I'm not so fond of "Alvoroço" and "Dama-da-Noite". He manages to mimic the typical instruments of maracatu on "Embaixador" - my personal favourite -, like an agogô (listen to the song here and google "agogô" - you'll see what I mean). I would also like to highlight "Cordão de Ouro" - a clear nod to Baden Powell's "Berimbau" -, "Chuva e Mar", which I mentioned above and is just gorgeous, and "Emboscada", a sample of the upbeat and even sort of funky xaxado.
As much as I'd like to write about all songs, I believe I've taken too long on this review and that my words wouldn't be enough to describe the songs very well. I hope my review, along with the samples here, convince you to buy and listen "Lira Brasileira".