On his debut album Travesseiro Feliz (Happy Pillow), Rio de Janeiro based artist Ricardo Richaid melds his tropical heritage with his love for psychedelic music, jazz, and rock. He also takes inspiration from the many Brazilian greats -- Caetano Veloso, Arthur Verocai, Ivan Lins, Joyce, Hermeto Pascoal, Marcos Valle, and Azymuth (to name a few) -- who he has worked with as an engineer, assistant, and producer, in Rio's former RCA studio, Cia dos Tecnicos. Heavily influenced by Brazil's fabled Tropicalia movement, Richaid is also the grandson of Brazilian actor, singer, and Disney star Aurora Miranda (Carmen Miranda's younger sister). Describing his sound as "Industrial Tropicalism", Richaid's music is undoubtedly a product of his environment: warm, hazy and beautiful, but reflective of the current mood of his homeland, lamenting the political, economic, and ecological crisis. The unconventional time signatures and sunny jazz-folk meets post-punk aesthetic are adorned by Richaid's studio smarts. Travisseiro Feliz features notable names from across Rio's music spectrum, including percussion sensation Marcos Suzano (Gilberto Gil), experimental pop artist Ana Frango Eletrico, and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jose Ibarra (Milton Nascimento's touring group). On interlude track "Formigas" you also hear a few verses of Ricardo singing with his seven-year-old daughter, Nina. Carrying forward the Tropicália torch, the opener "Maracas Enterprise/Frio da manhã" is a two-part journey through Richaid's sonic approach, weaving together interlocking horns, chorus drenched guitar, and fuzzed-up synth stabs. A perfect example of Richaid's industrial tropicalism, "Largado Nu" mixes soft, acoustic guitar, and flutes with harder-edged synths and electric guitars, while "O Velho Cai" is beautiful jazz-infused folk, with fretless bass and saxophone singing around the vocal harmonies of Richaid and Liza Machado. Living with his grandmother Aurora Miranda until the age of seventeen (featured in Walt Disney's Three Caballeros film, and happens to be the first human being to kiss Donald Duck), Ricardo would listen to his father playing chromatic scales and bossa nova melodies on the saxophone; his mother's Brazilian classical piano; or his punk rock brother slamming the drums. This eclectic musical upbringing led a teenage Ricardo to learning his trade as the bassist in a short-lived hard rock band, which disbanded when Ricardo began to dig deeper. Alongside engineering some of his musical heroes in Brazil, Richaid has played in bands like Mara Rúbia and nitú, from Rio's underground experimental psych and jazz scenes.
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