Caratinga

All Saints' Church, Welborne

All Saints' Church, Welborne

Brazil: an enormous country with a monumental musical contribution to match.

From that vast multi-cultural melting pot has sprung forth choro, bossa nova... oh, and samba, probably the purest manifestation of unbridled joy on the planet.

Who'd have thought the parish church in one of Norfolk's smaller villages would ever reverberate to the kind of rhythms that make Rio and the rest tick? But it did. And for that, those of us who had the pleasure of being there owe our undying gratitude to Caratinga.

A sizeable audience sat sedately as the London-based, largely Brazilian-sourced ensemble presented a programme that blended the most subtle of melodies with the punchiest of sounds, driven by a bewildering array of percussion instruments.

Heaven knows how people kept so still during the most insistent undulations of the samba beat. It is, after all, the instant pick-me-up.

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At least their gorgeous singer, Leandra Varanda, shimmying and swaying through the nave in an outfit perhaps a tad too demure for carnival but striking nonetheless, elicited some harmonious, if restrained, humming and clapping in the closing numbers.

Foremost in creating the thrill factor at Friday's performance was mandolin player Anselmo Netto, a musician of awesome talent and effortless dexterity. At times,

the sound of the strings on his instrument stabbed the evening air with its ferocity, yet at others the notes simply trickled down with the gentleness of raindrops on a windowpane.

A concert to set the pulse racing.

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