The Existential Soul of Tim Maia


Back in the 1990s some Brazilian clients of my wife’s company came to our home for dinner; they brought gifts for each member of the family. I received a Brazilian compilation of the music of Tim Maia, who I was unfamiliar with at the time. David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label has recently issued its own Maia compilation, Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia, and it’s brimming with the funky vibes of the eccentric Maia, sometimes referred to as Brazil’s James Brown. He’s more a combination of Santana and Wilson Pickett, all Latin rhythms and cocky soul man swagger, and there hasn’t been anyone around who sounds quite like him before or since. A short animated clip narrated by Devandra Banhart came out this week, it gives the Cliffs Notes version of Maia’s life and career:

The compilation is great from start to finish, cherry picking both Portuguese and English language tracks from throughout Maia’s career. Here’s a couple of my favorites:

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