Rodrigo Amarante has made the year’s tenderest record. Cavalo is sonically rich and spare at the same time: Every instrument breathes and every sound blends, yet every moment is distinct. At Cavalo’s core are heartfelt songs and Amarante’s sweet, smoky voice.
Amarante is from Rio de Janeiro, and these days lives in Los Angeles. You may know him from a few other projects: Rio’s Los Hermanos, as well as Little Joy, which included Binki Shapiro and Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti.
For his Tiny Desk Concert, Amarante brought his small Harmony parlor guitar from the ’30s, known lovingly as “Butter.” These songs are stripped to their essence, and what you’ll encounter here — and what you can’t hear on Cavalo — is the warm, approachable singer’s physical presence. Prepare to be drawn close to this intimate music. You’ll want to crawl in bed with it. –BOB BOILEN
“Nada Em Vão”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Production Assistant: Sarah Tilotta; photo by Sarah Tilotta/NPR