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Brazilian-born Chicagoan Venicio de Toledo heads up Malukosamba, a group with a constantly changing lineup of players that brings to life Toledo’s quirky mix of rock fused with samba and other Brazilian musics. Over the last year or so the group has achieved varying results, ranging from awkwardly patched together pop songs to exhilarating explosions of atavistic rhythm, often within the same set. The last couple of times I’ve seen them, though, it’s become clear that this band is hitting its stride, holding tight to what it does best. Malukosamba makes rich, loose dance music built for the most part on one-chord grooves and colored in with guitars, saxophones, and whatever else happens to be available on a particular night. Toledo leads the group playing, among other things, the berimbau–a stringed rhythm instrument that looks like a giant bow and arrow–and singing (chanting?) in a wonderfully raspy voice. The result is not just great to shake your butt to, but also a fine tonic for those nights when city life has you feeling a bit cold and hard. Tonight, Edge of the Lookingglass, 62 E. 13th; 939-4017.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.