One of the bad things about Carnival is that it almost invariably ends in a head full of flu, a voice like Tom Waits after gargling the contents of the Algerian desert and lungs that feel as if a whole congregation of shamen is practising wax doll rituals on them. Mr Weatherman says that today we have the meteorological start of spring, but having ventured outside I have the impression that Mr Weatherman is about as competent in matters of spring as a pack of Siberian ice bears and should be posted back to Archangelsk as quickly as possible.
So while I am sitting here, nursing a mood for which grumpy is an excitingly euphemistic expression, what better to do than to head over to Rato's Portuguese party pooch for a bit of Brazilian summer: Rato has posted two double albums worth of excellent Bossa Nova recordings. The mix includes all the great names you'd want to hear on a Bossa collection, so while there may be few surprises for the true connoisseur, this is still a great way to waft away on an afternoon full of saudade. Especially when you're serenaded in one of the most delicious tongues of the world.
And while we're over at Rato's don't forget to browse for another excellent album: Spanish singer Patxi Andión's rarely heard (Once Canciones Entre Paréntesis) (Eleven Songs In Parentheses) is also available for download. I don't know too much about Andión, I must admit - he seems to be around more as an actor and composer these days - but this album was obviously part of a handful of records he released during the early Seventies. A live-in-the-studio recording, this gives friendly nods and nudges to a couple of traditions: European chanson and schlager, North American balladry, the Latin American protest singers of the era, but all of that mixed together with a very individual twist. A truly wonderful disc.
Rato's blog had been mentioned a couple of times here already so suffice to say that there's loads of other interesting stuff there, bossa and beyond. Make sure to check out his Nostalgia collections as well.