Forro in the Dark

If it's a Wednesday night in New York, you can bet the line is forming outside the Nublu Bar and Lounge, regardless of the weather. That's where Forro in the Dark was formed, three years ago, as a one-night-only party band for leader Mauro Refosco's birthday. The response was so wild, though, that Forro's been packing folks into this Manhattan hotspot ever since. Refosco and bandmates had played with heavyweights — Tom Waits, David Byrne, and Beck — before coming together to make their version of forro, a folk dance-music from northeastern Brazil popularized by Luiz Gonzaga in the '40s and '50s. And it's a Gonzaga favorite — “Asa Branca,” with Byrne on vocals — that sets the tone for this gem of an album. Peppy, poppy, and impossible to sit still through, the songs bounce happily along and beckon all listeners to join the festivities. The translucent vocals of Bebel Gilberto shine on “Wandering Swallow (Juazeiro),” while the band conjures the Second Line spirit of New Orleans with “I Wish,” again featuring Byrne. Flute, accordion, guitars, and dual percussion drive the dancing sound and could very easily fill your holiday household with good cheer. “Oile Le La!” — Toph One

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