Tapioca, the project of Belgian and Brazilian duo Alessandro “Le Tagarel” Vlerick and Simon “SiKa” Carlier, just released their stunning new LP Samba em Kigali. A multi-genre infusion of ten enchantingly groovy tracks that pay sublime homage to cross-cultural minglings and especially to Africa’s splendor. Delivered via Vlerick’s soothing croons and Carlier’s lush instrumentation, the album is a descent into some of the duo’s most effulgently soulful creations to date.


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From the moment the record begins with “África Brasil,” a dreamily lulled melody of spacey electronica and new-age textures that float weightlessly alongside the duo’s harmonies, it envelops you in its shimmering ebullience. The defining bliss of Tapioca’s music reveals itself to be the way all their songs take you on a journey: taking you by the ear, they lead you through breezy and resplendent soundscapes. Every intonation or softly cooed syllable bursts with its own euphoric energy. Be it the twinkling xylophones that clamor melodically in the background of “Terra Preta,” or the dulcet buoyancy of the duo’s shared vocals on the velvety smooth “Nova Vida.”

Across the record Tapioca’s effortless mixture of influences find elegant fruition, bringing together their love of hip-hop, jazz, funk, and the samba-fusions inherent to MPB (Música popular brasileira). Songs like “Lagoas de Ruanda” coalesce around a deliciously funky guitar and effervescent synths that burn luxuriantly behind Vlerick’s warm vocals.

Others, like the impossibly grooved-out “Zanzibar” and “Sabor Swahili,” crank up the upbeat elasticity of their mesmeric tastes as they bounce along to a warble of earworm riffs and vibrant beats. Other standouts on the record include the funkily kinetic and disco-revolutions of “Cara De Árabe,” as well as its title track “Samba Em Kigali” — which ends the album with a sunny farewell of affectionate instrumentals.

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If you enjoyed the experience of sinking into the incandescent music of Tapioca’s new album Samba em Kigali then you will want to check out the rest of their discography as well. The duo first released their debut just last year, arriving in the form of the funk-heavy Voyage. Here you’ll find Vlerick and Carlier possessed by a far more melodically animated spirit as they introduce their unique international palate on songs like “Sonho Real” and “Maracuja.”

Visit Tapioca on their Bandcamp and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

Words: Steven Ward

Listen to Samba em Kigali the new album from Tapioca below!

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