Epic Records quite frankly describes Jean Karakos, one of the creators of the lambada craze, as a ”music entrepreneur.” That sounds exactly right. Karakos visited Brazil, saw lambada (which might be described as Brazilian dirty dancing), then formed a band called Kaoma to record a lambada song. The rest is instant history: The song sold five million copies worldwide. Lambada evenings started selling out in clubs. Ballroom-dancing schools began teaching lambada. Kaoma recorded an album, World Beat, and it’s climbing the pop charts.

Now the musical exploitation of lambada has reached phase three: the release of this compilation album. You liked Kaoma’s first lambada song, catchily titled ”Lambada”? Here it is again, in two versions: the original, with voices, and a new one for instruments. Along with it come 10 Brazilian artists performing 18 other lambada tunes, most of them so watery the album, Lambada, fades quickly into nothing much more than vague lambada ambience. The lambada craze surely won’t last if it can’t produce music more substantial than this. C-

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