Review

Oceanico’s danceable debut record, Aquariou, offers a feeling of pure joy coloured by the diversity of culture

Oceanico was born when old friends Augusto Ou Não and Paulo Costa reconnected during the start of the pandemic and, with a little free time on their hands, began rekindling their creative partnership.

Albeit separated by an ocean, they started writing new songs and working on old ones, brewing a vibrant, multi-cultural sound that drew on the instruments and traditional melodies of Não and Costa’s diverse backgrounds. 

A year and a bit later, and their first official offering, Aquariou, is musical fusion at its finest, blending traditional African rhythms with the joyous sounds of Brazil and it’s danceable melodies, spiced further with hints of jazz and rock. 

And to reiterate their dedication to making music of, and for the world, Não and Costa invited an additional 14 artists from Southern Africa and Brazil to contribute their voices to this celebratory sound mesh, and the result is well and truly alive. 

Produced by Blake Hellaby, most of the record leans towards a richly instrumental sound coloured by understated vocals and non-linear writing structures. Opener “Abri os Olhos” takes us right to the sunny shores of Rio de Janeiro, with strong undercurrents of rock guitar – the type made famous by Santana and the likes. 

And then you have tracks like “Buritis” and “Meu Bom”,  folk tunes sung in sweet chorus, that bring another element of fusion to this ever-expanding globe of an album.

But maybe the closing track “Nossa Voz” sums up Oceanico best – it’s a song made for dancing to, singing to, and having a good time. And that’s ultimately what Oceanico are about. This record radiates pure joyful energy, and it’s a feeling that comes from the thrill of making music and sharing it with the world.