By Scott T. Sterling

While the current state of electronic music in America leans towards all things bigger, louder and faster, Washington, D.C. duo Thievery Corporation have built a career on the decidedly turned-down sound of downtempo. But it’s not always pillows and hookah with the band. Their hypnotic and energetic live shows always feature a full roster of musicians and singers on stage, which amplifies Thievery Corporation’s intimate approach

Saudade, the group’s seventh studio album, hones in on the mellow tones of Brazilian bossa nova beats augmented with a battery of vocalists who sing in no less than five different languages across the full-length’s 13 songs. Turn up for bossa nova.

“What initially brought Eric and I together was that we both shared a passion for Brazilian music and bossa nova songs,” band member Rob Garza told, referencing his longtime partner, Eric Hilton. “When we were making [our previous album] Culture of Fear, we started making some songs that ended up on the Saudade album. We kind of had them in our back pocket, because they didn’t really fit with the political tone of Culture of Fear. After that album was done, we pulled some of those songs up, and they inspired us to make a whole record of the music that motivated Thievery Corporation to come together in the first place.”

Currently on tour behind the release, Garza said that the album’s mellow slant won’t drive the live shows. Those will still rely mostly on more upbeat aspects of their sizable catalog.

Read more about Thievery Corporation on


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