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Maybe when you are Brazil’s most revered percussionist (Vasconcelos has played with Jan Garbarek and Pat Metheny among others) you feel obliged to stretch the bashing-and-tapping-things envelope. For there doesn’t appear to be any musical reason for what sounds like underwater conga playing or, for that matter, rigorous crisp packet shaking.

Santana exit may hasten the return of Parreira

Kirsten Nematandani, the South African football president, is remaining tight-lipped on any possible successors to Joel Santana following the exit of the national coach.

Album: Os Mutantes, Haih or Amortecedor, (Anti)

Formed in Brazil in 1966, Os Mutantes combined pyschedelic rock with traditional Brazilian music to create a sound that has since found favour with artists as varied and influential as Beck, Byrne, Banhart and Kurt Cobain. But can the legend survive a new record, OM's first in 35 years?

Album: Sweelinck, Secular Vocal Works, (Glossa)

Principally known for his keyboard works, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) was also an accomplished madrigalist. Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam's three-disc set confirms his extraordinary facility for absorbing different styles, from the robust to the florid.

Album: Hille Perl, Lee Santana, Dorothee Mields, Dowland: In Darkness Let Me Dwell (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

It might not be evident in Sting's versions, but the music of the 16th-century composer John Dowland involved an appreciation of the way despair could be surmounted by its transformation into melancholy artistic expression.

Manu Chao, The Forum, London

It's testimony to the pulling power of Manu Chao that within hours of the announcement of two surprise UK December dates both had sold out.

Dorival Caymmi: Leading figure in Brazilian song

In February 1939 a young, unknown singer-songwriter got the most fabulous break of his life by recording a duet of his swinging samba "O Que É Que A Bahiana Tem?" ("What is it about Bahian Women?") with Brazil's biggest ever vocal star. The song became one of Carmen Miranda's signature pieces just before she took Hollywood by storm, and launched Dorival Caymmi as a leading figure in Brazilian song.

Album: Steve Winwood, Nine Lives (Sony BMG)

No one epitomises the enmansioned vocational rock muso of long, worthy standing more thoroughly than Winwood: he has been squelching up the path to his private studio of a morning for more years than seem plausible.

Israel 'Cachao' Lopez: Bassist and pioneer of mambo

The bassist and composer Israel López played a leading role in the evolution of Latin music, successively nurturing both the mambo and the improvised Cuban form known as the descarga, and paving the way for the international phenomenon that is salsa. Known invariably by the nickname "Cachao", he was, too, an innovative arranger; one who successfully synthesised his own country's musical traditions with those emanating from the American mainland to create an alluring sound which continues to seduce those who encounter it.

Truffle that cost £28,000 leaves a bitter taste after restaurant lets it rot in fridge

Its Latin name loosely translates as "food of kings". Such is the mystique that surrounds tuber magnatum that it can cost as much per ounce as gold and was considered by the medieval church to be the work of Satan.

Arts Counsel

Album: Slo-Mo

Slo-Mo, Circus

To pay or not to pay

Why three students at Oxford University refused to pay their tuition fees

Jazz albums round-up

Prom 5, Royal Albert Hall, London

An exotic trip into the rather familiar

Jazz and World albums

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