Released in the year that Gil commemorated 20 years of career, this release has several rhythms with predominant Afro-Brazilian beats. The lyrics are again combative. After a vignette, the album opens with social criticism in the reggae "Barracos," the hit of the record. "Roque Santeiro, O Rock" is a rock about the urge of understanding the new generations and their iconoclastic preferences. "Seu Olhar" talks about love with a pop/blues beat. "Febril" has bossa nova in another song dedicated to social concerns. Pop and Afro-Bahian sounds propel "Touche Pas Á Mon Pote," where Gil highlights the importance of France through lyrics in French.
Reflecting the then recent association with Jimmy Cliff, this Gilberto Gil album opens with the reggae "Extra," in which he exorcises the powers of political obscurantism invoking the liberating forces of mysticism. "E Lá Poeira" anticipated the crossover pop/Northeastern music made successful in the world music of the '90s. "Mar de Copacabana" has the old Gil, composer of melodies full of a refreshing feeling but at the same time with the two feet rooted in the samba tradition. "A Linha E O Linho" could be a minor pop ballad if it weren't for the sensitive and indigenous lyrics solution, where he used the metaphor of sewing to talk about two people united by a deep love.
Dora, a dour old woman, works at a Rio de Janeiro central station, writing letters for customers and mailing them. She hates customers and calls them 'trash'. Josue is a 9-year-old boy who never met his father. His mother is sending letters to his father through Dora. When she dies in a car accident, Dora takes Josue and takes a trip with him to find his father.
Brasil was The Manhattan Transfer's tenth album.This album was a new foray for the group into Brazilian music. During the recording sessions they worked with many songwriters, including Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento, Djavan, and Atlantic records Jazz recording artist Gilberto Gil. After the initial recording sessions, the songs were re-arranged and then fitted with English lyrics. This album won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.