Pedrinho e Seu Conjunto
Um Cavaquinho no Forró
Label: Esquema (PLP-2004)
Release year unknown, probably mid-70s as it was reissued in the early 1980s on a different label (Brasildisc)
01. Um cavaquinho no forró
02. Forró em Paripiranga
04. Macaco na cinza
05. Dance comigo
08. Quatro cordas e cinco dedos
09. Passeio alegre
10. Baião do amor
11. Forró no Ipê
12. Forró em Lagedo Grande
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 > Mono fold down and one additional declicking using Click Repair. Dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag andRename.
Well, the holiday of São João was yesterday and usually signals a winding down of Festa Junina festivities, but falling as it did on a Sunday, a lot of people have off work today. It’s often the case that you’ll find people stretching out the “festas juninas” until the end of the month, after the feast of São Pedro, but things never have the same momentum as they do in the days and weeks leading up to July 24 in my opinion.
So perhaps it is appropriately anticlimactic that I bring you this album today. It’s an interesting idea – an instrumental record of forró with the cavaquinho as the lead instrument instead of a sanfona or eight-button accordion. Luiz Gonzaga was the first artist to incorporate the cavaquinho into his band playing forró pé de serra, xote, and baião in the 1950s, but it rarely stepped out from playing rhythmic accompaniment and counterpoint. On this record, it’s front and center. And sometimes you wish it weren’t. Pedrinho is, in fact, not a particularly engaging cavaquinho player. I could cut the guy — about whom I know squat, as this record gives us squat to go on – a little slack, since the album was probably recorded in an afternoon in a session of single takes, but I’ve heard so many better cavaquinho players in Brazil both on record and in random live performances, it’s hard to be impressed overmuch with Pedrinho beyond the novelty. Flubbed notes, lack of dynamics, and the choice to stick to an entirely “original” repertoire (músicas autoriais, in Portuguese) burdened by almost excruciating repetition make this a 37-minute album best listening to in ten-minute chunks. Nearly every song begins with the same arppregiated chord introduction and most of the tempos are taken at the same loping clip. And, perhaps most importantly, when you strip away the accompaniment of zabumba, triangle, and accordion, what you have here more often than not is a collection of choros. So, choro played as músical regional nordestino, which is a concept that in and of itself can’t sustain a whole album, in my humble opinion of course. It might have helped to allow the accordion to play some solos somewhere, perhaps trading licks with the cavaquinho, rather approaching each song in exactly the same way.
All that being said, this can still be fun. Pick a couple of the better tunes off of it for your next forró party or DJ set and surprise (if not necessarily impress) a few of the avid forró fans. Here are a couple, probably the most technically “authentic” forró on the album —
This year marks the centenary of Nordeste icon, cultural ambassador and artistic master Luiz Gonzaga, born 1912 in Exu, Pernambuco. Naturally he’s received a ton a tributes all year but especially this month. So it would have made sense to present one of his many albums here, even a mediocre one. But since time has been short lately, I was relieved when I stumbled through one of my hard drives and remembered that I had this record half-prepared for a post. I probably started working on it LAST June, and then abandoned it for all the reasons listed above… Anyway, the LP is pretty beat up so I only did a rudimentary restoration and editing because, as the phrase goes, you can’t polish a turd (I’m talking about sound quality now in this case, not the music…). Feel free to rip your own mint-condition copy and post it here…