1 “Elizetheana”: Canção de Amor (Chocolate, Elano de Paula) / Nossos Momentos (Haroldo Barbosa, Luís Reis) / Meiga Presença (Paulo Valdez, Otávio de Moraes) / Apelo (Baden Powell, Vinícius de Moraes) / Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Você (Jobim, Moraes)
2 Faxineira Das Canções (Joyce)
3 Operário Padrão (Cesar Brunetti)
4 Cabelos Brancos (Baden Powell, Paulo C. Pinheiro)
5 Voltei (Baden Powell, Paulo C. Pinheiro)
6 Calmaria E Vendaval (Sereno, Nei Lopes)
7 Valsa Derradeira (Gereba e Capinan)
8 Complexo (Wilson Baptista, M. de Oliveira)
9 Vento De Saudade (Jorge Aragão, Sérgio Fonseca)
10 Luz E Esplendor (Walter Queiroz)
11 Felicidade Segundo Eu (Done Ivone Lara, Nei Lopes)
Produced by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho
Production manager – Lucas Robles
Arrangements by Rildo Hora, Gilson Peranzzetta, Maurício Lana Carrilho, Marcio Mallard, Rafael Rabello
Keyboards by Antonio Adolfo (DX-7, Mirage) and Gilson Peranzzetta (DX-7, Roland JX-8P)
Elton Medeiros on matchbox, Ubirani on Flying Eagle safety razor
Last week I bah-humbuggered the Olympics, but I’m a notorious hypocrite and have been enjoying it in moderation from afar. The first competition I watched was an amazing bicycle race through the bucolic environs of the area around Jardim Botânico, which unfortunately also featured an unnerving accident with a member of the Dutch team. If that race had a soundtrack, it could have been this record. Rumor has it that the some members of the Olympic Organizing committee had some familiarity with Elizeth Cardoso through her many recordings and films, and requested that Fernando Meirelles put her in the opening ceremonies to perform with Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, unaware that she had passed away in 1990. Although briefly discouraged by this news, they immediately realized the opportunity to feature Elizeth’s natural successor to the title of the First Lady of Brazilian Song – Anitta.
I have quite a few of Elizeth’s records that I’ve never shared here and picked this one for no particular reason this week. Recorded only a few years before she passed, it may not be the best introduction to newcomers but it still has lots of lovely music on it that is only mildly marred by 80s MPB production aesthetic. And by mildly I mean it is actually quite amazing how well this has dated, with only the characteristic tones of the Yamaha DX-7, Mirage, and Roland JX-8Ps to tip us off to the era. And I know those specific keyboards were used not only because the DX-7 is iconic and unmistakable, but because they are listed on the back cover, in what has to be one of the strangest cases of specificity in an otherwise extremely vague credits section on this release by the small label Arca. Only the keyboardists and two of the incidental samba percussionists receive musician credits (and include the ever-respectable Antonio Adolfo and Elton Medeiros), while the question of who played anything else is a mystery. Even the special guests are somewhat mysterious, as the photos of the “convidados” are not specifically matched up to the material anywhere on the jacket that I can find. The main thing we are meant to take away from the verbose liner notes from producer Hermínio Bello de Cavalho is that Elizeth’s career spanned half a century by this point (he tells us this repeatedly), her voice is deeper, that they gathered a host of old and new talents together to honor her on this record, and that her house had an infestation of magical squatter, sem-teto elves (seriously, it’s in the notes…. actually he says she is a house inhabited by elves but it loses something in the translation, so I’ll stick with my version). For actual details, you’re on your own. On vocals, Elizeth is kept company mainly on the first and last tracks here. The opening medley, which is a vibrato-laden, casino-style run through of snippets of her vast romantic repertoire with the clever title of Elizetheana, certainly features the late Cauby Peixoto, Maria Bethânia, and probably Nana Caymmi. Alcione puts in an appearance somewhere (Calmaria e Vendavel maybe?). Joyce Moreno (still extremely under-appreciated in Brazil for her magnificent talents) has her photo featured on the back holding a guitar, but in truth seems to have “only” contributed a song written especially for Elizeth – it’s a good one, but there is definitely no guitar on it anywhere.
As you can see from the sparse credits, arrangements were done by a bunch of people including the great Rildo Hora, but we’re left guessing who did exactly what. There is a rendition of Cabelos Brancos, not the classic sung by Silvio Caldas but rather a Baden Powell / Paulo Cesar Pinheiro composition, followed by a very modern-sounding ‘Voltei’ also by Powell / Pinheiro. Perhaps my favorite track here is Wilson Baptista’s Complexo, but that might just be because I love to hear the name Freud pronounced in Portuguese. [Edit: I meant to include a link to her original recording of this tune, from 1950]
One of the cool things about Elizeth was her way of staying contemporary without every really changing her style, in part by including younger (relatively speaking) or less celebrated composers in her repertoire alongside giants like Powell, Baptista, Capinan, or Nei Lopes. I already mentioned Joyce, who has always been much more embraced in Europe than her homeland, but there are also tunes from Cesar Brunetti, Walter Queiroz (who wrote the very fitting title track, beautifully moody), and Jorge Aragão, who by now was a huge celebrity from his work with Fundo de Quintal and his solo albums. The album closes with a composition from sambistas Dona Ivone Lara and Nei Lopes that is pretty wonderful. Paulinho da Viola guests on guitar and vocals, and Dona Ivone can be heard pitching in some yala-yala-ya’s throughout.
To reiterate, if you’ve never spent much time with Elizeth (sometimes spelled Elizete), do yourself a favor and get hold of some of her bonafide classics like the record with Jacob de Bandolim and Zimbo Trio. But this record is nothing shabby either, and she is still at the top of her game vocally. I stumbled on this late-career gem in my collection while organizing some of my stuff and thought, “Why not digitize it?” in spite of the fact that – as the photo makes clear – my copy isn’t in the best of shape. You’ll be hearing some flaws in the audio, but to my knowledge this has never appeared on CD so we might as well enjoy a portable, digital version. I had hoped to share a flurry (or is it a slurry?) of Brazilian posts during the Olympics, but if I only manage to get one done during the actual games, one could do worse than the Grand Dame of Brazilian Song.
16-bit. 44.1 khz