Clara Nunes – Fantástico (2008)


Clara Nunes

Os Musicais do Fantástico das décadas de 70 e 80
Released 2008 Globo – EMI
Approximately 65 minutes

This is an hour-long collection of ‘videoclipes’ from Clara Nunes as shown on the show Fantástico (still on the air) across the peak years of her career. None of these clips are actual live performances, but rather lip-sync’d and mimed for the cameras, so like a lot of analogous programs elsewhere (Beat Club, some of the Old Grey Whistle Test clips) these were like a precursor to today’s “music video.” In this case we get Clara’s resplendent aura and beauty, her afrobrazilian celebration of religiosity, and some pretty amazing clips shot outdoors celebrating the other natural wonders of Brazil aside from Clara herself. There are also a few ‘guest’ appears from the likes of Sivuca and a rather bewildered-looking Adironan Barbosa. Although I am still holding out for some live footage of the great Clara Nunes to surface, this is a fine collection and well worth watching (even if you only watch it once and then file it away for your next cocktail party).



Clara Nunes – Clara Nunes (1971)


CLARA NUNES Released 1971 Odeon/EMI (SMOFB 3667)

01 – Aruandê Aruandá (Zé da Bahia)
02 – Participação (Didier Ferraz / Jorge Belizário)
03 – Meu Lema (João Nogueira / Gisa Nogueira)
04 – Ê Baiana (Fabrício da Silva / Baianinho / Ênio Santos Ribeiro / Miguel Pancrácio)
05 – Puxada da Rede do Xaréu – 1ª Parte (Maria Rosita Salgado Goes)
06 – Novamente (Luis Bandeira)07 – Misticismo da África ao Brasil (Mário Pereira / Wilmar Costa / João Galvão)
08 – Sabiá (Luis Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)09 – Rosa 25 (Geovana)
10 – A Favorita (Francisco Leonardo)
11 – Puxada da Rede do Xaréu – 2ª Parte (Maria Rosita Salgado Goes)
12 – Feitio de Oração (Vadico / Noel Rosa)
13 – Canseira (Paulo Diniz / Odibar) 14 – Morrendo Verso Em Verso (João Nogueira)

This is a vinyl rip from a nice heavy slab of Odeon vinyl. I daresay that this is probably the best-sounding digitized version you are likely to find. I DARE you to find one better, that’s right – I *DARE* YOU! Recently there was an entire boxset of Clara Nunes’ complete recordings released. I have no heard it yet, but if the last reissues I heard were any indication (`Claridade` and `Forças de Natureza’ being the culprits), I do not have terribly high hopes regarding their sound quality. Those two titles literally hurt my ears to listen to on CD — none of the depth and dynamic range of the original recordings are there, with everything sounding as equally loud as everything else, very harsh and painful to the ears.

Oh, the previous owner of this LP wrote their name on the front cover no less than 4 times. I removed it using the magic of Photoshop for this post, but I included the original inside the package, just in case YOU are that person and wish to tell me a story about some memorable experience with this album. They also wrote their name 4 times on the back cover, of which I could only remove 3 using digital trickery.

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 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musica direction – Lindolpho Gaya
Production assistant – Adelzon Alvez
Recording engineer – Jorge E. Nivaldo

Arrangements by Maestros Orlando Silveira, Lindolpho Gaya, Nelsinho, and José Roberto (see back cover for details)


This is Clara Nunes before she was the reigning Queen of Samba during the 1970s. Her earliest albums recorded in the 60s were a combination of MPB, bossa nova, música romántica, and the occasional samba. On this 1971 outing she sounds much more confident than those records; it is as if we are listening to her finding her footing as a mature artist. Fans who know only her samba records, for which she is quite justly more renowned, might be taken aback on first hearing this one, where she incorporates the former elements mentioned above along with frevo, forró, and some jovem quarda and tropicália derivatives. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to hear her ethereal voice in these other contexts. My badly-written description here most likely makes the album sound like a cluttered mess. But as eclectic as it might be stylistically, and featuring arrangements by no less than four maestros (one of them the ubiquitous Gaya), it all hangs together by virtue of one overwhelming unifying factor — Clara Nunes. The baião from Zé Dantas and Luis Gonzaga, ‘Sabiá’, is particularly great, and Clara would make something of a tradition of including at least one tune from the forró genre on all her records throughout the decade. Luis Bandeira’s “Novamente,” is a frevo that, like 90% of the songs in that genre, celebrate the virtues of the ‘Venice of South America,’ Recife, and praises composers Nelson Ferreira and Capiba. Clara does the song justice.

This record is historically important for at least two main reasons. One is that it is the first of her albums to prominently feature sounds and imagery from the Afro-Brazilian traditions to which Clara would become more and more involved with throughout the decade. Compared to her later musical explorations in this area, these efforts are a bit clumsy. One awkward clunker on the album is “Misticismo da África ao Brasil” whose lyrics play like they were written for a tourist agency trying to attract people interested in Afro-Brazilian roots and heritage. The original liner notes of the LP mention how the album includes material highlighting “Clara’s new audiovisual image” incorporating these “folkloric” elements or some such drivel. But, to give producer Adelzon Alvez (who wrote the notes) a fair break, these were significant valorizations of the cultural values associated with African religious practices like those of candomblé and the more eclectic (and less Afrocentric) umbanda by a public figure and pop star. Alongside the awkward ‘Misticismo’, there is also a moody, theatrical inclusion of a 2-part piece written by Maria Rosita Salgado Goes (about whom I have no information other than she was Bahian and I believe taught music or poetry at UFBA), titled “Puxada da Rede do Xaréu” and divided with one part on each side of the LP… It’s very very much in the style of Dorival Caymmi’s songs about fisherman and fishing and Iemanjá. I don’t particularly like it much and would much rather hear Clara singing a Caymmi composition.

The second historically important thing about this record is the inclusion of two songs by João Nogueira (one co-written with his sister Giselle), who was then an up-and-coming “discovery” and would release his first album the following year.

The record also features a totally groovy interpretation of a Paulo Diniz tune, whose Englishness of approach in the strummy acoustic guitar, raggedy drum beat, and sustained organ chords must have made her fellow Mineiros in the Clube da Esquina collective wet their pants with excitement.

Samba purists will not find this album essential at all, but fans of Clara Nunes as an *artist* should not miss this entry in her discography.

p.s. This is for Andrew.

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Clara Nunes – Claridade (1975)


Released 1975

1-O mar serenou (Candeia)
2-Sofrimento de quem ama (Alberto Lonato)
3-A deusa dos Orixás (Toninho – Romildo)
4-Juizo final (Élcio Soares – Nelson Cavaquinho)
5-Tudo é ilusão (Tufy Lauar – Eden Silva – Anibal da Silva)
6-Valsa de realejo (Guinga – Paulo César Pinheiro
7-Bafo de boca (Paulo César Pinheiro – João Nogueira)
😯 último bloco (Candeia)
9-Ninguém tem que achar ruim (Ismael Silva)
10-Às vezes faz bem chorar (Ivor Lancellotti)
11-Vai amor (W.Rosa – Monarco)
12-Que seja bem feliz (Cartola)

I am in love with Clara Nunes, who left us far too early at the age of 39. Her voice just instantly puts me in a better place, no matter what is going on or where I am. There’s not too many people I can say that about, not even Elis Regina, whose own turmoil bubbles beneath the passionate surface of her recorded works in a way that the attuned ear can pick up on fairly quickly. While Regina’s music is often playful, joyous, even transcendent, there is also a deep melancholy. Not so for Clara Nunes, whose saddest songs are still somehow cheerful. Perhaps it was her strong spirituality grounded in Candomblé, which after all is at the roots of samba. She shares this optimism, even when tearful, with those samba composers whose work she so lovingly committed to wax — Candeia, Monarco, Cartola: some of the great poets of the Portuguese language and masters of melodic subtlety. Clara Nunes opened the way for a host of sambistas (female samba singers) of the “samba revival” of the 1970s like Alcione and Beth Carvalho. Clara’s earliest recordings honestly do not do much for me. But she really hit her artistic stride in the early 70s, probably peaking with 1974’s “Alvorecer”. This album, Claridade, follows that one and while it might not be quite the milestone that Alvorecer was, it is still one of her strongest records, consistent in the quality of its arrangements, production, performance, and of coarse, Clara’s sonorous, soaring voice.

Clara Nunes “Claridade” (EMI-Odeon, 1975)
A lovely, solid ’70s style samba album, with lovely, clear melodies and — oh! — that heavenly voice! A swirly string section kicks in on the end of Side One, but it hardly gets in the way… Basically this is yet another fine album, with songs by all the usual crowd — Nelson Cavaquinho, Monarco, Candeia and Cartola. She slows down on a couple of tunes, and these ballads add a little variety to the mix. Recommended!

Trabalhava numa fábrica quando resolveu participar do concurso A Voz de Ouro ABC, em que foi vencedora na etapa mineira e terceiro lugar na final, em São Paulo, em 1959. A partir de então conseguiu um emprego em uma rádio de Belo Horizonte e se apresentava em casas noturnas da cidade. Em 1965 mudou-se para o Rio de Janeiro, onde gravou seu primeiro disco, com repertório de boleros e sambas-canções. Depois de alguns álbus ainda com gênero indefinido, firmou-se no samba nos anos 70. Em 74, seu LP vendeu cerca de 300 mil cópias, graças ao sucesso do samba “Conto de Areia” (Romildo/ Toninho). Fio um recorde para a época, que rompeu com o tabu de que cantora não vendia discos e estimulou outras gravadoras que investissem em sambistas (mulheres) como Alcione, que gravou seu primeiro LP em 75 e Beth Carvalho, que transferiu-se para uma grande fábrica, a RCA, em 76. Os discos que se seguiram a transformaram em uma das três rainhas do samba dos anos 80, ao lado das outras duas referidas intérpretes. Clara gravou desde sambas-enredos até composições de Caymmi e Chico Buarque. Na segunda metade da década, lançou um disco por ano, todos com grandes vendas e gravações históricas, como as de “Juízo Final” (Nelson Cavaquinho/ Élcio Soares), “Coração Leviano” (Paulinho da Viola) e “Morena de Angola” (Chico Buarque). Ficou famosa também por suas canções calcadas em temas do Candomblé, sua religião, e por sua indumentária caracaterística, sempre de branco e com colares e missangas de origem africana. Morreu prematuramente após uma cirurgia malsucedida, causando consternação popular. Outros sucessos: “Você Passa e Eu Acho Graça” (Ataulfo Alves/Carlos Imperial), “Ê Baiana”, “Ilu Ayê – Terra da Vida”, “Tristeza, Pé no Chão” (Armando Gonçalves Mamâo), “A Deusa dos Orixás”, “Macunaíma”, “O Mar Serenou” (Candeia), “As Forças da Natureza” (João Nogueira/ Paulo César Pinheiro), “Guerreira”, “Feira de Mangaio” (Sivuca/ Glorinha Gadelha), “Portela na Avenida” (Mauro Duarte/ Paulo César Pinheiro), “Nação” (João Bosco/ Aldir Blanc)