Joyce – Feminina (1980) (EMI Japan 2016)

folderJoyce
Feminina

Recorded     January 1980
Original release on Odeon
This reissue: EMI JAPAN / UICY-76389

1.     “Feminina”       (Joyce)     3:48
2.     “Mistérios”       (Joyce, Maestro)     4:32
3.     “Clareana”       (Joyce )    2:50
4.     “Banana”       (Joyce)     4:16
5.     “Revendo Amigos”      ( Joyce)     3:20
6.     “Essa Mulher”       (Joyce, Terra)     3:32
7.     “Coração de Criança”       (Joyce, Leporace)     3:13
8.     “Da Cor Brasileira”       (Joyce, Terra)     2:12
9.     “Aldeia de Ogum”       (Joyce)     4:34
10.     “Compor”       (Joyce )    2:19

Joyce – Vocals, guitar, arrangements
Fernando Leporace – Bass, vocals
Tutti Moreno – Drums, percussion
Mauro Senise – Flute, saxophones
Lize Bravo – Vocals
Claudio Guimaraes – Guitar
Gilson Peranzzetta – Arrangements
Helio Delmiro – Guitar
Paulo Guimaraes, Jorginho, Danilo Caymmi – Flute
Helvius Vilela – Piano

Producer     Jose Milton
Arrangements –  Maurício Maestro


The somewhat ufanista groover “Banana” which can also double as a shopping list.  This song (and Clareana as well) dates back to earlier sessions she had done with Maurício Maestro that also featured Naná Vasconcelos

It is Easter Monday and that is as good a reason as any for F.Vibes to revive a little.  I suppose if you were to compare Joyce (né Joyce Moreno) to anyone in the Anglo-American musical universe, it might be Joni Mitchell.  Both are phenomenal songwriters and instrumentalists in a male-dominated field where women are often confined to the roles of vocalist and/or window dressing.  Both of them are also quite beautiful women who declined to use their sensuality to sell records.  How that may or may not relate to their career paths, which often perched between cult status and superstar, is something I will leave others to ponder.  While there is no doubt that Joyce has done quite well for herself, she probably has more name recognition outside her home country, particularly in Europe and Japan where she is something of an ambassador for Brazilian musical sophistication and the style called “hard bossa” that she plays.  In Brazil she may be best known for the big hit off this album, Clareana.  It was written for her children and ebullient with the nearly manic joys of motherhood, a song that impresses by its loveliness at first but may become a sticking point on later listens.  By which I mean your audio player of choice may seem like it’s been dunked in sticky honey or molasses for that 2 minutes and 50 seconds while you wait for the album to move on to more nutritious fare.  The album also features a song that would become one of Elis Regina’s last hits in her truncated life, “Essa Mulher”, which (it almost goes without saying ) is performed here by Joyce with less of the wild-eyed intensity that Elis gave to it. Feminina is a milestone in Joyce’s career and has top-notch performances from everyone involved (especially her future husband, Tutti Moreno), and exquisite arrangements from Maurício Maestro.  But it also stays in pretty safe territory, exhibiting little of the experimentalism of some of her earlier work.  I suppose this is what some critics would then call a more “mature sound,” whatever that means.  It is certainly top-shelf MPB in an era when many of the big names of that genre were in a bit of a slump, and has gobs of the excitement and energy of youth that had been bled from some of her contemporaries

I’ve been slacking with posting here on this blog lately, and since this album has been on the “to do list” for years, I’m not quite satisfied with my little summary above.  Not that I ever consider these posts to be the final word about anything, but I figure I will feature this interesting take on Feminina found on another blog, which I am including here with full attribution, and without correcting their typos or errors in the Portuguese.  Here it goes:


From Tinymixtapes.com
http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/joyce-feminina

In 1980, Brazil still held some semblance of a military government. Public life was, in some ways free, although one could be sure that the eyes and ears of Big Brother were always near. Strong notions of machismo prevented women from assuming positions of societal power or influence. And the carioca singer, Joyce Silveira Palhano de Jesus released Feminina. The album’s creation was no act of innocence. Joyce’s music had been censored amid Brazil’s tense political situation through out the 1970’s; forcing her to record offshore in Italy and New York. Feminina initially met a similar reception, through its confrontation with political and social authoritarianism, even though the album stabbed at the eye of repression in Brazil without uttering a syllable of contempt. In fact there’s no rancor to be found in her words at all. Rather, Joyce used a far more cunning confrontational device: celebration.

Feminina, with its infusion of samba and jazz into a palate of jubilant traditional folk, celebrates being a woman; as well as being Brazilian. It’s an ode to the souls and the intellect hidden away by failed governments and their over zealous censorship. The quick, merry acoustic guitar of the opening title song warms us to Joyce’s cause. There is the sweetest plea in her voice as she asks “O mao/Me explica/Me ensina/Me diz/O que e feminine (Oh mother/Explain to me/Teach me/Tell me/What is a woman).” All the while flutes and a Latin rhythm section climb and fall like gulls above the ocean. “Banana” and “Aldeia de ogum” continue in this vain with thrilling cascades of Joyce’s vocals and frenetic strum patterns. The album’s centerpiece, however, is the thoroughly enchanting, “Clareana.” Written as a lullaby for her two daughters, (Clara and Ana) the song wisps and soars with Joyce’s idiosyncratic gentleness. It’s easy to imagine Joyce sitting at the side of her daughter’s bed, lightly stroking her hairs telling her, “No sol de manha/Novelo de la/No ventre de mae/Bate o coracao de Clara, Ana (The morning sun/A ball of yarn/In the mother’s womb/It beats like the heart of Clara, Ana).”

Upon the release of Feminina, Joyce was already an accomplished musician, playing in bands since the mid 1970’s and having performed with such stars as Gal Costa and Vinicius de Moaes. To say that she adopted elements of jazz, bossa, samba, and blues into her bare acoustic melodies would be a gross miscue. Instead, she bore these styles into something new. For this reason Feminina, as well as many of her other albums retain a fresh identity; undergoing a perpetual evolution and never aspiring to record anything static and crystalline. In 1985, the moribund military government of Brazil was voted out of power. Democracy returned and Brazilian’s could be left again to collectively determine the course of their country. As a rich culture heritage re-emerged to the world so did the carioca singer, Joyce.


Okay then.  Have a listen and see what you think for yourself.


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Elizeth Cardoso – Luz e Esplendor (1986)

01 - Elizeth FrontElizeth Cardoso
Luz e Esplendor
Arca – 803.1008

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)
    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)

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Dolores Duran – Canta Para Você Dançar (1957)

Dolores Duran – Canta Para Você Dançar…
1957 Copacabana CLP 11011
2010 reissue EMI 967873-2

1 Scapricciatiello
(F. Albano, P. Vento)
2 Por causa de você
(Dolores Duran, Tom Jobim)
3 Ohô-ahâ
(Kurt Feltz, Heinz Gletz)
4 Quem foi?
(Jorge Tavares, Nestor de Holanda)
5 Feiura não é nada
(Billy Blanco)
6 Que murmuren
(Ruben Fuentes, Rafael Cardenas)
7 Coisas de mulher
(Chico Baiano)
8 Viens
(G.Becaud, C.Aznavour)
9 Conceição
(Dunga, Jair Amorim)
10 Se papai fôsse eleito
(Billy Blanco)
11 Mi último fracaso
(Alfredo Gil)
12 Camelot
(Billy Blanco)
13 Only you
(A. Rand, B.Ram)
14 Estatuto de boite
(Billy Blanco)

Remastered by Luigi Hoffer and Carlos Savalla

Dolores Duran (1930-1959), not only had an unforgettable voice but also composed a lot of her best material.  A central figure in the early bossa nova scene, she succumbed to the occupational hazards of the bohemian lifestyle, dying in her sleep from a heart attack at 29 years old after an evening of music, drinking, and barbiturates.  Her lamentably short career left an solid recorded legacy but, having left this world so young, she is less celebrated outside Brazil than some of her bossa nova contemporaries who lived long enough to benefit from the global infatuation with the genre.  Here is a recording of her singing a song she co-wrote with Tom Jobim, released in 1957 on the LP featured in this post.

But Duran’s professional career reached back before the dawn of bossa to when a nightclub singer had to be able to sing a little of everything and have a broad repertoire.  That is reflected in choice of songs included here, which span foxtrots, boleros, rumbas, and of course samba.  Stylistic variation blurs into cosmopolitan sophistication too, as you realize that she sings in no less than six languages here.  In addition to her native Portuguese, she sings in Italian, Spanish, French, English, and Scat.  I don’t speak all these languages and am in no place to judge her
elocution, but as far as music is the language of love I deem Dolores to
have been more than fluent.  One fantastic track among these, which I highly recommend for your next dance party, is the French rumba number (how can you go wrong?) “Viens.”  The only English song is a rendition of The Platters “Only You.”  Here’s some side-by-side listening for you:

Oh and why the hell not, one more for good measure (sorry Ringo!):

I think Dolores’ version carries its weight quite well, and her English is lovely (although a Portuguese rewrite would have made it stand out more, and of course automatically make it more romantic, because it’s a Latin language, yo).  Apparently Duran had none other than Ella Fitzgerald in the audience at one of her performances, who complimented her version of “My Funny Valentine.” Man what heady days to have been hanging around the nightclubs of Rio.

The notes assert that the selection is culled from the most popular numbers in her repertoire, tried and tested in clubs, on the radio, at festivals, in films, and wherever else she could perform.  I believe it.  Everything here is sung with an easy confidence and charm of someone who knows her audience.  Her charm is so infectious, and her talent so seemingly effortless.  In addition to the collaboration with Jobim above, she also interprets first-rate sambas by the Titulares do Ritmo (“Coisas de Mulher”), and Dunga with Jair Amorim (“Conceição, originally recorded by Gaúcho vocal group Conjunto Farroupilha but immortalized by Cauby Peixoto a year before Dolores’ made her version).  There are two tunes penned by Billy Blanco here.  The first is “Feiura não é nada” (or “Ugliness ain’t no thang”), a satirical take on vanity, the transformative powers of the cosmetic industry, and its noble fight to eradicate world ugliness.  As far as I know the song was written specifically for Dolores to sing, which is the only way it comes off as humorous.  Blanco is brilliant but the humor in this song bugs me a little as a write this, but perhaps I am a bit tender on the topic of chauvinist, machista humor lately. Have you seen the guy in the 50’s? Here, have a look at Billy:

It may be just because there is a currently a hedgehog with a hair-weave running as a
candidate for Leader Of The Free World right now, and I’m burned out on
casual sexism, but I don’t think Billy was in any position of aesthetic or sartorial superiority.

There is very little footage of her performing live aside from some scenes in musical chanchada films, but I can imagine her commanding a room with her presence.  I also wonder about the impact of her passing on the other rising divas of the day.  As young as Dolores was, she was actually five years older than contemporaries like Maysa and Alaíde Costa and, as we know, in young person time that made her, like, way old, dude.  Was she a figure that these other singers looked up to, or were they rivals?  I suppose I will have to read Rodrigo Faour’s biography to find that out.

Like many successful Long Player collections of the day, this one had a “part two” which I just may share with you in good time.  Meanwhile, one last comparison.  Here is Cauby Peixoto, before he became the inspiration for Austin Powers, singing “Conceição”, followed by Dolores’ version.


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Nara Leão – “Descontrolada” (1976) unreleased single!

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Well this is a new thing for the blog, the first time I have ever hosted a “leaked” track unavailable elsewhere, and hopefully it won’t get us shut down after managing to survive this many years.
The track below was deemed unsuitable for release on the rarities discs included with the recent 2103 Nara Leão boxset, and was passed along to me by an audio engineer in friend in São Paulo who made me swear never to share it with anyone except at home through a stereo.  Well that guy turned out to be a royal prick so I am disregarding the promise now.

In the mid-1970s, Nara had gone into semi-retirement in order to raise her children and eventually pursue a degree in psychology.  I suppose the urge to perform in someone as creatively powerful as Nara doesn’t just go dormant, and the retirement didn’t last all that long by today’s standards. These days it is normal for pop stars to release one record every three years, because they are mostly overpaid lazy fucks,   but it must have seemed an eternity to her fans back in the day.   She returned to recording with a deliberately nostalgic work looking back to the golden age of Brazilian song, hence the title, Meu Primeiro Amor (“My First Love”).  It is a great record but probably came across a bit anachronistic in  light of the whirlwind of changes – social, musical, political – that had swept across Brazil in the decade leading up to it: changes which, of course, Nara played pivotal and multiple roles as a cultural and musical icon.  Given how the newly-uncovered track featured here lay buried for almost forty years with no indication that it ever existed, it is difficult to say if this recording session was simply an attempt by Nara to musically invent herself, to experiment with new sounds, or maybe to make a little cash with a more contemporary-sounding single.  Whatever the case, she apparently did not care for the resulting recording and disowned it.

For the session, she chose João Donato to work out the arrangements and take on production duties  (he would later end up producing her next album, Os Meus Amigos São Um Barato ).   The complete personnel on this track is unknown, but what little was written on the insert inside the tape reel documents that the session involved Hyldon and Cassiano on guitar, both seminal figures in the Brazilian soul scene of the mid-70s, and the melody sounds like one or both of them may have a writing credit here.  And though I can’t prove it, I swear I can hear their friend Tim Maia on backing vocals.  Normally his voice overtakes everyone else on every session he was ever on, however, so maybe they just kept him really far from the microphone or made him sing in the hallway.  The tune starts out with a throwback nod to her bossa-cum-capoeira heyday, but the intro is just an illusion that does not prepare the listener for what comes next: some of the most funky pieces of music to be made in Brazil in the mid-70s, music that is so forward-thinking it wouldn’t sound out of place on the radio decades later.   All that being said, as incredible as it is to have an unissued track from Nara Leão with these unlikely collaborators, I can understand why she chose not to release it.  Her voice just isn’t particularly suited to funk and soul music, and although she did have a reputation for iconoclasm in the 60s, perhaps in the mid 70s she opted not to jeopardize her good standing as a canonical MPB singer by attempting a polemical style like funky samba soul, especially with such sexual overtones.  She even chose to sing, rather awkwardly, in English, which would have further enraged much of her devoted following.

So here is the track, titled “Descontrolada”, and if it doesn’t get this blog shut down for good, I hope to see you all soon in another post.  If the gods have mercy, I promise to post more often than I have been lately.

Jamelão – A Voz do Samba Vol. 2 (2002)

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Jamelão
A Voz do Samba, Volume 2
2002 Warner Brasil (092745933-2)


1. Vingança
2. Nervos de aço
3. Ela disse-me assim
4. Exemplo
5. Volta
6. Nunca
7. Meu natal
8. Torre de babel
9. Meu barraco
10. Loucura
11. Cadeira vazia
12. Esses moços (Pobres moços)
13. Quem há de dizer
14. Sozinha

All songs composed by Lupicínio Rodrigues, with the following tracks featuring co-authors: “Meu Barraco” with Leduvy de Pina; “Cadeira Vazia”  and “Quam Há De Dizer”  with Alcides Gonçalves.

Original recordings spanning from 1959 to 1987.

————————

In my last post on Jamelão, Volume 1 of this anthology, I was pretty emphatic in my disinterest for hearing an entire hour of samba-enredos back to back, as well as my belief that the record didn’t really do justice to Jamelão.  The man himself would probably have disagreed with me; at least regarding the first part of this complaint, because he was in fact exalted as a master of the form of samba enredo.  But I’ll continue to stand by the second half of my gripe:  the “Jamelão I know and love” is right here on THIS disc, which begins in the 1950s and is comprised entirely of compositions from his friend Lupicínio Rodrigues.  The 50s were an auspicious time for Jamelão:  he moved from the Sintér label to Discos Continental and began working with the wonderful Orchestra Tabajara, with whom he criss-crossed Brazil and made it as far as France on tour.  It was while touring with Tabajara that he crossed paths with Lupicínio in Porto Alegre, and soon after the two began a partnership that would make their names practically synonymous with each other.  A great many artists have recorded memorable versions of Lupicínios work, some preceding Jamelão like Orlando Silva and Francisco Alves, and many who followed him – two tracks on this collection, “Nervos de aço” and “Volta” both received impressive renditions by Paulinho da Viola and Gal Costa, respectively, which I happened to be listening to recently because I have become fixated on the magical year of 1973 for some reason.  The list of other renditions of these tunes would doubtless be quite large, but it was the voice of Jamelão that made Lupicínio Rodrigues a household name and etched him in the collective consciousness.  Orchestra Tabajara, who had relocated from Paraiba to Rio right about the time Jamelão approached them with songs to record, pull off some swinging performances with inventive arrangements.  Pianist and bandleader Severino Araújo,  could give the ubiquitous Maestro Gaya a run for his money.  The brass charts are all delicious, and check out the jazzy interplay on “Vingança” or “Meu barraco.”  

This collection is so good that I even like the tracks recorded in the 1980s, so often a decade of embarrassment for artists whose careers began elsewhere in time.   As is sadly typical of Brazilian reissues, this collection is sparse on detailed notes, apart from a brief text written by the stalwart Tarik de Souza.   Seems like typical record label suits skimping on the artistic patrimony of a giant like Jamelão who deserves better.  The dodgy mastering job is credited to a generic “Oficína de Áudio e Video”, and some of the cuts from the 60s sound like they had reverb added to them.   This was probably done to give more continuity to the collection – indeed, it is hard to distinguish what decade each song was recorded in without peeking at the credits – but this is also due as much to the infallible integrity of Jamelão and Orchestra Tabajara, without the “help” of any digital enhancement.   


Sometime this year I will post some of the Continental LPs I have Jamelão. I posted about the first disc in this series here.  And you can find more of his stuff at Orfãos do Loronix.

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