Candeia – Luz da Inspiração and Axé (1976-78)

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CANDEIA
Dose Dupla (2 on 1)
Luz da Inspiração (1976) and
Axé! Gente Amiga do Samba (1978)

LUZ DA INSPIRAÇÃO
1977 Atlantic/WEA

1 Riquezas do Brasil (Brasil poderoso)
(Waldir 59, Candeia)   
2 Maria Madalena da Portela
(Aniceto)   
3 Olha o samba sinhá (Samba de roda)
(Candeia)   
4 Vem menina moça
(Candeia)   
5 Nova escola
(Candeia)   
6 Já curei minha dor
(Padeirinho)   
7 Luz da inspiração
(Candeia)   
8 Me alucina
(Candeia, Wilson Moreira)   
9 Falso poder (Ser ou não ser)
(Candeia)   
10 Era quase madrugada
(Casquinha, Candeia)   
11 Cabocla Jurema
(Candeia)   
12 Pelo nosso amor
(Cartola)   

AXÉ! GENTE AMIGA DO SAMBA
Candeia   
1978 Atlantic/WEA

1 Pintura sem arte
(Candeia)   
2 Ouro desça do seu trono
(Paulo da Portela)   
Mil reis (Candeia-Noca)

3 Vivo isolado do mundo
(Alcides Malandro Histórico)   
Amor não é brinquedo (Candeia-Martinho da Vila)

4 Zé Tambozeiro [Tambor de Angola]
(Vandinho, Candeia)   
5 Dia de graça
(Candeia)   
6 Gamação
(Candeia)   
Peixeiro granfino (Bretas-Candeia)
Ouço uma voz (Nelson Amorim)
Vem amenizar (Candeia-Waldir 59)

OMITTED FROM CD VERSION – 7 O invocado
(Casquinha)   
Beberrão (Aniceto do Império-Mulequinho)

______________________________________________________________

Dia de Graça
Hoje é manhã de carnaval (ao esplendor)
As escolas vão desfilar (garbosamente)
Aquela gente de cor com a imponência de um rei, vai pisar na passarela (salve a Portela)
Vamos esquecer os desenganos (que passamos)
Viver alegria que sonhamos (durante o ano)
Damos o nosso coração, alegria e amor a todos sem distinção de cor
Mas depois da ilusão, coitado
Negro volta ao humilde barracão
Negro acorda é hora de acordar
Não negue a raça
Torne toda manhã dia de graça
Negro não se humilhe nem humilhe a ninguém
Todas as raças já foram escravas também
E deixa de ser rei só na folia e faça da sua Maria uma rainha todos os dias
E cante o samba na universidade
E verás que seu filho será príncipe de verdade
Aí então jamais tu voltarás ao barracão

It’s the 13th of May, a holiday in Brazil commemorating the abolition of slavery in 1888, when Princess Isabel found it in her benevolent, saintly heart to “free the slaves.”  Commemorations only work well when you exclude the inconvenient, which in this case would involve decades of debt peonage, landlessness, discrimination, and systemic racism shielded by a self-serving myth of so-called ‘racial democracy’ (“Brazil does not have a race problem, it has a class problem…”).  It is inconvenient for commemorations to pay attention to the harassment of people of color simply for being in the “wrong place” (like a shopping mall), to the militarization of the slums to make sure that people “know their place,” or if that still doesn’t work, vigilante citizens chasing and beating a teenage petty thief, stripping him naked and then chaining him to a lamppost with a bike lock.  Inconvenient that all of these last items have happened in the 21st century, in spite of provisions in Brazil’s 1988 constitution that make racism and racial discrimination a crime punishable by prison time, but which is of course never enforced.  It’s also probably best not to think about the voluminous documentation of forced slave labor and human rights abuses in the remote interior of the country (mind you, as an occasionally pedantic American historian insisted to me once, this is “not the same as the chattel slavery” of the transatlantic slave trade.. She’s right, but she was also kind of missing the point). 

So with all that in mind, a blog post of music by Candeia might be better suited for the holiday commemorating the death of Zumbi of Palmares rather than this patriotic flag-waving, parade-holding one.   After all Candeia did found his own samba organization called Grêmio Recreativo de Arte Negra e Samba Quilombo.  The song “Dia de Graça” is a gorgeous little composition, whose lyrics (cited above) trace a hopeful, somewhat utopian vision that messes with the classic “inversion” theme of carnival that is a beloved subject of erudite analysis from Bakhtin to Roberto DaMatta to that annoying book by Alma Guillermoprieto.  That well-trodden debate tended to be framed as:  Is the upside-down, burlesque and irreverent world of carnival – where the poor and dispossessed could dress and act like aristocrats or royalty –  a kind of social critique made by those whose voices were historically silenced, or was it a kind of ‘steam valve’ to release the bottled-up tensions of a hierarchical society to prevent them from erupting into genuine chaos and disorder.   Candeia’s poem, however, is from the point of view of the people who participate in the courtly procession of the samba school, which has roots stretching back to the black brotherhoods of Our Lady of the Rosary and the coronation ceremonies of the Congo Kings of the colonial period.  My ‘free’ translation with no attempt to maintain meter or rhyme, hence laid out as a paragraph here:


It’s carnival morning in all its splendor, the samba schools are going to parade in their elegance; these people of color with the majesty of kings are going to stride along the concourse (hail Portela!). Forget our troubles and suffering that we’ve lived through, live the happiness that we dream of all year long, give our hearts, happiness, and love to everyone with no regard for their color.  But when the illusion is over, poor thing, the black man returns to his humble shack.  Black man wake up, it’s time to wake up.  Don’t deny your race.  Make every morning your day of grace and freedom.  Black man don’t be humiliated and don’t humiliate anyone else, all of the races were also once slaves.  Stop being a king only in the pageant and make your Maria a queen for all days.  Sing samba in the universities, and see that your son can be a true prince in real life, and then you will never again have to return to that humble shack.

Samba has no shortage of bittersweet  songs about carnival, but I can’t think of too many that also sneak in jarringly direct negations of the supposed inferiority of black people with a line like “todas as raças já foram escravas também.”  It’s a we-shall-overcome expression of racial uplift clothed in the silk and velvet of Louis the XV.

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“Dia de Graça” is from Candeia’s greatest album, “Axé – gente amiga de samba”  recorded shortly before he died.  He was a samba purist in the era of the commercialized spectacle that would culminate in the building of the Sambadrome, disillusioned with the direction of the samba schools were taking.  His father was a flautist who played choro and was part of Portela’s first comisão da frente. In his own words, Candeia was something of an intermediary between the generations, bridging the two Paulos – the original Paulo de Portela, and the great Paulinho da Viola.  You can see both Candeia and Paulinho (although not at the same time) in this amazing short film by Leon Hirszman called Partido Alto

The first half of this film centers around Candeia holding court from his throne of a wheelchair, giving a didactic demonstration of the partido alto style, its base in improvisation and similarity to Northeastern repente or embolada, different ways to sing it and dance it.  Check out the posters from Senegal on the walls behind them, which are very possibly from the first Festival of Black Arts held in Dakar in 1966 which had a big Brazilian contingent.  The second half, “In the house of Manacéia” captures as well as any film can the informal cauldron of creativity at a Sunday lunch of feijoada and samba with the old guard, seemingly extending quite long into the evening.  Paulinho, in the only narration in the film placed at the very end, talks about how from a very young age he saw partido alto as a type of communion, a participatory rite in which everyone could enter in their own way of improvising.  He remarks how “today” (i.e. the latter half of the 70s), samba had so many external obligations, emphasizing the “spectacle” at the expense of the sambistaReturning to the partido alto was a way to stay grounded in samba’s authentic roots.  The concept of “authenticity” is one that has preoccupied me on this blog and in other writing that I don’t put here.  Typically, along with my fellow travelers, I am preoccupied with the way elites have created and sustained the notion of an “authentic” form of culture, excluding much in the process, at the service of one or another ideology (both conservative and revolutionary).   What I’ve been interested in lately is the different ways that the idea of “authenticity” is used by participants themselves of a given form of cultural expression as a way to safeguard against the cooptation of outsiders.  Of course this gets hopelessly complicated when we have to consider state interventions that designate “patrimony,” and partido alto received that official recognition by IPHAN in 2007.  Journalist Lena Frias points out on the back cover of “Axé” that Candeia launched his Samba Quilombo foundation without any reference to the “whitening” of the art form that was a polemic at the time, and cites lyrics to show that he wasn’t interested in excluding anyone from the world of samba based on skin color.  A valid observation, but it doesn’t contradict in any way that Candeia felt pretty strongly about defending the black, Afro-Brazilian roots of the art form.

 When I first did some blog posts of Candeia records I was mildly chastised by a French blogger friend for not having written more at length about the greatness and importance of this important artist.  Naturally this discouraged me from posting anything else about Candeia for the better part of two years – What is it with these French dudes and their impressive 5000-word posts about samba, ain’t nobody got time for that!

Anyway, it is a non-trivial travesty that the Brazilian recording industry (and/or its multinational overlords) let this album stay out of print for decades.  Too add insult to injury, when Warner finally did reissue this album, as part of a double disc set including both of his Atlantic records, they left off the final track for no reason that I can discern.  Possibly an issue over publishing rights, but it could also just as likely be pure negligence or sloppiness on their part.  This was sort of a budget release (R$30 when it came out, now going for  R$20), but doesn’t even bother with even a blurb of text from Tarik de Souza, let alone actual liner notes.  I hate to praise EMI for anything but their budget series of 2-em-1 CDs from the early 00’s did much better in this regard.  It also fails to note the participation of other great sambistas like Dona Ivone Lara, Manaceá, Clementina de Jesus, and Aniceto de Império who all sing on different tracks.  Seriously, none of these people get mentioned anywhere on the CD.   I will say one good thing about this reissue – the remastering is quite nice and a huge improvement over the garbage reissues that the label Discobertas put out.

Which reminds me that I’ve yet to offer a single word about the other album in this set, Luz da Inspiração from 1976.  It is a fine album in its own right,  overshadowed by Axé but a very different record in a lot of ways.  Opening with the samba enredo of “Riquezas do Brasil”, it also has some first-rate offerings in the partido alto style – “Maria Madalena de Portela,” “Olha o samba, sinhá,” and “Vem menina moça.”  There are slower tunes too, almost samba-canção, like “Me alucina” and the title song whose arrangements have flavors of the Golden Age of samba (and, incidentally, a lyric about slaves transformed into kings).  The tune “Nova Escola” seems like it had his new foundation Quilombo in mind.  A few tunes have a more ‘samba de asfalto’ style like the work of Paulinho da Viola or João Nogueira, and then there’s the spare spiritism of “Caboclo Jurema.”

“Luz de Inspiração” is a more stylistically diverse album than “Axé” but also less cohesive as an artistic statement.  “Axé” really shows Candeia firing on all cylinders, with writing partners spanning his entire lifetime as a sambista, from Paulo de Portela to Martinho da Vila.  In fact the album deserves a post all to itself, but I will either leave that to the French, or perhaps I will make another one using a vinyl needledrop since it has ALL THE SONGS ON IT for fuch’s sake…

This blog post doesn’t really come around full circle to 13 de Maio or anything like that.  It’s a day for parades and for getting drunk.  Freedom is never “granted” by princesses or politicians.  Everyone knows that.

Ataulfo Alves – Vida de Minha Vida, Vol. 1 (1933 -1956)

VIDA DE MINHA VIDA – ATAULFO ALVES VOL. 1
Ataulfo Alves 1993 Revivendo (RVCD 086)

1 Sexta-feira (Almirante, 1933)
2 Saudades do meu barracão  (Floriano Belham, 1935)
3 O coração não envelhece  (Ataulfo Alves e Seu Estado Maior, 1950)
4 Teus olhos  (Aurora Miranda, 1939)

5 Mulher, toma juízo (Gilberto Alves, 1938)
6 Canção do nosso amor  (Déo. 1939)
7 Não irei lhe buscar (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1944)
8 Fale mal, mas fale de mim  (Aracy de Almeida. 1939)
9 Até breve  (Sylvio Caldas, 1937)
10 Vida de minha vida  (Ataulfo Alves, 1949)
11 Mensageiro da saudade  (Elisete Cardoso, 1950)
12 Eu não sabia  (Anjos do Inferno, 1943)
13 Rainha da beleza  (Orlando Silva, 1937))
14 Mártir no amor  (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastores, 1945)
15 Mulher do Seu Oscar  (Odete Amaral, 1940)
16 Mil corações  (Nuno Roland, 1938)
17 Quanta tristeza! (Carlos Galhado, 1937)
18 Quem me deve me paga  (Ataulfo e Suas Pastores, 1956)
19 Errei sim (Dalva de Oliveira, 1950)
20 Pelo amor que eu tenho a ela  (Francisco Alves, 1936)
21 Pai Joaquim d’Angola  (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1955)

Produced by Leon Barg
Engineering – Ayrton Pisco

Recordings originally made for the following labels: Odeon, RCA Victor, Columbia, Star, and Sínter


Ataulfo Alves was a badass.  He was one of a rare handfull of samba
composers of his generation who also had a successful career as a
recording artist at the same time, and was amazing in both roles.  He had striking good looks and stage charisma, a marvelous singing voice, and his arrangements of his own tunes are some of the funkiest things you’ll hear from the golden age of samba.  These
two volumes from Revivendo (a label that is to older “Velha Guarda”
music what Chronological or Yazoo are to U.S. music) do a fantastic job
of presenting some of his own recordings alongside hits by huge icons of
the day like Francisco Alves, Silvio Caldas, Aracy de Almeida,
Almirante, Orlando Silva and others.  They all bring tremendous vivacity to his work.  Both Carmen Miranda AND her sister
Aurora are represented.  Another rarity of note is one side of Elizete
Cardoso’s very first 78 rpm recording.  Apparently the release was
recalled “for technical reasons” (no idea what that means), and no
indication is given of what was used for this CD – in spite of the date
being 1950, the sound is much worse than the tracks dating from the 30s.
Anyway it is cool to have it.

I love the Revivendo label.  The
sound is typically very good, avoiding the pitfalls of trying to
“polish” these old gems with heavy-handed noise reduction and so on.
I wish they would hire a decent graphic designer, though.

Ataulfo deserves a long blog post celebrating his life and work.  But it is carnaval right this second and what are you doing at home on the internet anyway?  If you aren’t in a carnivalesque country, at least put on some music and dance around your room.

It is hard to pick a few tunes off this for a short playlist because, seriously, they are all great.  But here are a few, including one performed by the Anjos do Inferno, a group whose name translates into “Hell’s Angels” which is kind of funny since they couldn’t be more temporally or culturally removed from the biker gang or from Roger Corman exploitation flicks.   These are Hells Angels you could invite over for tea.  

 

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

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.

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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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Jamelão – A Voz do Samba, Volume 1 (2002)

Jamelão
A Voz do Samba, Volume 1
2002 Warner Music (092745932-2)
Recordings from 1974-76
Originally issued as a 3-CD boxset in 1997

1 Apoteose ao samba     (Mano Décio, Silas de Oliveira)
2 Casa grande e senzala     (Zagaia, Comprido, Leléo)
3 Macunaíma     (Norival Reis, David Corrêa)
4 Quatro séculos de paixão     (Arroz, Graúna)
5 Cântico à natureza     (A. Lourenço, Jamelão, Nelson Sargento)
6 Dona Bêja – Feiticeira do Araxá     (Aurinho da Ilha)
7 O grande presidente      (Padeirinho)
8 Rio Antigo      (Cícero dos Santos, Pelado da Mangueira, Hélio Turco)
9 Zaquia Jorge, a estrela do subúrbio, vedete de Madureira     (Avarese)
10 Rio Grande do Sul na festa do preto fôrro      (Nilo Mendes, Dario Marciano)
11 No reino da mãe de ouro      (Talito, Rubens da Mangueira)
12 Terra de Caruaru      (Sidney da Conceição, Corvina)
13 Festa do Círio de Nazaré      (Nilo Mendes, Aderbal Moreira, Dario Marciano)
14 Mangueira em tempo de folclore     (Jajá, Manoel, Preto Rico)     
I am not ideologically committed to the idea of a chronology retrospective approach to box sets or collections, but it does have its merits.  I just don’t get
the sense of starting out with tracks taken exclusively from the years 1974-76, squarely in the middle of Jamelão’s prolific career.  That is what this collection, originally released as three discs together and then reissued separately,  has chosen for reasons that elude me.  Is it because the 70s “samba revival” production value is more accessible to our contemporary ears than the classic, larger band/orchestra style in which he made his first hits?   It could be, but if so then it’s a pretty weak argument.Because what is beguiling about this is not really the chronology but the emphasis:   although Jamelão is renowned as the ultimate interpreter of the sambas written by his friend Lupicínio Rodriguez, this first disc is entirely comprised of samba enredo (none of which are associated with Lupicínio).Now a while back I had a comment from a blog reader about how they couldn’t handle an entire album of partido alto all at once.  While I personally could listen to partido alto all day long, I know how they feel – because I feel that way about samba enredo.  For those unfamiliar, samba enredo  is the style of didactic story-song that is popular during carnival and during the huge open rehearsals leading up to it.  Part of that popularity is of course the talent of the composers, who get a little extra motivation in the big prizes, awards, and accolades involve, but it is also in the spectacle of huge production that will happen once and once only – something that does not necessarily transfer its excitement to a petroleum-based disc.  When Rio’s samba schools decide on an annual theme, it falls to the carnavalescos, the artists and designers of costumes and floats, to decide how to interpret it and present something new and original, reflecting the theme from a different angle than all the other samba schools, and to collaborate with the choreographers and musicians and sambistas to make it all cohere.  Truly a marvel of creative coordination, wouldn’t you say?  Samba writers give it their all, because if the affiliated samba school gets top rankings at the concursos or showcase competitions, it means a lot both for the school and for whichever singer and composer helped them win a new title.  While you might find humor and critique tucked away in the selections, what predominates are celebratory anthems of one or another variety of nationalism.   On this collection we have a few songs praising famous literary works (Casa Grande e Senzala, Macunaíma), politicians (O Grande Presidente), geographic areas, cities or states (Rio Antigo, Terra de Caruarú, Rio Grande do Sul Na Festa do Preto Fôrro), and religious or mystical themes (Festa do Círio de Nazaré), or famous prostitutes (Dona Bêja).  Interestingly, to get back on the subject of chronology, a few of these sambas actually debuted decades before the recordings on this collection were made.  O Grande Presidente, a praise song for the populist and popular, authoritarian “man of the people” Getulio Vargas, was featured in 1956’s carnival, a year and a half after his legendary and dramatic suicide.

It is worth pointing out that while Jamelão’s name is forever linked with the green and pink colors of his beloved Mangueira,  a few of the other prominent samba schools are represented here either through affiliated sambista composers or through the song having featured in a particular school’s carnaval presentation.  (Not all samba composers, nor all singers for that matter, don’t always work exclusively with one samba school.)   The opening track, which happens to be my favorite on the whole disc, Apoteose ao samba, is written by Silas de Oliveira and Mano Décio of the Império Serrano samba school, both of whom feature on the lovely Encontro Com a Velha Guarda album too.  Portela and Estácio de Sá also get some entries here.

So perhaps the logic of this release was to start the collection by highlighting Jamelão as a grand figure of carnaval across several generations.  Which, of course, he was. The next two volumes focus on his role as interpreter of Lupicínio Rodrigues’ sambas, and as a crooner of romantic samba, respectively.  Well at least they left us something to look forward to.

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Reposts – Sept 26, 2013

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From top left to bottom right:

 Antonio Adolfo e Brazuca (1970)
João Nogueira (1972)
Paulo Moura – Fibra (1971)
Ray Barretto – Indestructable (1973)
Bobby Hutcherson – Now! (1969) 
Alaíde Costa – Canta Suavamente (1960)

Some reups for all of you while I am busy with other things.  Please report any erroneous links you come across, cheers.