João do Vale – MPB Especial 1973

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A MÚSICA BRASILEIRA DESTE SÉCULO POR SEUS AUTORES E INTÉRPRETES
João do Vale – MPB Especial 1973
Released 2000 SESC – SP (JCB-0709-023)

1 O canto da ema
(Alventino Cavalcante, Ayres Viana, João do Vale)
2 É de dois, dois
(Jesus Santana, João do Vale)
3 Algodão
(Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)
4 Minha história
(Raymundo Evangelista, João do Vale)
5 Cesário Pinto
(Zé Gonzaga)
6 Estrela miúda
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
7 Maria Filó (o danado do trem)
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
8 Sanharó-Tambo
(Luiz Guimarães, João do Vale)
9 Segredo do sertanejo (Uricuri)
(José Cândido, João do Vale)
10 Quatro fia feme
(Ary Monteiro, João do Vale)
11 Peba na pimenta
(Adelino Rivera, José Batista, João do Vale)
12 Pisa na fulô
(Silveira Júnior, Ernesto Pires, João do Vale)
13 Sina de caboclo
(J.B. de Aquino, João do Vale)
14 Filho de peixe, peixinho é
(Ernesto Pires, João do Vale)
15 A voz do povo
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
16 Lavadeira e o lavrador
(João do Vale)
17 Orós II
(Oséas Lopes, João do Vale)
18 Carcará
(José Cândido, João do Vale)

This is for the FANS, man. Actually the disc is both priceless and also a disappointment: João do Vale, like many people featured on the MPB Especial and Ensaio programs, was more of a composer than a recording artist — aside from the album “Opinão” with Nara Leão and Zé Keti, I am only aware of one other album under his own name, recorded in the 1980s, which as I recall is only so-so. Thus, when seeing that this program existed it was one of those eye-popping moments of ‘Oh wow, I gotta hear this’… The review below in Portuguese pretty much says everything I would have said, so I just translated for you below. (By the way, I think it is really cool that Clique Music happens to have reviews of so many of the volumes in this collection…). The only thing I would add to it is that it’s “relaxed” quality is perhaps understated – the musical portions of it come across as totally imprompto and unrehearsed, as if João eschewed any notion of preparing beforehand and just came into the studio expecting the musicians to keep up. Eduardo Gudin was sort of a house musician for this program, and there are several cases where João begins singing a capella and Gudin and percussionist Carlinhos come in slowly as the song goes on, as if they are picking up the chord progression and rhythm just by listening and following along.

———review in Portuguese found at Clique Music —————-

Dorival Caymmi disse certa vez que a música de João do Vale tinha cheiro de barro, um traço selvagem e autêntico, qualidades só encontradas em compositores genuinamente populares como ele próprio. No Programa MPB Especial (Ensaio), reproduzido nesta coleção Sesc São Paulo, João do Vale nunca esteve tão relaxado e próximo da definição traçada pelo velho Caymmi. Normalmente tímido (tinha de tomar generosas doses de cachaça para se soltar nos shows), o compositor maranhense desfila com desenvoltura um repertório de clássicos, dos forrós erotizados O Canto da Ema e Pisa na Fulô a canções de protesto, caso de Sina de Caboclo, Segredo do Sertanejo (Uricuri) e Carcará, seu maior sucesso, eternizado na voz de Maria Bethânia. Faltaram grandes canções, como Na Asa do Vento e Pé do Lageiro, e um acordeão para acompanhar o violão de Eduardo Gudin e a percussão de Carlinhos. Afinal, forrós como Pisa na Fulô e O Canto da Ema sem sanfona é a mesma coisa que João Gilberto sem violão ou Jimi Hendrix sem guitarra. Mas isso não tira o brilho do disco. Só as histórias contadas por João já valem o programa. O compositor lembra que foi trabalhar como ajudante de pedreiro no Rio de Janeiro na mesma época em que Marlene estourou nas rádios com uma canção sua, Estrela Miúda. Enquanto colocava massa entre os tijolos, ouvia a música ser tocada nas rádios de toda a vizinhança. Um dia, não resistiu e resolveu contar aos companheiros de obra que o autor daquele sucesso era ninguém menos que ele mesmo. Recebeu um olhar torto da turma e ainda foi ridicularizado: “Conversa, neguinho, tu tá delirando. Coloca mais massa aí sô!” (Tom Cardoso)

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translation:
Dorival Caymmi once said that the music of João do Vale had the scent of clay, a trace of the untamed and the authentic, qualities encountered only in genuinely “popular” composers like him. In the Programa MPB Especial (Ensaio) reproduced in this SESC São Paulo collection, João do Vale was never as relaxed or closer to the definition outlined by the old Caymmi. Normally shy (he had to drink generous shots of cachaça in order to get out on stage), the composer from Maranhão proudly displays a repertoire of classics, of sexy forró like “O Canto de Ema” and “Pisa na Fulô” to protest songs such as “Sina de Caboclo”, “Segredo do Sertanejo (Uricuri)” and “Carcará”, his biggest hit immortalized in the voice of Maria Bethânia. The program lacks some major songs, like “Na Asa do Vento” and “Pé do Lageiro”, as well as an accordion to accompany the acoustic guitar of Eduardo Gudin and the percussion of Carlinhos. In the end, hearing forrós like “Pisa na Fulô” and “O Canto da Ema” without sanfona / accordion is the same thing as João Gilberto or Jimi Hendrix without guitars. But this doesn’t detract from the allure of the disc. Just the stories alone told by João make the program worth it. The composer recalls going to work as an assistant bricklayer in Rio de Janeiro around the same time that Marlene exploded on the radios with his song “Estrela Miúda.” While spreading mortar between the bricks, he heard the song being played on radios all around the neighborhood. One day, he couldn’t resist any longer and decided to tell his work mates that the author of that hit song was none other than himself. He received disbelieving, sidelong glances from the bunch of them and was ridiculed: “Bullshit, neguinho, you’re delirious. Bring more cement over here, already!…” (Tom Cardoso, translated by Ameribucano, Flabbergast)

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Zé Keti – Ensaio / MPB Especial (1973)

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Zé Keti
MPB Especial / Ensaio, 1973

Released as part of the series A MÚSICA BRASILEIRA DESTE SÉCULO POR SEUS AUTORES E INTÉRPRETES by SESC São Paulo

1 Máscara negra
(Pereira Matos, Zé Kéti)
2 Amor de carnaval
(Zé Kéti)
3 Meu pai morreu
(Zé Kéti)
4 A voz do morro
(Zé Kéti)
5 Leviana
(Zé Kéti)
6 Diz que fui por aí
(H. Rocha, Zé Kéti)
7 Opinião
(Zé Kéti)
8 Malvadeza Durão
(Zé Kéti)
9 Acender as velas
(Zé Kéti)
10 Mascarada
(Elton Medeiros, Zé Kéti)
11 O meu pecado
(Zé Kéti)
12 Não sou feliz
(Zé Kéti)
13 Peço licença
(Zé Kéti)
14 Natalino
(Zé Kéti)
15 A jaqueira da Portela
(Zé Kéti)
16 Decepção
(Zé Kéti)
17 Desquite lá no morro
(Zé Kéti)

Eduardo Guidin – guitar
Zé Keti – vocal and box of matches (fósforos)

Quote from Clique Music:

Zé Kéti gravou o programa EnsaiO, dirigido por Fernando Faro, em 1973, aos 51 anos de idade, em plena forma, esbanjando simpatia. O disco, lançado agora pelo Sesc-SP, abre direto com a voz de Zé Kéti – acompanhada apenas pelo violão de Eduardo Gudin e pela caixinha de fósforos do próprio sambista – cantando “Quanto riso, quanta alegria/ Mais de mil palhaços no salão”. Ao final da música ele explica que Máscara Negra foi o seu maior sucesso, em 1967, mas faz a ressalva: “Dinheiro? Bom, não deu pra fazer a minha independência financeira, mas deu pra ganhar alguma coisinha, né?”. Logo em seguida emenda o sucesso seguinte, Amor de Carnaval, de 1968 (“Uma música que pegou e até hoje a turma canta”). “A turma” continua até hoje cantando muitos sambas de Zé Kéti gravados nessa entrevista musical, como Diz que Fui por Aí, Mascarada, Opinião, Acender as Velas, Malvadeza Durão ou A Voz do Morro, seu primeiro sucesso, gravado por Jorge Goulart. Mas no disco também é possível encontrar relíquias, como Meu Pai Morreu, que Zé Kéti canta sozinho, só com a caixa de fósforos, e que compôs para a memória do pai, que morreu envenenado tomando uma xícara de café. As diversas fases de sua carreira são resumidas no disco. A participação no espetáculo Opinião, ao lado de João do Vale (“um caboclo nordestino muito bom”) e Nara Leão (“representando a mocinha de Copacabana, bacana e grã-fina”), a atuação como diretor musical do bar Zicartola, ou a organização do grupo A Voz do Morro (“o primeiro grupo de samba autêntico do Brasil”) – que juntava Elton Medeiros, Paulinho da Viola, Anescarzinho do Salgueiro, Jair do Cavaquinho, Nelson Sargento, Oscar Bigode –, com quem gravou Peço Licença (que o portelense Zé Kéti fez para poder namorar uma pastora da Mangueira), Não Sou Feliz (gravada por Cyro Monteiro, que “introduziu a caixa de fósforos no cenário da música popular brasileira”), Leviana, ou a belíssima Jaqueira da Portela. Autenticidade aqui é algo que não pode ser posto em dúvida. Tendo por todo o disco o acompanhamento apenas do violão de Gudin – adiantando uma espécie de “acústico” intimista – Zé Kéti mostra versões bem particulares de suas composições, imprimindo a este disco a qualidade de preciosidade. (Nana Vaz de Castro)

All of the SESC releases from the old MPB Especial / Ensaio program are wonderful, indispensable documents of Brazil’s rich cultural patrimony. But this one from Zé Keti is truly something special. Like most sambistas of his generation (or, truth by told, most), he is better known as a composer than a performer or recording artist in particular, but he was also one hell of a singer and as is evident here – a great interview subject. He lived a storied life that encapsulated so much of the trajectory of samba and intersection of different generations, different currents and changes in Brazilian society. In this interview he talks about his compositions that are still sung during Carnaval (speaking in 1973 but still true today), about his participation in the collective of samba composers and musicians at Zicartola (the bar run by Cartola and his wife Zica), the formation of the group Conjunto A Voz do Morro, and his involvement with the theatre group Arena which became Show Opinão and later just Opinão, with João de Vale and Nara Leão, which had as its centerpiece his composition “Opinão.” As the review in Portuguese points out, alongside the classics you would expect here (Acender as velas, Peço licença, Não sou feliz), the album also has the rare intimicacy of Zé singing a capella a song about the death of his father, killed by a poisoned cup of coffee (!!), called simply “Meu pai morreu.” As one volume in a series of releases that I can’t say enough good things about, this one really stands out!

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Conjunto A Voz do Morro – Roda de Samba (1965) {Paulinho da Viola, Elton Medeiros, Zé Keti, Nelson Sargento…}

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“RODA DE SAMBA”
– CONJUNTO ‘A VOZ DO MORRO’
Jair Costa / Anescar do Salgueiro / Zé Kéti / Nelson Sargento / Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola / José da Cruz

Released 1965 Musidisc Hi-Fi 2114
CD issue Musidisc 777.6099

This is a massive album – historically vital to the history of samba, an amazing and compelling listen; a group made up of “heavy hitters” in samba, and one of the earliest recordings of Paulinho da Viola, who sounds as refined and confident as he would ten years later. Oddly enough, as far as I know the only time it was issued on CD thus far is this Musidisc pressing done by Sonopress Brasil in 1995 (if I am reading the code correctly). The sound quality is as top notch as the music.

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This recording has been reissued on vinyl throughout the 70’s with a different cover and credited to Paulinho da Viola (or at least, `Paulinho da Viola and Conjunto Voz de Morro`), which is obviously a way of cashing in on his celebrity status at that time. But in the mid-1960s, Viola was the up and coming youngster of this bunch. Names like Zé Keti, Elton Medeiros, Jair Costa, and Nelson Sargento would have been more familiar to the samba afficionado in ’65. But Paulinho is featured prominently — in the group photo, in the number of songs he sings lead on, and in the listing of his name first in the list on the cover. So this may have been an attempt to give his career a push.. I don’t know, I am an ignorant gringo, and it’s quite likely that a music journalist like Sergio Cabral has written about this album and explained the story and I should probably do my homework and find out more about it.

The compositions are all first-rate. You might notice the tune Elton Medeiros co-wrote with Cartola, one of many that Cartola never recorded himself. There are so many classic tunes here I feel silly trying to single anything out. But Anescarzinho`s “Intriga” and “Vai saudade” leap out at me, as does Mascarada from Zé Keti and Elton Medeiros. Zé Keti’s “Maria”, with Jair Costa on lead voice, is two minutes of perfect samba, with great leave-me-alone ‘dis’ chorus (Saia de meu caminho, eu não te quero mais/aonde eu vou/ Maria vai atrás). Paulinho’s “Coração vulgar” and “Jurar com lágrimas” are both stand-out tunes in his decades-long repertoire of memorable compositions, already demonstrating his special way of writing complex, long melodies and weaving them in a way that sounds deceptively simple. And it is nice to hear him sing in the context of this strong chorus of vocalists providing harmonies, counterpoint, and the whole package. The instruments are all recorded in pristine quality, mixed extremely well, and (of course) played with finesse. I am hoping my friend J.Thyme likes this album but he might be dismayed to know it is sans cuíca. It’s Cuíca-Free. Cuícaless.

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Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale – Show Opinão (1965)

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Show Opinão Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale
Recorded August 23, 1965 at Teatro Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Released as Philips 632.775 in 1965 CD Reissue, 2002

Musical director: Dorival Caymmi Filho
Theatrical director: Augusto Boal

Band:
Dorival Caymmi – guitar
Franciso Araújo – drums
Carlos Guimarães – flute
Iko Casto Neves – bass
Bruno Ferreira, Ângela Menezes, Vânia Ferreira, Ângela Santa Rosa – vocal chorus

Audio engineer: Jorge Cardoso
Produced by Oduvaldo Viana Filho, Paulo Pontes e Pichinpla

Today marks the anniversary of Nara Leão’s death in 1989, when she left this world far too early due to a brain tumor, only 47 years old.

This year would also have been the 15th anniversary of our marriage, had she been alive to accept the love letters and propositions I was making to her, unaware that she had passed away. She seemed to have been everything I want in a woman – intelligent, politically engaged, breathtakingly beautiful, and from a wealthy family thereby eliminating my need to work for a living.

This album was recorded on the closing night of the original run of the “Opinão” theatrical production, which would go into a second run with Maria Bethânia taking Nara’s place. A combination of factors – her distancing herself from the bossa nova circle after Ronaldo Boscoli had an affair with Maysa without even the minor courtesy of discretion; her increasing preoccupation with the dire sociopolitical climate of Brazil, her interest in samba, and her marriage to cineaste Ruy Guerra – had led Nara Leão to changing her musical orientation rather quickly after becoming a star. Within a year of her first album release she was throwing in her lot with Carlos Lyra and others more involved with arts of the engajada (engaged) sort that had been evolving alongside initiatives from groups like the CPC in Rio (Centro Popular de Cultura) and MCP in Recife (Movimento Cultura Popular). The idea of bringing the arts “to the people” by staging performances in factories was actually rather elitist in its vanguardism, but its premise of breaking down the barriers between students, workers, and artists isn’t a bad one. This was the climate in which some interesting work emerged alongside the stuff that played out like tedious political tracts. “Opinão” seems to be one of the more creative attempts at synthesizing politics, music, and theatre. It took place in that curious period between March 31, 1964 when the military dictatorship began and 1968 when the decrees of Institutional Act No.5 severely restricted civil, political, and artistic liberties. For that brief period, social critiques like “Opinão” were still able to find a platform and in fact become a phenomenon playing to sold-out theatres. By the early 1970s, such a scenario would be almost unimaginable.

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The liner notes claim that the recording is not an attempt to translate the theatrical production of Opinão to the medium of a phonograph recording but rather a “condensation of the spectacle” made to communicate something about it in an authentic manner. The listener will note the immediate difference this makes to an approach like the dry, humorless P.U.C. / João Cabral de Melo Neto / Chico Buarque collaboration posted last week at Flabbergasted Vibes. Even without the benefit of the staging or sets, you get an idea of what Opinão was all about. And there was quite a lot of fooling around and satire going on as well. Your mileage may vary on this..

Snatches of songs that were part of Cinema Novo films by Nelson Perreira dos Santos and Glauber Rocha appear alongside songs by Vinicius de Moraes and Carlos Lyra, and of course compositions from Zé Keti and João do Vale. The version of “Carcará” on here may be the best I’ve heard, much better than Maria Bethania’s interpretation when she took over the role. And one surprise treat is the inclusion of the Cuban song “Guantanamera” here, which had just been a huge hit a few years earlier both in Cuba and Brazil. Apparently there is some Pete Seeger mixed into the lyrics somewhere on this interpretation although my throbbing headache today has kept me from figuring it all out. The band is recorded so well on this album that I have my doubts whether or not the songs were actually recorded live (my guess is they were not, and that the dialogs were edited in between studio takes). Whatever the case, this album is a historical and musical treasure and something of a rarity these days. Hope you enjoy it.

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Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale – Show Opinão (1965)

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