Clementina de Jesus & Aracy Cortes
Conjunto Rosa de OuroVolume 1 (1965) (MOFB 3430) and Volume 2 (1967) (MOFB 3494)Released as a 2-for-1 on EMI in 1993 (827301 2)
Liner notes in English and Portuguese. Complete art scans, m3u, cue. Ripped in EAC V0.99 pb5 with log. Properly Tagged FLAC
The `Rosa de Ouro` was a theatrical production that was born out of the joining of the scenes bubbling up around the “Zicartola” samba club (a short-lived but very important business venture by Cartola and his wife, Zica), and the Opinão stage production put together by Nara Leão, Zé Keti, and João do Vale. To my knowledge there were no film cameras rolling around this cauldron of creativity, at least nothing in the way of a full-length feature, and it is a damn shame.
This show marked the “discovery” of Clementina de Jesus, her first time being thrust into the spotlight of the media, who was co-billed alongside Aracy Cortes who had years of experience as a singer in the theatre. As you can see from the woodcut shown here, the personnel is remarkably similar to the Conjunto “Voz do Morro”. Paulinho da Viola limits himself to the role of backing musician and vocalist on these records, contributing only two songs across both albums, but there are plenty of writing credits from Elton Medeiros, and the rest of the repertoire features tunes from Ismael Silva, Cartola, Pixinguinha, Assis Valente, Jair Costa, Noel Rosa and Anescar, Geraldo Pereira, and a host of public domain/’folklore’ sambas. There is even one tune credited to Heitor Villa-Lobos with Herminio Bello de Carvalho (the producer of the stage production). I am not sure if that composition was specifically created for this show. The theatrical production itself unfolded somewhat in the form of a documentary and manifesto of samba, with the live performances interspersed with pre-taped `depoimentos`, testimonial pieces of interviews with composers like Donga, Pixinguinha, Ismael Silva, and Cartola, singer Elizete Cardoso, and music critics and writers Mario and Sérgio Cabral. The musicians were seated around a simple table like one might find in any botequim in Rio de Janeiro. I am not a samba historian but I don’t think it would be too extravagant a claim to nail down the roots of the ‘samba revival’ that would eventually blossom in the early 70s to this moment right here. In the wake of the dominance of bossa nova, where so many sambistas and composers found themselves nudged out of the spotlight, the Rosa de Ouro was part of a revitalization and resurgence of new energy rising up out of the seemingly-bottomless fonts of inspiration of samba’s giants. These records are great, but I can’t shake the feeling that they are only a shadow of what the actual theatrical experience must have been like.
These two albums have just this year been released as a budget reissue in a digipak-style slipcase, from 2010 and according to the artwork celebrating 100 years of Clementina de Jesus. I will post something more about that shortly.
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