ÍNDIA – CASCATINHA & INHANA VOL. 1
1995 Revivendo RVCD 092
Recordings from 1952 – 1960
2 Noite de garoa
4 Juramento sagrado
(Camargo, Arlindo Pinto)
(Heitor de Barros)
6 Destino traçado
(Suely B. Languth, Euclides Rangel “Bolinha”)
(Paulo Freitas, José G. Paschoal “Zuzo”, Manoel Freitas)
8 Rolinha [La Paloma]
9 Flor da saudade
10 Flor do outono
11 Na casa branca da serra
12 Nossa noite
14 Jangadeiro do norte
(João de Barro)
15 Dona do meu coração
(José de Oliveira Mendes, Ercílio Consoni)
16 O direito de viver
(Mário Pinto da Mota)
18 Casinha pequenina
19 Recordações de Ipacaraí [Recuerdos de Ypacaray]
The reissue label / series Revivendo is sort of a Brazilian version of Yazoo or Arhoolie, minus a graphic design department (their artwork is all uniformly awful..), specializing in quality compilations of music from the era of 78s and recording artists who made their name singing live on the radio.
Such is the case with the husband and wife duo Cascatinha and Inhana, who sang a little bit of every popular style but are considered “música sertaneja”, roughly analogous to country music. These days música sertaneja gets a bad rap: remarkably similar to the trajectory of its North American counterpart, it has become more centered around guys in big hats and tight pants, with overblown stage shows and pop-saturated schlock for their repertoire. But in its golden days the style produced lots of great music. A major influence on early música sertaneja was the Paraguayan genre of the “guarânia”, a style developed in the 1920s that is usually attributed to a single composer, José Asunción Flores. The popularity of the genre spread though southern Brazil across the border from Mato Grosso do Sul in the 1940s. The indigenous name for the style seems to have more to do with erudite fascination for romantic-nationalist poetry and literature that sought the roots of Paraguayan identity in the ‘noble savage’ and popular folklore, ideas also familiar to any Brazilian forced to read José de Alencar’s “Iracema”. But musically the form took most of its cues from European music blended with Paraguayan rhythmic sensibilities of syncopation; in particular Señor Flores was toying around with slowing down the polka. He is responsible for many of the most enduring compositions in the genre, several of which are included on this compilation. It’s also worth mentioning that if you love the use of the accordion in acoustic music, as I do, you probably fall in love with this stuff instantly.
Cascatinha (Francisco dos Santos) originally played the drums and got a job touring with a circus, where he learned the guitar and eventually met his wife, Ana Eufronsina da Silva (Inhana). He had begun perfoming as a duo with another man, nicknamed Chope, and they decided to relocate from the interior of São Paulo and try their luck in Rio de Janeiro, where they performed on famous radio programs like those hosted by Ary Barroso and Paulo Gracindo. Chope and Cascatinha had a falling out, and looking for a quick replacement he handed the job to his wife Ana – a musical partnership that would endure for 40 years. They continued performing at circuses, on the radio, and in the late 40s began working under contract to Rádio América and then Rádio Record, where they stayed for 12 years, and appearing in films. In the 1950s they began recording 78s for the labels Todamérica and and Continental. Their fifth release catapulted them into national fame – the two guaranias “Índia”, backed with “Meu Primeiro Amor”, both written by the genre’s godfather José Asunción Flores and adapted by Brazilian composer José Fortuna. ‘Índia” is the song that drove me to find out more about this duo — A lot of people here will know it better from the version Gal Costa recorded for her 1973 album of the same name, with exquisite embellishments by Dominguinhos on the accordion. Interestingly, it became a hit again in Brazil just within the last couple years, being covered by a fresh-faced lass in the sertaneja style — I don’t remember her name, but I saw her performing it on TV and although it was still a little too glossy and over-produced for my taste, I admit that she does it justice. Or rather, she could have destroyed the song, but didn’t. The B-side of this historic 78, “Meu Primeiro Amor,” by any logic should have been included on this compilation, but the marketing wizards at Revivendo slyly featured it as the centerpiece of the second volume of Cascatinha and Inhana works. (And, alas, I do not have it..) This song would also end up being covered by Nara Leão on an album of the same name during her semi-retirement, but without nearly the kind of impact as Gal’s recording of Índia.
The recordings on this collection are all lovely stuff. Being veterans of contexts like the circus and live radio, these two were capable of singing any genre: canção, valsa (or waltzes), samba, ranchos, and even a baião and a tango are represented on this collection. I have taken the trouble to include ID-tags detailing the composers and the associated styles for each track. Cascatinha and Inhana’s vocal harmonies are impeccable, and it has to be acknowledged that the romantic leaning of all the material is made all the sweeter by the knowledge that they were apparently happily married up until the time of Ana’s death in the 1980s. Still, it is the guarânias that stand out here and mark the duo as trail blazers in the Brazilian articulation of this musical style. The compilation closes with another fine example, “Recordações de Ypacaray,” once again a direct adaptation of a Paraguayan success by Demétrio Ortiz.