Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo – Lagoa da Canoa Municipio de Arapiraca (1984)
Hermeto Pascoal E Grupo
Lagoa Da Canoa Município De Arapiraca
Original release 1984, Som da Gente
This issue, 1988 Happy Hour Music HH5005-2
Normally, during this time of year, I like to post some forró pé de serra and baião to commemorate the marvelous Festas Juninas I came to appreciate when I lived in the northeast of Brazil. It’s not as if I’ve run out of vintage forró records to post about on the blog, but I feel I could use a change of pace. I’ve been experiencing some pretty wicked job burnout and other related issues that have put me in an odd state of mind and, with unfortunate frequency, a rather foul mood. Hence, Hermeto Pascoal is kind of just what the proverbial doctor ordered: something to alleviate the foul mood by way of resonating with odd and the uncomfortable. Hermeto’s music can be disorienting in the most humanistic of ways.
With Lagoa da Canoa, Município de Arapiraca, you’ll hear traces of baião and forró but also frevo and choro and samba. I’m particularly fond of the stretch of the record where Hermeto draws out the innate musicality of Brazilian football announcers and creates a score to accompany their speech. Hermeto called this “The Sound of the Aura” and this was his first recorded instance him doing it on a recording. Incidentally, his approach to this predates (by many decades) what MonoNeon has been doing on his YouTube channel., who may or may not have been influenced by Hermeto (I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but I have no idea.). The scholar and musician Luiz Costa-Lima Neto, who has a wonderful book called The Experimental Music of Hermeto Pascoal and Group which gives detailed analysis (albeit overly technical for the ‘casual’ reader) of Hermeto’s creative process. Based in part on extensive interviews with Hermeto, Costa-Lima actually singled out the second piece I’ve singled out below – Papagaio Alegre, or ‘Happy Parrot’. The tune features none other than parrot residing in Hermeto’s house, added as an overdub. Although I wanted to describe both this and the football announcer as “found sound,” that would be missing some of the very deliberate, intentional choices of Hermeto that relate to the elaboration of nuanced theories about sound and music that he has been working out and developing over the course of his long career. Papagaio Alegre is book-ended on the record by these two “aura sounds” compositions arranged around the running football commentary (Tiruliruli , and Vai mais, garotinho). Interestingly, since the publication of his book (and its English translation), Costa-Lima has been focusing more on Hermeto’s use of the voice as an instrument. In a recent article, he writes,
“For Hermeto there is no separation between voice and instrument, since, as made evident by the following quotation, not only is the voice an instrument, but it is the “richest” instrument that exists:
Why is the voice the richest instrument that there is? Because it has all the tonalities, it is entirely natural. You can do a thing in any tonality that you want, you can even do something between one pitch and another. That is, when you play a lot of people still have that traditionalism, those things of saying that it has to be that way. What people call speech is what we are singing.(dir. Berliner 2004)
Luiz continues, “…. one can note the dichotomy between the “natural” and the “conventional”, two categories that Hermeto Pascoal uses to structure his musical creation (Costa–Lima Neto 2000). For him, the voice is the most “natural” instrument. Playing is associated for Hermeto Pascoal with traditionalism, while the voice, on the other hand, escapes convention and the traditional, since it is an instrument that is able to produce frequencies in any tonality and also between the notes of the equal–tempered system.” For anyone who wants to read the whole article, you can find it here.
The album ends with a spoken word and musical piece invoking Antonio Conselheiro, the millenarian prophet of the Canudos colony that withstood several sorties from the army of the new First Republic before finally succumbing in a bloodbath, immortalized in literature by Euclides da Cunha’s famous book, Os Sertões. You can’t get much more iconically “Northeastern” than that, so please accept this post as my yearly offering to St. Anthony, St. John, and St. Peter. And have a listen to this chunk of the album that encapsulates so many of the facets that have earned Hermeto the honorific of a “wizard”.
Lagoa Da Canoa Município De Arapiraca (1988 track sequencing for Happy Hour CD)
1 Spock Na Escada 4:05
2 Mestre Radamés 3:36
3 Aquela Coisa 3:38
4 Frevo Em Maceió 4:48
5 Desencontro Certo 4:42
6 Ilsa Na Feijoada 4:48
7 Santa Catarina 4:32
8 Tiruliruli 0:58
9 Papagaio Alegre 5:29
10 Vai Mais, Garotinho 0:26
11 Monte Santo 4:18
Recorded at “NossoEstúdio” São Paulo, Brazil, 1984
Original release, Brazil 1984 Som Da Gente (SDG-021/84) with a different track sequencing, listed below.
Info from LP credits (*note that attribution of individual tracks should cross reference the original LP sequencing):
Bass, Tuba – Itiberê Zwarg
Drums – Marcio Bahia
Flute, Percussion – Elisio Costa
Guitar – Heraldo Do Monte (tracks: B1, B5)
Music Director [Assistant] – Jovino Santos Neto
Music Director, Arranged By, Flute, Piccolo Flute, Clavinet, Piano, Harmonium, Accordion, Viola, Edited By, Mixed By,
Narrator – José Carlos Araújo (tracks: A5), João Bá (tracks: A6), Osmar Santos (tracks: A3)
Percussion – Fabio Pascoal, Pernambuco (4)
Piccolo Flute, Flute, Piano, Harmonium – Jovino Santos Neto
Piccolo Flute, Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Carlos Malta
Cover – Os Comunicação Gráfica
Edited By, Mixed By, Engineer, Liner Notes – Marcus Vinicius
Liner Notes – Hermeto Pascoal
Photography By – Aristides Alves, Paulo K. Vasconcellos, Stéphane Moreau
Original LP track sequencing:
A1 Ilza Na Feijoada 4:48
A2 Santa Catarina 4:32
A3 Tiruliruli 0:58
A4 Papagaio Alegre 5:29
A5 Vai Mais, Garotinho 0:26
A6 Monte Santo 4:18
B1 Spock Na Escada 4:05
B2 Mestre Radames 3:36
B3 Aquela Coisa 3:38
B4 Frevo Em Macéio 4:48
B5 Desencontro Certo 4:42
Thank you very much! “O bruxo” is always welcome!
I love it how some of the most insightful analyses of Brazilian music, culture, and politics are NOT by Brazilian researchers. Thank you for the music and the writing, e viva o bruxo!
Actually Luiz Costa-Lima (Neto) is Brazilian, as far as I can tell. We’ve never met but we have friends in common. The book I have at my house is a translation, I’m not sure when the Brazilian version was published but presumably quite a bit earlier.
Thanks so much for this! I had two versions on my computer, one that lacked high frequencies and one that lacked low frequencies. This replaces both 🙂 Love this album.
That’s kind of funny Simon. Did you combine the two versions you had in some audio software to get the full spectrum? I wish I knew why the Happy Hour edition has a different track sequencing than the original version…