Leci Brandão – Antes Que Eu Volte A Ser Nada
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC | 300 dpi scans |Samba, MPB, Brazil
1975 Marcus Pereira || 1980 Polydor Japan
A classic debut album from one of the best artists to emerge from the 1970’s roots samba revival in Brazil, Leci Brandão is unique in that not only was she a tremendous singer but she also composed — on this album, there’s not a song she didn’t write! And every single song on this is a winner. This Japanese pressing on Polydor sounds better than my Brazilian original on Marcus Pereira (albeit the grooves in the Brazilian copy are pretty worn out).
Leci also features in a documentary film that I was using recently to teach some Midwestern North American students about samba, by the British director Jeremy Marre. This film iss part of a series called ‘Beats of the Heart’ and you can watch a clip below. I’ve actually used a few of his films in this way because he really dove pretty deep into the social relations that helped produce the music he is profiling. The installments on salsa, featuring a very young Rubén Blades, and one on vallenato in Colombia are both pretty great. Marre was heavy-handed at times in his portrayal of racial and class exploitation in all of these genres, but I prefer that to a surface-level treatment that ignores those uncomfortable truths. And heavy-handed has its place: the scholarly understanding of the development of samba has developed a lot in recent decades to include a lot of nuance, but that nuance can be lost on 18-year olds who may have hardly set foot outside their home state, let alone their country. So although Marre may seem to be hammering at a nail with a sledgehammer, sometimes a sledgehammer is actually the right tool for the job.
Brandão’s appearance in this film is a case in point: we see her outside her humble home (“Leci Brandão has not left the favela”), and we also see her performing for a bunch of middle class people at a Zona Sul churrascaria, like in this clip:
What we don’t see — and this is in part because the film is from the late 70s / early 80s – is that she is also regarded as a national treasure, with a long and successful career. The documentary is worth watching in its entirely. It also features the sambistas Batatinha and Riachão; Chico Buarque and Milton Nascimento; and Gilberto Gil with Djalma Corrêa. In fact, Djalma is credited as a consultant on the film and may be the Brazilian who is providing voice-over narration. Besides the style of voice-over being kind of “dated”, there is also some strongly opinionated commentary about Luiz Melodia — who is shown both in the studio and on stage performing with Zeze Motta in a clip that is erotic enough to have made my students uncomfortable. The narrator tells us that Luiz Melodia is something of an overnight success, that his stage shows show a heavy influence of “imported pop music”, and that “his lyrics mean nothing at all.” For anyone who has studied the varieties of cultural nationalism related to MPB over the decades, all of those dismissive assertions should raise an eyebrow of skepticism. I have attempted to use that “musical purist” argument in the film as a teaching moment, pointing out the ways samba itself was transgressing class, race, and national boundaries from the very beginning. But this is the problem with “Sledgehammer vs. Precision Screwdriver” scenario I am sketching here: the teenagers from the Midwest are more likely to remember the sledgehammer, no matter how much I try to get them to see the nuance. Still, if only one or two individuals out of 20 students come away with the bottom line knowledge of “it’s more complicated than that”, well, I think maybe I’ve done my job.
Label/Cat#: Discos Marcus Pereira – MP 2602
Year: 01 Jul 1980
Genre: Latin, Pop
Style: MPB, Samba
Format: Vinyl, LP, Promo
A1 – Antes Que Volte A Ser Nada (02:55)
A2 – Pranto Colorido (02:51)
A3 – Cadê Maria (03:02)
A4 – Pensando Em Donga (03:07)
A5 – Pra Vilma Nascimento (03:20)
A6 – Ele, O Compositor De Samba (02:01)
B1 – G.R.E. De Samba (02:34)
B2 – A Mais Querida (03:47)
B3 – Pudim De Queijo (01:33)
B4 – Flor Esmaecida (03:17)
B5 – Meu Dia De Graça (02:42)
B6 – Simples Pessoa (03:46)
Total length: 34:55
Manufactured By – Polydor K.K.
Liner Notes – Sérgio Cabral
More information: https://www.discogs.com/release/18388561-Leci-Brand%C3%A3o-Antes-Que-Eu-Volte-A-Ser-Nada
Vinyl transfer by Flabbergast, Winter 2022.
LINEAGE: 1980 Polydor / Marcus Pereira white label promo Japanese pressing; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 preamp; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; RME Babyface Pro interface ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair with output monitored manually; further clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.