Paulinho da Viola – Nervos de Aço (1973)

Paulinho da Viola
1973 Odeon (SMOFB 3797)
1996 EMI Abbey Road Remasters (85206-2)

1 Sentimentos
2 Comprimido
(Paulinho da Viola)
3 Não leve a mal
(Paulinho da Viola)
4 Nervos de aço
(Lupicínio Rodrigues)
5 Roendo as unhas
(Paulinho da Viola)
6 Não quero mais amar a ninguém
(Zé da Zilda, Carlos Cachaça, Cartola)
7 Nega Luzia
(Jorge de Castro, Wilson Batista)
8 Cidade submersa
(Paulinho da Viola)
9 Sonho de um carnaval
(Chico Buarque)
10 Choro negro
(Fernando Costa, Paulinho da Viola)


Copinha – Flute and clarinet
Cristovão Bastos – Piano, harpsichord, electric piano
Nelsinho – trombone
Paulinho da Viola – acoustic guitar and cavaquinho
Dininho – electric bass
Drums – Juquinha, Eliseu (on ‘Não quero mais amar ninguém’)
Percussion – Elton Medeiros, Dininhos, Elizeu, Juquinha, DazinhoProduced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Maestro Gaya
Orchestration and arrangements – Gaya, Nelsinho, Cristovão Bastos,
Paulinho da Viola, CopinhaTechnical director – Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians – Toninho and Dacy
Remix engineer – Nivaldo Duarte
Album artwork – Elifas AndreatoRemastered at Abbey Road, London, May 1996 by Peter Mew
Under supervision by Paulinho da Viola
Projecto Coordinator – Sonia Antunes


This is another classic of Paulinho da Viola’s illustrious discography and of samba more generally. As with most of his albums, when not featuring his own material Paulinho choses to reinterpret tunes by masters of the genre to whom he owes spiritual and musical debts. On this record we get Lupicínio Rodriguez (the title track), Cartola & Carlos Cachaça, Wilson Batista, and — a more contemporary master – Chico Buarque. Of the originals there is “Não leva o mal” which is an open critique of the flaws and crises in the directorship of his beloved Portela samba school. The song also features the harpsichord, NOT a traditional samba instrument, which at first sort of through me off as being unnecessarily ‘innovative.’ I am still not sure how I feel about it but I have made my peace with it being there. The song is a classic, plain and simply, but when I get my hands on the master tapes I am going straight back to Abbey Road and mixing out that damn harpsichord.

Another odd original on this is “Roendo as unhas” (Nail-biting, biting your nails, etc) which has a nervous tension and angular structure that sounds like it could have been found on a Tom Zé album (such as, for example, Estudando o Samba). “Comprimido”, appearing earlier on the album, also has a somewhat adventurous arrangement. “Cidade submersa” has some gorgeous electric piano work on it from Cristovão Bastos. The album ends with an elegant instrumental “Choro negro.” All in all, the original compositions on this album are not Paulinho’s best work (my opinion of course, divergence and arguments are welcome), but his reinterpretations/reinventions of the other composers here are top-notch. The album seems to have been received well by the public and the critics, nevertheless Paulinho took a break from recording for two years after this album.


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Paulinho da Viola – Paulinho da Viola (1978)


Paulinho da Viola
1978 EMI-Odeon (062 421133)
1996 Abbey Road Remasters Series
(Peter Mew remaster)

1 – Sentimento perdido (Élton Medeiros – Paulinho da Viola)
2 – Atravessou (Paulinho da Viola)
3 – Mudei de opinião (Casquinha – Bubú da Portela)
4 – Coração leviano (Paulinho da Viola)
5 – Sofrer (Paulinho da Viola – Capinan)
6 – Uma história diferente (Paulinho da Viola)
7 – Cenários (Catoni – Jorge Mexeu)
8 – Pelos vinte (Paulinho da Viola – Sergio Natureza)
9 – Apoteose ao Samba (Silas de Oliveira – Mano Décio da Viola)
10 – Sarau para Radamés (Paulinho da Viola)
11 – Nos horizontes do mundo (Paulinho da Viola)
12 – Miudinho (Tradicional – Adaptação: Bucy Moreira – Raul Marques – Monarco)
Participação: Bucy Moreira, Raul Marques e Monarco

Produced by Fernando Faro
Production director – Mariozinho Rocha
Recording technician – Dacy
Mixing engineer – Nivaldo Duarte
Mastering and cutting – Osmar Furtado
Album cover by Elifas Andreato
Photos by Ivson and Paulinho da Viola

Recorded at Odeon studios, Rio de Janeiro in September 1978

Remastered at Abbey Road, London, in May, 1996 by Peter Mew
Supervised by Paulinho da Viola
Project Coordinator – Sonia Antunes


How does a person review a Paulinho da Viola album anyway? “It’s really great!”. Probably the best I can offer you. And for the 1970s it’s true of every single release. This album has Paulinho incorporating more of the choro and chorinho styles that were on his previous couple records before this one, continuing his writing partnerships with Elton Madeiros and Capinan, and interpreting other samba masters like Casquinha. Like the album artwork and brief blurb written on the inside jacket make clear, this album is like an homage to wooden acoustic instruments and the sound is steller between the original production from Fernando Faro and Peter Mew’s great remastering. One of the big standout tracks that became a samba staple here is ‘Coração Leviano’. Another special treat is the final cut featuring Monarco and others (but mostly Monarco), a `traditional` tune called `Miudinho` that’s been recorded, well, a lot. “Atravessou” critizes Paulinho’s own Portela for its morbidity and stagnation (as he saw it) in the late 70s, calling on his `camarada` to save it from itself. “Sarau para Radamés”, an instrumental chorinho, is a favorite of a friend of mine but I personally find it kind of stale and isn’t a high point for me. Again, it is hard to pick highlights in Paulinho’s 1970s discography given the consistently high quality of it all, but this one definitely stands out.

Monarco featuring A Velha Guarda de Portela – Terreino (1980)


1 Homenagem à velha guarda (Monarco)

2 Temporal

• Mulher, vai procurar teu dono (Rufino)
• Caco velho (Antônio Caitano)
• Serei teu ioiô (Paulo da Portela)

3 Sofres por querer liberdade (Mijinha – Monarco)

4 Estácio de Sá, glória do samba (Monarco)

5 Conselho de vadio (Alvarenga)

6 Feliz eu vivo no morro (Josias – Chatim – Pernambuco)

7 Silenciar a Mangueira (Cartola)

8 Você pensa que eu me apaixonei (Alcides Lopes – Monarco)

9 Chuva (Hortênsio Rocha)

10 Proposta amorosa (Monarco)

11 Falsa recompensa (Mijinha – Monarco)

12 Passado de glória (Monarco)

A very lovely record from one of the most prolific of the sambistas associated with the Portela samba school, A Velha Guarda de Portela (and also the terreiro / samba school of Oswaldo Cruz), his second album under his own name — as far as I know, the first was in 1976 and this was the next. It features a ton of people, as all great samba records do! It also contains a song in homage to the Mangueira samba school, a song composed in the 1930s by Cartola that had gone unrecorded until this album. The album has no weak songs, and the last one – with its firey rhythmic outro — will leave you wanting more.

Contains complete artwork at 600 dpi and downsampled

Monarco – Terreiro (1980) at 320kbs

Monarco – Terreiro (1980) in FLAC LOSSLESS


Paulinho da Viola – 2 for 1 (1971)


Record #1 called Paulinho da Viola released in 1971

01 – Perder e ganhar
02 – Sol e pedra
03 – Dona Santina e Seu Antenor
04 – Para um amor no Recife
05 – Mal de amor
06 – Depois da vida
07 – Moemá Morenou
08 – Oculos Escuros
09 – Cuidado, teu orgulho te mata
10 – Lenço
11 – O acaso não tem pressa
12 – Um certo dia para 21

Paulinho da Viola – Vocals, guitar, cavaquinho
Flute and Clarinet: Copinha
Rhythm and percussion: Elton Medeiros, Marçal and OScar
Drums: Elizeu, Juquinha
Bass: Dininho
Trombone: Norato
cornet: Maurilio

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director and orchestrator: Lindolfo Gaya
Technical director: Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians: Jorge and Nivaldo

Cover photo: Geraldo Guimarães

Record #2 called Paulinho da Viola released in 1971….

13 – Num samba curto
14 – Pressentimento
15 – Para ver as meninas
16 – Nas ondas da noite
17 – Filosofia do samba
18 – Consumir e viver
19 – Lapa em três tempos – Abre a janela
20 – Coraçao
21 – Minha vez de sorrir
22 – Reclamação
23 – Abracando Chico Soares
24 – Vinhos finos… cristais

Paulinho da Viola, 1971 #2
Musicians uncredited but probably much the same as #1, except who played te harpsichord!!
Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director: Lyrio Panicali
Arrangements and orchestration: Maestro Gaya
Technical Director: Z.J. Merky
Recording engineers: Jorge ann Nivaldo

Cover photo: Marisa Alves de Lima


I’ve been wavering back and forth on whether to share this here. Not because of the music – these two records are absolute classics, no problems there! But I do not know who mastered these 2-for-1 Paulinho pressings, and to my ears this is definitely NOT the work of Peter Mew at Abbey Road, who gave such a loving treatment to Paulinho’s catalog in the mid 90s as well as others like Milton Nascimento’s classic records (the good ones..) and non-Brazilian but personal favorite Kevin Ayers. Although music freaks and audiophiles are prone to disagreement over remasters, I find Peter Mew’s work to be some of the best out there, very gentle, maintaining dynamic range, and doing very LITTLE to the original recording. To my ears this 2-for-1, while it doesn’t sound terrible, sounds harsher and more compressed than Mew’s work in general and his work with Paulinho in particular. The careful listener will notice some distortion and modulation in places, and that is a sure sign of an assembly-line style rush job. So, I have been meaning to replace this disc with the individual releases. But not knowing who did the mastering for certain on THIS pressing has kept me from doing that — whoever it is, they are not credited.

BUT — as many of you are now probably saying to yourself, for @#$%’s sake its the music that matters, right? But of course. Even Charles Gavin couldn’t mess up these records (although I’m sure he would give it his best shot). Two records released in 1971 showing Paulinho at the height of his powers, still young and drinking at the font of the Portela samba school. “Pelo Amor em Recife” is one of his best-known compositions; I was lucky enough to hear him perform it IN Recife (well, Olinda actually, but they’re literally connected to each other). With other classics like “Mal de amor” and “Oculos escuros,” there is not a dull moment on this album. “Moemá morenou” is another classic, a samba-de-roda penned with his friend and frequent partner Elton Madeiros. This whole record is more of a classic, straight-up samba recording, and to speak more of production – everything is clear as a bell, especially Paulinho’s voice which is like crystal but does not dominate the balance, rather sitting nicely just barely on top of the instrumentation.

The next album from 1971 is a bit more of an elaborate affair. Immediately you know you are in different territory when you hear the chiming notes of a harpsichord tinkling your samba. Even if you detest harpsichord (I have heard of such people, although I do not quite understand hating an entire instrument), you have to credit Paulinho for a characteristically modest innovation and expansion of his sonic palette. A lot of this record has some post-bossa nova ensemble arrangements that make the record perhaps more “modern”-sounding than his release from earlier in the year, although hinted at on that record with the track “Cuidade, teu orgulho te mata” (Be careful, your pride will kill you…) . “Para ver as meninas” is yet another amazing samba-canção ballad, with what appear to be castinettes in the right channel yet are more likely to be somebody playing a box of matches (samba is excellent at improvising anything around your house into a percussion instrument) and — yet again — harpsichord in the left channel playing modal variations on the melody. This song was, unfortunately, covered by over-rated chanteuse Marisa Monte, but don’t let that keep you away. It is a great song. “Filosofia do samba” is a very famous composition by Candeia (another Portela luminary) and here Paulinho gives it a more than worthy interpretation, perhaps the best version committed to tape. “Consumir e viver” sees Paulinho moving into Samba-Rock territory, something of a rarity to hear him approaching a song with a swinging backbeat worthy of any Jorge Ben (that is Jorge Ben from the mid-1960s; by 1973 Ben had moved on to making amazing records with esoteric lyrics about alchemists and aliens..). “Reclamação” also works the same ground, although a bit more on a heavy bossa nova tip. The material on this second album is on the whole not as strong and memorable as the first, but then that is sort of an unfair comparison — this first album from 1971 is one of the high points of his entire career. one strange thing I noticed, even if you start this disc at track 13 (where the 2nd of the two begins), by the end of it you may find yourself with listening fatigue. Again, this is a direct consequence of the mastering, and further evidence that it was not Peter Mew’s work… I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery yet!

Nelson Sargento – Sonho de um Sambista (1979)

The first album on his own from Nelson Sargento, sambista of the Mangueira samba school (and sometimes Portela) is an excellent addition to any Brazilian music collection!


1. Triângulo Amoroso
2. Falso Moralista
3. Agoniza Mas Não Morre
4. A Noite se Repete
5. Muito Tempo Depois
6. Minha Vez de Sorrir
7. Sonho de um Sambista
8. Infra Estrutura
9. Primavera
10. Por Deus Por Favor
11. Falso Amor Sincero
12. Lei do Cão

He moved to the Mangueira hill as a child, and there he met Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho, with whom he learned to play the guitar. The nickname “Sargento” (Sergeant) came up when he was in the Army. He joined Mangueira’s composers group by the hand of Carlos Cachaça, and wrote sambas-enredo (theme-sambas) for the school during the 1950s, such as “Cântico à Natureza” (with Jamelão/Alfredo Português), from 1955. In the 60s, he became a regular at the bar Zicartola, where he met other samba artists and musicians. Nelson became a member of the group A Voz do Morro, recording the emblematic album “Roda de Samba 2”. His greatest hit, “Agoniza Mas Não Morre”, was released in 1978 by Beth Carvalho and turned into an anthem of the samba culture in Rio. Other hits are: “Idioma Esquisito”, “Falso Amor Sincero”, “Vai Dizer a Ela” (with Carlos Marreta), “Nas Asas da Canção” (with Dona Ivone Lara). In the 90s, he made albums in Japan which included previously unreleased Cartola songs. Sargento was the subject of the awarded documentary “Nelson Sargento” (by Estêvão Pantoja). Nelson is also a writer – having published two books -, an actor and a naïf painter.

from Sacudinben blog

Só o nome do álbum já chama atenção e aguça a curiosidade pra ser ouvido, a expectativa de que tem coisa boa aí nos leva a correr até o aparelho mais próximo na ânsia de confirmar a suspeita. Basta o primeiro acorde. De fato têm coisas muito boas aí.

Primeiro disco solo do sambista, compositor, ator e artísta plástico carioca Nelson Sargento lançado em 1979. O repertório é composto por verdadeiras preciosidades, diamantes em forma de samba. Ao todo são 12 faixas, é desse álbum o clássico “Agoniza, mas não morre” uma espécie de hino de resistência do samba, coisa finíssima. O álbum é excelente de cabo a rabo, outras que são interessantíssimas: “Falso Moralista” que se não me engano foi gravada por Paulinho Da Viola, “A Noite Se Repete” poesia pura, singela ao extremo, “Infra Estrutura” que Nelson diz ter sido o primeiro a usar tal palavra num samba rsrsrsrs e “Falso Amor Sincero” samba realmente genial.

Acho que é isso…

“…Samba, agoniza mas não morre, alguém sempre te socorre, antes do suspiro derradeiro…

Includes full artwork at 600 dpi and all the rest

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Paulinho da Viola – Foi um rio que passou a minha vida (1970)

PAULINHO DA VIOLA – Foi um rio que passou em minha vida
1970 (EMI 852504 2 )

1. para não contraria você ( paulinho da viola )
2. o meu pecado ( zé keti )
3. estou marcado ( paulinho da viola )
4. lamentação ( mauro duarte )
5. mesmo sem alegria ( paulinho da viola )
6. foi um rio que passou em minha vida ( paulinho da viola )
7. tudo se transformou ( paulinho da viola )
8. nada de novo ( paulinho da viola )
9. jurar com lágrimas ( paulinho da viola )
10. papo furado ( paulinho da viola )
11. não quero vocé assim ( paulinho da viola )
faixas bônus ( cd )
12. sinal fechado ( paulinho da viola )
13. ruas que sonhei ( paulinho da viola )

This is a fabulous record, with everything you would expect and nothing less from the inimitable Paulinho da Viola. Great musicianship, flawless songwriting, Paulinho’s voice (like butter!). It starts with a song, it ends with another song, it has highlights, it has a cool album cover, it is recorded really well, it is mastered by the masterful mastering engineer Pete Mayhew at Abbey Road, ba ba ba ba yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea.

What I REALLY wanted to write about was one of the bonus tracks on here, ‘Sinal Fechado’, released as a single.

I thought about providing a straight translation of it, but it would be hard to do it justice in any language but its own. The lyrics are simple, really, with scant repetition, arranged as a dialogue between two people in alternating lines. The idea is beautifully simple – two former lovers who have not seen each other in ages, running into each other on the street at the same corner. One of them (let’s say, a man – it’s never specified) is about to cross the street, and they have only a moment to talk before the traffic light changes. He apologies for not having more time to converse, “Forgive me, but hurry is the soul of our times…” [literally, ‘business’] The other implores him not to worry about it, she too has to run. When will you give me a call? We need to catch up. Next week I promise, maybe, we’ll see each other. Who knows? It’s been a long time… Yes, it has been a long time.
“I had so many things to say, but I disappeared in the dust of the streets.”
“I too had much something to say, but the memory hid from me.”
Please, call me, I need to
Drink something, quickly.
Next week….
The signal…
I’ll look for you…
It’s going to change, it’s going to open…
Promise, don’t forget, don’t forget…

As it’s presented this way, this is a stirring vignette of romance and estrangement, love and distance. The lyrics play off the halting arpregiated and rather dissonant chords of Paulinho’s guitar that run through the song, punctuated only briefly by syncopated chords more familiar to samba and bossa nova. The string arrangements accent the tension, weaving a second melody that feels like a third voice in the dialog, the unspoken subtext. Extremely powerful, the song manages to feel both stark and warm at the same time. It terms of structure and execution, it’s quite different from Paulinho’s usual styles of writing, creating the suspicion that this is more than just another melancholic love song among many. The entire piece also works as a metonym for the feelings of Brazilians held under the heel of the military dictatorship (which grew considerably more oppressive in the same time Paulinho was writing this song, after the passing of Institutional Act No.5 that decimated political rights and civil liberties). Looked at from that perspective, everything becomes multivalent and laced with double-meaning. This was a technique used by many Brazilian songwriters – Chico Buarque most famously – to evade the censorship to which all popular music at the time was being subjected. A certain grim satisfaction was attained by fooling the authorities, a joke at their expense in a way – and if any questions or doubts were raised by the censorship board, the composer could simply respond, “It’s a love song, that’s all.” Throughout the seventies, songwriters adopted this as a deliberate technique – however I am not sure if that’s what Paulinho da Viola was doing here. In many ways it’s a tired and academic question, to look for the ‘hidden meaning’ of a work of art. Part of the magical quality of so many varieties of song is the refusal to spell things out, to assign hard and fast correspondences to word, tone, context, hard facts… I am not interested in robbing the composer or the listener of that magic. But I think it’s safe to say that many listeners in 1970 heard this song with ears informed by the political and social oppression that was becoming more and more part of daily life. The song was covered a few years later by Chico Buarque on the record “Meus Caros Amigos,” and later by Elis Regina on “Tranvsersal do Tempo” as part of a show that was rife with this shuttling back and forth between the emotions of interpersonal relations and political realities. They are not, after all, discrete phenomenon. People loved and lost and married and had children all the while that people were being “disappeared” in Brazil, in Chile, in Argentina… Just as the unjust war in Iraq has affected so many lives for six years and counting, or the inexcusable massacres in Gaza leave scars on our eyes. People move on and live their lives and find ways to nourish their spirit, attempting dignity no matter how ignoble the situation, putting energy into their families, their work, their art. “Hurry is the soul of our times,” indeed, but songs as perfect as ‘Sinal Fechado’ make you stop, and listen.

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