Nara Leão – Liberdade, Liberdade (1966)


Nara Leão, Paulo Autran, Tereza Rachel, Oduvaldo Vianna Filho
LIBERDADE, LIBERDADE
by Flavio Rangel and Millôr Ferndandes

Musical direction by Oscar Castro Neves
with Roberto Nascimento on guitar, Ico Castro Neves on string bass, Carlos Guimarães on flute, and Francisco Araújo on drums.  Vocal chorus comprised of Ângela Menezes, Maísa Sant’Anna, Sônio Márcia Perrone, and Roberto Quartin Pinto.

Released 1966 on Forma.  Recorded by R. Cardoso, produced by Gebara/Quartin.
2013 reissue remastered by Luigi Hoffer and Carlos Savalla
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Hino da Proclamação da República
Marcha da Quarta-Feira de Cinzas
Aruanda
Acertei no milhar
Eu não tenho onde morar
Com que roupa
Estatutos da gafieira
Té o sol raiar
Nobody knos the troubles I’ve seen
If you miss me at the back of the bus
Summertime
Leilão
Zumbi
Jota dos três imrãos
Cara al sol
Rumba la rumba
Marinera
Exatação a Tiradentes
Marcha da Quarta-Feira de Cinzas
Hino da Proclamação da República

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So, I recently got my hands on the new Nara Leão boxset.  I have been working my way through it slowly, savoring it, and it is a lot of stuff.  I’ve decided to share some of the less common offerings  first.  Last week we had the record 5 Na Bossa with Edu Lobo and Tamba Trio.   These week brings something probably more obscure.  Some records are obscure for a good reason.  This is one of them.  It would be hard to find a more tedious piece of heavy-handed mid-60s “engaged” material than this.  All that is missing is a rousing rendition of “L’Internationale” or at least “Kumbaya.”

The Brazilian theater and MPB have long had a symbiotic relationship.  Some day I might try to research and write a book about it.  For now, suffice it to say that in general theater people rub me the wrong way.  Maybe it was the mockery I received in that script-writing class I once took as a teenager, leaving me predisposed to dislike theatre people for the rest of my life.  This isn’t to say that I can’t appreciate a well done performance or the merits of a particular dramaturg or actor.  I just don’t want to end up at the cast party afterwards.  

This stage play features Paulo Autran, who I am sure was a very nice fellow.  I have nothing against him.  A veteran of Shakespeare and Brecht, he at least tries to bring the pathos of both to this production that is very much a product of its times.  A couple of years after starring in this play, Autran would feature in Glauber Rocha’s amazing film Terra Em Transe.  Scripted and directed by Flávio Rangel and Millôr Fernandes, “Liberdade, Liberdade” is historically important for being one of the first examples of ‘protest theatre’ in Brazil when it debuted in 1965, a year after the military coup but with the worst yet to come.  In fact by the time this record came out in ’66 it was prohibited to perform it on stage.  A great deal of the play is a patchwork of excerpts from such global freethinkers as Socrates, Martin Luther King, and Jesus. Subtlety is not its strong suit.  I am not going to attempt a critical appraisal on whether the play succeeds or fails at its aims, how so or in what measures, because ultimately the whole thing is just very dull.  Even the attempts at humor fail to actually lighten things up and seem kind of pedantic.  The songs included amidst the lefty soap boxing are rarely played or sung for more than a single verse and chorus.  So unlike Nara Leão’s similar hybrid of theatre and ‘música engajada’, the “Show Opinão”, this one just doesn’t hold up well to multiple listens.  It doesn’t help things that for the CD edition, no attempt to index tracks was made, meaning we have one continuous audio track of 48 minutes.  So forget just trying to find the musical snippets.  This is all a bigger shame because there are some killer compositions strewn about from the likes of Noel Rosa, Baden Powell, Vinicius, Caymmi, Billy Blanco, Carlos Lyra and others.   The music seems to have been performed off-mic too and comes out rather muffled.  (One odd technical note, the album jacket – at least the one featured on the reissue – lists this as a mono recording but it is actually in stereo, albeit mostly just occasional hard panning.)      

If you are dying to hear Nara Leão sing in English or can’t wait for Brazilian interpretations of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen,” then this album tem sua cara, you need look no further.  Actually the (partial) rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” is pretty cool.

If you are researching that tumultuous period between the military coup of March 31, 1964 and the implementation of the AI-5 (Institutional Act Number 5) in ’67, this record will probably be of great interest to you.  If you are tuning in to hear the inimitable Nara Leão, it will likely be a footnote.

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In response to Le Porc Rouge’s question about the label Forma (below in the comments section, where everyone should stop in for a visit now and then),  I attempted to answer in the comments but failed due to size constraints.  I have updated this post with the following information.  My response, written as a comment directly to him:

Porco, I didn’t really know anything about the label either, other than that the amazing Moacir Santos’ “Coisas” is stupidly rare in Brazil even on CD.  But I did some searching for you and found a decent succinct write-up and what appears to be a nearly complete discography.  I took the liberdade of doing a quick free translation .. Hell if I had more of these titles, one of us should start a discog.page with credit to this guy.  His blog post is HERE.   The head honcho Roberto Quartin also has an entry at the Dicionário Cravo Albin which is probably the best online resource for Brazilian music in general.  But this guy Rodrigo’s post is more succinct (it’s too bad he didn’t keep blogging).  Here it goes:

 —————–
Whenever
someone proposes to study the album covers of Brazilian music from the decade
of the 1960s, they prefer to talk about the label Elenco of Aloysio de
Oliveira, and forget about Forma.  Both
record labels played an important part in the modernization of Brazilian music,
and were acquired by Phonogram (later Polygram, today Universal) in the
following decade.

Forma was
created in 1963 by a young carioca named Roberto Quartin (1943-2004) in
parternship with Wadi Gebara.  Until
1969, the label released more than twenty albums, some of which became historic
for the highly experimental level of their production and the attention to
technical detail on the records.  It was
also responsible for debuting albums by great talents in our music, like
Quarteto Em Cy, Eumir Deodato, and Victor Assis Brasil. 

On the 3rd
of February 1965, the newspaper Folha de São Paulo published the following
note:

At the end
of 1964, a new recording company started up in Brazil with the objective to
accelerate the technical advance of Brazilian music that’s been happening in
recent years.  Its name is Forma, its
base is Rio de Janeiro, and its owner is Roberto Quartin.  In the pursuit of the above mission, the
label sought to put together a stable of top artists, to the point that they
adopted the slogan: “The representatives)of Brazilian music are in top Form!”  But these aces could be both established
artists or new faces, people who have never before recorded.  Hence the first releases on Forma are discs that
showcase the already well-known Eumir Deodato and Luís Carlos Vinhas, but also
draw our attention to an excellent new find: 
the Quarteto em Cy.

In the
following decade, Forma continued its activity for a few years under the
administration of Phonogram.  It released
the first recordings of Gonzaguinha and Ivan Lins, products of the university
song festivals at the beginning of the 70s. 
Quartin relocated to the United States and continued his work as one of
the best researchers of the career of Frank Sinatra, even becoming his personal
friend, with authorization to produce albums of unreleased material.

In his last
years of life Quartin was committed, along with Universal, to the reissue and
remastering for CD of Forma’s complete catalog.  
(written by Rodrigo Cunha)

LPs released by Forma

1964 – “Inútil Paisagem”, Eumir Deodato (FM-1)
1964 – “Novas Estruturas”, Luis Carlos Vinhas (FM-2)
1964 – “Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol – Trilha Sonora do Filme”, Sérgio Ricardo (FM-3)
1964 – “Quarteto em Cy”, Quarteto em Cy (FM-4)
1964 – “Esse Mundo É Meu – Trilha Sonora do Filme”, Sérgio Ricardo e Lindolfo Gaya (FM-5)
1965 – “Bossatrês em Forma!”, Bossa Três (FM-6)
1965 – “Chico Fim-de-Noite Apresenta Chico Feitosa”, Chico Feitosa (FM-7)
1965 – “Coisas”, Moacir Santos (FM-8)
1965 – “Ana Margarida”, Ana Margariba (FM-9)
1966 – “Som Definitivo”, Quarteto em Cy e Tamba Trio (FM-10)
1966 – “Forma ’65”, Diversos (FM-11)
1966 – “Liberdade Liberdade, de Flávio Rangel e Millôr Fernandes”, Nara Leão (FM-12)
1966 – “Dulce”, Dulce Nunes (FM-13)
1966 – “Os Afro-Sambas de Baden e Vinicius”, Baden Powell e Quarteto em Cy (FM-16)
1966 – “Desenhos”, Victor Assis Brasil (FM-17)
1966 – “Tempo Feliz”, Baden Powell e Maurício Einhorn (100VDL)
1966 – “Quinteto Villa-Lobos”, Quinteto Villa-Lobos (101VDL)
1966 – “A Viagem”, Mitchell e Ruff (102VDL)
1966 – “Rosinha de Valença Ao Vivo”, Rosinha de Valença (103VDL)
1966 – “Forma 66”, Diversos (104VDL)
1966 – “Vinicius: Poesia e Canção Vol. I”, Vinicius de Moraes (105VDL)
1966 – “Vinicius: Poesia e Canção Vol. II”, Vinicius de Moraes (106VDL)
1968 – “O Violão É… Tapajós”, Sebastião Tapajós (107VDL)
1968 – “Musicanossa”, Diversos (108VDL)
1968 – “O Conjunto de Roberto Menescal”, Roberto Menescal (VDL109)
1968 – “Samba do Escritor”, Dulce Nunes (VDL110)
1969 – “Brasil Ano 2000 – Trilha Sonora do Filme”, Rogério Duprat (VDL112)
1969 – “O Avarento, de Molière”, Procópio Ferreira (VDL113)
1969 – “Sebastião Tapajós e Sua Guitarra Cósmica”, Sebastião Tapajós (VDL114)
1969 – “Big Parada”, Orquestra Tropical (VDL115)
1970 – “Terço”, O Terço (VDL116)
1970 – “Agora”, Ivan Lins (VDL117)
1971 – “Som Livre Exportação”, Diversos (VDL118)
1971 – “Deixa o Trem Seguir”, Ivan Lins (VDL119)
1971 – “Som Livre Exportação Nº 2”, Diversos (FE1019)
1971 – “Muita Zorra! ou São Coisas que Glorificam a Sensibilidade Atual”, Trio Mocotó (FE1020)

Nara Leão, Edu Lobo, Tamba Trio – 5 Na Bossa (1965)

01

5 NA BOSSA
Edu Lobo / Nara Leão / Tamba Trio
1965 Philips 632.769 L
2013 Remaster


1 – Carcará  (José Cândido, João do Vale)   
2 – Reza  (Ruy Guerra, Edu Lobo)   
3 – O trem atrasou  (Paquito, Vilarinho, Estanislau Silva)   
4 – Zambi  (Edu Lobo, Vinicius de Moraes)   
5 – Consolação  (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)   
6 – Aleluia  (Ruy Guerra, Edu Lobo)   
7 – Cicatriz  (Zé Keti, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)   
8 – Estatuinha  (Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Edu Lobo)   
9 – Minha história  (Raymundo Evangelista, João do Vale)   
10 – O morro não tem vez (Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)   

Recorded live at the Paramount Theater, São Paulo

Remastered by Luigi Hoffer and Carlos Savalla at Digital Mastering Solutions

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Well there isn’t a tremendous amount to say about this brief live record.  Solid performances from everyone involved, although the recording itself is less than prestine and seems to have been made worse by questionable remastering that now makes the album feature clipped samples and very obvious noise reduction artifacts… Why do I keep buying CDs just to hear myself complain when I know they’ll screw them up?  Well this otherwise pretty rare so there’s one reason.

Tamba Trio sounds fantastic, as usual, and the two cuts they have to themselves here are nice and long showcases.  Nara is a bit uneven, unfortunately.  Her imperfect intonation was always part of her charm, but in this live setting – inside a large auditorium-style theater and no stage monitors (being 1965) – her pitch is more off than usual.  In fact “Cicatriz,” a song that goes outside her vocal range to begin with, is a downright painful listen.  She sounds excellent singing with Edu Lobo on Aleluia, though.  Sr. Lobo just celebrated his 70th birthday, so it’s a particularly good time to enjoy this rare live recording of him in his youth.  The liner notes thank Aloysio de Oliveira (the man behind Elenco) for loaning him out for this recording.  He sings one of my favorite compositions of his too, “Reza.”

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Paulinho da Viola – Meu Tempo É Hoje (2003)

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 PAULINHO DA VIOLA
Meu Tempo É Hoje
2003 Biscoito Fino

    1     Meu Mundo É Hoje (Wilson Batista)        1:24
2     Pot-Pourri: Injúria/Recado/O Sol Nascerá/Jurar Com Lagrimas
(Cartola / Milton Casquinha / Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola )
feat. Elton Medeiros  4:07
3     14 Anos (Paulinho da Viola)    1:32
4     Rosinha, Essa Menina (Paulinho da Viola) feat. César Faria     1:42
5     Ruas Que Sonhei (Paulinho da Viola)      1:59
6     Sinal Fechado (Paulinho da Viola)    2:43
7     Chora, Cavaquinho (Waldemar de Abreu) feat. César Faria     2:02
8     Carinhoso (João de Barro / Pixinguinha) feat. Marisa Monte
9     Pra Fugir da Saudade (Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola) feat.  Iris, Julieta, and Eliane Faria  2:24
10     Filosofia (Noel Rosa)    2:39
11     Pot-Purri: De Paulo da Portela a Paulinho da Viola/Foi Um Rio Que …
(Monarco / Francisco Santana / Paulinho da Viola) feat. Velha Guarda da Portela     4:21
12     Conflito (Marcos Diniz, Barbeirinho de Jacarezinho) feat. Zeca Pagodinho3:29
13 Retiro (Paulinho da Viola)     1:09
14     Coisas Do Mundo, Minha Nêga (Paulinho da Viola)   3:17
15     Um Sarau Para Raphael (Paulinho da Viola) feat. Nó em Pingo d’Água     4:38
16     Argumento (Paulinho da Viola)    0:37

I haven’t done a blog post in over a week so in a way this is a “filler” post.  Of course nothing Paulinho has done deserves to be called ‘filler’ even if it isn’t a major entry in his huge body of work.  This is a soundtrack record; I highly recommend the film, which is not so much a biopic as a musical portrait of one of Brazil’s national treasures.  On this record, as in the film, Paulinho performs alongside old friends and new as well as a few solo pieces.  A  purist to the core, he works through some classic samba and a little bit of choro with guests like Zeca Pagodinho, Cristina Buarque, and Elton Medeiros (with whom he started his career).  The only thing keeping this record from being perfect is the presence of Marisa Monte – a robot built by scientists working for the music industry – who sings an utterly forgettable version of “Carinhoso.”  I am also of the opinion that a moratorium should be declared on that song as well as Garota da Ipanema, with all due respect to Pixinguinha, Jobim and Moraes.  But this is also why God invented the “skip” button.  Feel free to use it.

There is a relaxed, unrehearsed quality to a lot of the songs here that is very charming.  A couple songs feature family members:  “Rosinha, Essa Menina” and “Chora Cavaquinho” feature his father, César Faria, one of the founders of the Época de Ouro band along with Jacob do Bandolim, and who would pass away a mere four years after this recording, while “Pra Fugir da Saudade” features his daughters.  A high point of the record is Zeca Pagodinho’s appearance, which injects a needed bit of energy into this otherwise nostalgic retrospective.  Not that nostalgia or saudades are bad: the medley with Elton Medeiros (who rocks out on the matchbook) is a bit sloppy but putting “O Sol Nascerá” (co-written with Cartola) next to “Jurar Com Lágrimas” works really well, and the medley with the Velha Guarda da Portela is also nice.  A few of these tracks sound like they came straight from the folio microphones used on the film and so have an almost field-recording quality (you can hear birds chirping outside the windows during “Retiro”).  The questionable acoustics of the “room sound” oddly draw your attention to the intimacy of Paulinho’s renditions on those songs, but I’m still glad for the richer studio textures of Noel Rosa’s “Filosofia” and his own “Sinal Fechado.”

If it wasn’t for his head full of gray hair, you wouldn’t know Paulinho  had aged a day since his first recordings in the mid 1960s.  Granted, this record is now 10 years old (the minimum for being featured on this blog…) but he still sounds this good today.  For fans who already love and respect the walking reservoir of samba who is Paulinho da Viola, this is a nice record to add to your collection, as is the film.  For newcomers, this little splash should inspire a deeper dive.

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Os Partideiros – Sambas do Partido Alto (1970)

OS PARTIDEIROS
Sambas do Partido Alto
1970 Beverley  BLP 80382
Originally released on Copacabana Records
Mono recording

“Partido alto e o samba de roda, improvisado e levado em tempo médio.
Com o reqeubrar das cabrochas vai até o sol raiar.
É acompanhado de pandeiro, agogô, reco-reco, prato de louça etc
Neste LP atuam os maiores partidieros das escolas de samba tais como:

Da Mangueira:  Xangô e Preto Rico
Do Salgueiro – Geraldo Babão e Roberto Ribeiro
Do Império Serrano – Silas de Oliveira, Edgard e Jorginho
Da Portela – Cabana e Casquinha”

PORTELA

1. A Paz do Coreção  (vocal – Cabana)
2. Barracão Número Seis  (vocal – Cabana)
3. Iaiá Sambou  (vocal – Casquinha)

IMPÉRIO SERRANO

4. Na Água do Rio  (vocal – Silas)
5. Que Samba É Esse  (vocal – Jorginho)
6. Canela Fina  (vocal – Edgard)

SALGUEIRO

7. Lola Crioula  (vocal – Geraldo Babão)
8. Te Dou Pancada  (vocal – Os Partideiros)
9. Velhos Tempos  (vocal – Roberto Ribeiro)

MANGUEIRA

10. Eu Vi Quem Foi  (vocal – Preto Rico)
11. Recordação De Um Batuqueiro  (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)
12. Partido da Remandiola  (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)

Coordinated by Moacyr Silva
Production assistant: Waldomiro João de Oliveira
Recording technician:  Norival Reis
Recorded at Continental Rio studio

Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


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“Todo batuqueiro gosta de um bom
partido alto
Seja ele lá no morro ou na
cidade, no asfalto.”
Cascinha, Iaiá sambou

“Quem não é de samba / é melhor se despedir…”
Roberto Ribeiro, Velhos tempos

A solid and ceaselessly propulsive album of partido-alto from singers and composers of four of Rio’s prestigious samba schools:  Portela, Império
Serrano, Salgueiro, and Mangueira.  Of particular note is that the album features several singers here who would have successful recording careers during the 70s but had yet to record LPs under their own name – Xangô da Mangueira, Jorginho do Império, and especially Roberto Ribeiro would all grow in stature as the decade went on.  Also some excellent contributions from Cascinha, Geraldo Babão, and Silas de Oliveira.  A fun trivia fact about Silas – he had been in the Brazilian army and was on the passenger ship Itagiba traveling from Rio en route to Olinda (where he was stationed) when it was torpedoed by a German submarine, an incident which directly led to Brazil’s entry into WWII.  Lot’s of people died; obviously Silas de Oliveira survived, and I for one am glad.

With each of the samba schools only offering up three choice compositions, you can imagine that they don’t disappoint.  The mighty Portela starts things off with “A Paz de Coração,” sung by Cabana in what could serve as a didactic lesson on how to conduct a perfect partido alto.  Casquinha’s “Iaiá Sambou” is a classic, with it’s story of broken high-heel shoes and dancing, as well as a shout-out to Clementina de Jesus, who “in spite of her age, still seems like a young woman.”  The lyrics also give a snapshot narrative of partido alto coming down from the hills, o morro (today simply referred to as favelas, after Rio’s historic Morro da Favela), to the center of the city, reflecting samba’s historical trajectory from “marginal” to ubiquity and acceptance by the elite.  It has two beautiful verses in sequence, the first one quoted above saying that every musician (drummer, specifically) loves a good partido alto and it doesn’t matter where it is (seja no morro ou asfalto);  He follows this by singing that partido alto in the morro is a thing totally natural, but to have one in the city is almost radical.  To my ears this communicates something that, while perhaps seeming superficially a contradiction, is an intentionally two-headed, ambiguous message. That for the musicians, it didn’t matter where they played, as long as the music was good; but for the city’s elite who lived downtown, samba was still a novelty with overtones of excitement and even danger, and not something natural.  The idea confirms something Donga once famously said, but also adds a different shading to it.  Donga had said (and I’m paraphrasing, because I am essentially lazy) that the notion that samba was something solely created or originating in the hills was a myth: wherever there was a party with a group of people playing samba music, they were there, no matter if it was on the morro or in the business district.  Not to belabor the point, but these expressions were kind of challenging the way samba was sometimes portrayed as inhabiting a world apart, ‘a black thing’ of the slums, that was slowly allowed to proliferate through the city perhaps by the benevolence of a newly-enlightened elite.

For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I am particularly fond of the tunes from Império Serrano.  They start out with Águas Do Rio which features Silas on vocal, who is better known as a composer of famous samba-enredos, in particular in partnership with Mano Décio da Viola – who was, incidentally, the father of Jorginho who takes over the vocals on the next tune.  “Que Samba É Esse” is wonderful and in fact beats the version recorded by Xangô da Mangueira on his album “O Rei de Partido Alto” a few years later.  Note the name-checking that goes on, including João da Baiana and Martinho da Vila.  I love the way he drags out certain words in phrases, inserts pauses and emphasizes the accented syllable of certain words to give the effect of falling slightly behind the beat. Listening to him sing is like watching a Slinky undulate down a flight of stairs:

 Tendo viola afinada
Um surdo na mar…cação
Aí a mulata levanta poeira do chão
Fica bom, fica bom!

Serrano Império continues to kick up dust and agitate the dance floor, levantando poeira into their final tune “Canela Fina,” cooking up a slower-paced partido alto written and sung by Edgard Cardoso Barbosa, about whom I know nothing.

The sweet-voiced Geraldo Babão starts out Salgueiro’s selections with “Lola Crioula.”  Like Silas de Oliveira, Babão also composed some famous samba-enredos like “Chico Rei” and “A História do Carnaval Carioca” in the 1960s.  Like many partido altos the lyrics are a variation on a single verse, this time once again echoing the theme of “from the morro to the city,” this time for carnival:  Lola crioula na passarela (Vem ver, vem ver) ; Sacudindo com tudo que é dela (Vem ver, vem ver!) / Todo ano ela desfila / Representando a favela / A moçada compra ingresso / Pra ver o gingado dela “tem dendê, tem dendê  as cadeiras na nega tem dendê”.

The song “Te Dou Pancada” is a catchy bit of reprehensible misogyny that is better left uncommented upon, if truth be told.  I find it kind of ironic that it is the one track here that does not credit any individual for the vocal (leaving it only as “Os Partideiros”) almost as if nobody wanted their name on it.   Salgueiro redeem themselves, however, with the lovely Velhos Tempos, written by Aurinho da Ilha and interpreted by Roberto Ribeiro who manages to swagger with saudade while remembering the old days of Praça Onze, a location that was kind of ground zero for carioca samba.

Mangueira’s songs are all excellent but that kind of goes without saying.  The first is from Preto Rico, one-time Diretor de Harmonia and composer of the sambas like “Velha baiana” and “Mangueira em tempos de folclore.”  This is followed by two songs from Xangô da Mangueira who followed Preto Rico as Diretor in Mangueira.  I sang Xangô’s praises on another post but I will reiterate what a badass he was here.  “Recordação de um Batuqueiro” is one of his famous sambas, played here a little faster than it would be on his first LP.  “Partido de Remandiola” doesn’t appear on any of Xangô’s albums that I have and this might be it’s only appearance on record.  Both tracks are excellent although Xangô’s vocal is a bit muffled, either a technical issue with the recording or maybe he just wasn’t as comfortable in a studio yet as he would be in a few years.

Speaking of studios and lapsing into technobabble for a moment, my copy of this is a Beverly reissue of the Copacabana release.  Almost certainly it was a 1970s reissue, and I believe Beverly was owned by Copacabana and was sort of their budget-line reissue imprint.  You might notice some tape wow-and-flutter on the first few tracks, which is a bit disheartening – to think that only a few years down the road, the master tapes were already borked.  Or, perhaps, the tapes were damaged before even the first pressing, I don’t know ‘cus I haven’t heard an original.  Also, although this is a mono recording, this Beverly is not a true mono pressing: when I attempted a ‘fold down’ for this digitalization, it resulted in some ugly phase cancellation and the lost of just about all the upper-frequency transients.  So, better to leave it in ‘false stereo’.

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24bitpassword/senha: vibes

Various Artists – Bossa Nova: Sua História, Sua Gente (1975)

Bossa Nova Sua Historia Sua Gente
Philips / Polygram
Original release 1975
CD reissue, unknown date

DISC 1

01 – Sofrer é da Vida – Mario Reis
02 – Você – Dick Farney e Norma Bengel
03 – Nós e o Mar – Doris Monteiro
04 – Só Danço Samba – Donato e Seu Trio
05 – Mocinho Bonito – Billy Blanco
06 – Samba do Avião – Cariocas
07 – Rio – Lucio Alves
08 – As Praias Desertas – Elizete Cardoso
09 – Último Canto – Agostinho dos Santos
10 – Influência do Jazz – Leny Andrade
11 – Minha Saudade – Tamba Trio
12 – Por Toda Minha Vida – Lenita Bruno
13 – Tristeza de Nós Dois – Luiz Eca
14 – Tem Mais Samba – Quarteto em Cy
15 – Boranda – Edu Lobo & Tamba Trio
16 – Berimbau – Baden Powell
17 – The Girl From Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto
18 – Carta ao Tom 74 – Vinícius e Toquinho

DISC 2

01 – Samba da Pergunta – João Gilberto
02 – Samba de Verão – Roberto Menescal e Seu Conjunto
03 – Demais – Maysa
04 – Folha de Papel – Sergio Ricardo
05 – Chora Tua Tristeza – Conj Oscar Castro Neves
06 – Ao Amigo Tom – Claudette Soares
07 – Você e Eu – Sylvia Telles
08 – Coisa Mais Linda – Carlos Lyra
09 – Ela é Carioca – Sergio Mendes e Bossa Trio
10 – Maria Bonita – Nara Leão
11 – Upa Neguinho – Lennie Dale
12 – Que Maravilha – Zimbo Trio
13 – De Palavra em Palavra – Mpb4
14 – Chuva – Os Gatos
15 – Tema do Boneca de Palha – Rosinha de Valença
16 – Olha Maria – Chico Buarque
17 – So Tinha de Ser com Você – Elis & Tom
18 – Ana Luiza – Tom Jobim



There are a lot of bossa nova compilations out there, and a lot of them are pretty shitty.  This one is a good enough listen, though not nearly as
Earth-shaking as some of the reviews I’ve seen on the internet might indicate.   In fact, T. “Strokin”Jurek must have a different record than the one I
have – not only does it not feature any tracks by Jorge Ben as he claims (rather, it has a medley of Ben songs performed by Zimbo Trio, however, which is a big
difference), but it also does NOT contain “credits and complete song details” in any way.  What my copy has is an essay-style account of bossa nova with information on key composers, artists, producers and arrangers.  Not song credits.  Maybe Jurek has a different edition, or maybe he doesn’t read or speak Portuguese?  If so he should probably stop being paid to write reviews of anthological Brazilian releases. What Jurek also seems ignorant of is that astute fans of this music don’t gripe about compilations like this because they are fond of
“nit picking.” Usually they are motivated for a love of music that exceeds the profit motive of the companies that put it out.  A case in point can usually be found in any compilation claiming to represent an entire musical movement, such as this one.  Even in the 1960s, the Brazilian recording industry was consolidated in very few hands, with each label being pretty equally possessive of its own artists and covetous of its neighbors.  As you will see, that has resulted in some misleading attempts to anthologize.

This collection was originally released as a triple-LP box with an oversized booklet.  I had both the vinyl and CD and for once we are at least lucky to have a CD booklet that replicates
the info in the original vinyl down to the letter.  Unfortunately that info is still kind of vague on the sort of info fans want, such as the provenance of the tracks – the dates, the records they came from, who may have played on them – in fact just the sort of info that Jurek claims comes with this set but does not.   It’s my feeling this is a pretty deliberate choice.  Philips didn’t even
exist as a discrete record label during the heydey of bossa nova, but rather took over what had been CBD (Companhia Brasileira dos Discos) and eventually acquired the Elenco label and their catalog in the early 70s.  So this compilation is missing all kinds of crucial stuff released by the EMI-Odeon and RGE labels, for example.  To make things more confusing, some of the artists associated with those labels appear here on selections recorded after they had signed contracts with Philips (João Gilberto, Chico Buarque, Zimbo Trio).  They are great songs, but these artists’ canonical contributions to bossa nova are found on their first few records, and not the ones recorded for Phillips.

What this compilation does do really well is fill in gaps in the fan’s knowledge of artists either within bossa nova or who were seminal and influential on its formation (even if some of them – like Dick Farney – are once again featured in post-1970 contexts).  A lot of material, however, isn’t actually bossa nova but samba canção, a genre that provided a lot of the roots, repertoire, and inspiration for bossa nova but which is distinct enough that its progenitors were initially scandalized by the deviations in rhythms and intervals that the kids brought to the block.  Although it’s not clear how much is intentional and how much is a product of the contractual shenanigans on who has rights to what songs, this record ends up being a cool compilation that manages to
avoid repeating the cliched representations of bossa nova (with the exception fo Girl From Ipanema), even at the expense of omitting most of its key compositions and recordings.
Extra points for including tracks from Os Cariocas, Carlos Lyra, Agostinho dos Santos, US expatriat Lennie Dale, Silvia Telles, and Billy Blanco.

 

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Xangô da Mangueira – Rei do Partido Alto (1972)

 Xangô da Mangueira
O Rei do Partido Alto
Released 1972 on Copacabana (CLP 11701)
Reissue 2011 Discos Cobacabana-EMI

1. Moro na Roça
2. Quando vim de Minas
3. Se o Pagode é Partido
4. Cheguei no Samba
5.Que Samba é Esse
6. Se Tudo Correr Bem
7. Pequenininho
8. Recordação de um Batuqueiro
9. Quem não te Conhece é que te Compra (Tiro no Escuro)
10. Arigó
11. Diretor de Harmonia
12. Olha o partido

Que samba esse que acabou de chegar?
É partido-alto, mas é pra quem sabe improvisar

A great record by one of the under-heralded sambistas, Xangô da Mangueira aka Olivéirio Ferreira.  Every track is a winner, and this has been one of the most-played samba records in my stash since I got it, often getting played twice in a row which is something I NEVER do.   A friend of Paulo da Portela, he passed through the samba schools of Portela, Lira do Amor (now defunct) and Mangueira.  This record has probably the biggest concentration of Xangô’s better-known compositions that he recorded in one place.  Well-known because they have been recorded by the likes of Clara Nunes, Martinho da Vila, Elza Soares, Beth Carvalho, Roberto Ribeiro and others since the 1970s heyday of “samba de raiz.”  The record lopes along in an old-school pagode, roda de samba vibe and is one of the best partido-alto records you’re likely to hear.

 

Xangô cultivated a style that was, in his own words, “bem
sacudido, bem jongo,” that is to say laying down a good solid groove: animated, danceable, strongly rooted in the batucada.  The first voice you hear on the record doesn’t actually belong to him, but to Jorge Zagaia, his singing partner on  three of the partido alto tunes here:  Mora Na Roça, Pequenininho, and Diretor de Harmonio, which Zagaia also wrote in homage of his friend.  Scholars and even sambistas don’t have a clear-cut definition of the subgenre in any way that can be condensed into a paragraph, but all agree that it has a long pedigree, going back to the Bantu-language presence in Brazil and the sambas de umbigada, jongo, and the lundu, existing in some form or another as a distinguishable dance and music when samba first urbanized in the early twentieth century.  The name itself connotes an “elite” of samba, something you have to be damn good to even attempt, so you had best be prepared before you enter into the roda de samba.  It’s key distinctive traits were improvised verses with a repeated group chorus or refrain, a refrãozinho really, sung in direct response and typically changing to accommodate the theme elaborated by the lead singer.  Sometimes you  have more than one singer taking the lead, which along with the element of improvisation places partido-alto in a continuum with northeastern traditions like the repentistas or emboladores. There were set compositions in the style in the 1930s from the likes of Noel Rosa, Donga and Pixinguinha.  According to some of its best practitioners, partido-alto had changed considerably by the 1970s, with Aniceto of Império Serrano saying “what we’re all singing today is a lesser thing (samba menor) and we are just calling it partido alto.”  His traditionalism was probably a bit overstated for effect – on the best of the 1970s examples, you can still get the sense of spontaneity and call-and-response.  But there is no doubt that the limitations of the record business, and even the medium of electronic sound reproduction itself, give us only a small taste of what went on in those old rodas de samba.  To paraphrase Aniceto again: partido-alto had a set time to start, but no set time to end.  It could go on and on without a break until eventually the energy runs out.. Then someone will start it up again with a different melody and theme.  You get a good sense of this watching the tragically brief Hirzman documentary “Partido Alto”, which has finally received a restoration (so I can finally ditch my copy transferred from an old VHS tape).   In fact listening to Candeia hold court in the first part of that short film is probably the best class on partido-alto you could wish for, notwithstanding his cara brabo.  Interested people would also do well to listen Candeia’s albums that have a couple extended cuts of partido-alto, and perhaps most especially the first record made by the group Partido em 5 (which also featured Candeia).A good number of the tunes on Rei do Partido-Alto all begin with a similar cavaquinho riff, and it doesn’t take much imagination to hear how, with a little variation in rhythm, most of these songs could have been strung together and most likely were at one point.  But while there may be some artifice in squeezing that experience into a three-minute composition, you won’t hear any complaints from me about gems like “Diretor de Harmonia.”  Xangô was in fact the director of harmony for the Mangueira samba school, a role of no small consequence:  the first office-holder of Diretor de Harmonia was none other than Cartola.

             Although written by Zagaia it works as autobiography and a bit of braggadocio (Eu sou o samba em pessoa) .  Other songs here take the same approach, with concise declarative lines placing the singer inside the universe of samba:  “Já cantei muito samba / Já foi batuqueiro / E na roda de samba / Foi diretor de pandeiro” (in Recordação de Batuqeiro).  There are so many great verses scattered around the album that evoke a lifetime seduced by samba, its physicality while lived out daily at every opportunity:  “Se o pagode é partido/ Ela conta comigo/ Eu vou lá/ Eu vou em casa buscarmeu pandeiro/ Eu sou partideiro/ Não posso faltar.”  And later,  “Senhora dona da casa / me dê licença pra entrar / Fui em casa buscar meu pandeiro

/ Sou partideiro / não posso faltar.”  Remembering hanging out with Donga and João da Baiana.  Or going out for a night of samba with a girl on your arm and a desire to “show these guys what I’m made of”Sem meu tamborim não fico
Sem minha cabrocha não vou
Quero mostrar a esses caras
Quero mostrar quem eu sou

(from Cheguei no samba)

This is the convivência of samba that Xangô da Mangueira so capably communicates; the sort of false-cognate in English “conviviality” doesn’t really get to it, because its not just about a festive atmosphere but about the intimacy of social relations and familiarity of people, many of whom earn their livelihood at jobs they don’t care much to talk about, because what they really for is this, the nightlife of music and poetry and friendship that characterized these scenes.   Xangô was a retired security guard by this point; Candeia had been a policeman, a job which left him in a wheelchair for life; Nelson Cavaquinho had been in the Policia Militar, apparently not a very good policeman either, prone to losing himself in local bars during his shifts and losing track of the battalion’s horses.  When you hear sambistas recount their lives, they may tell stories about the different jobs they’ve held but you rarely get the sense that they identified with them much – their identity was constituted in the botequim and the roda-de-samba, in the hours of leisure when their creative energy was allowed free play.

Probably the biggest ‘hit’ here is “Quando Vim de Minas,” which became immortalized by Clara Nunes.  Xangô was a native carioca but Clara was, of course, from Minas Gerais so the song is almost an anthem for her.  An unforgettable melody and refrain, and lyrics that  invoke images of the slaves put to work in diamond and gold mines who smuggled out gold dust under their fingernails or in religious statues.  It’s the kind of ambiguity that give samba and other kinds of popular music an edge of critique and subversion.

Xangô da Mangueira returned to performing and recording for a while before he passed away a few years ago at the age of 85.  He recorded a CD that was sold through a website set up by someone in his circle, maybe his family.  And we are lucky enough to have a ‘depoimento’ in the form of an interview-performance (ala MPB Especial format) that was filmed at the Múseo do Estado in the neighborhood of Catete, Rio.  This is a cool place, by the way, if you ever have the chance to visit it; It also has a movie theater showing Brazilian and international independent films.  (One of the things I really like about Rio is the number of independent movie theatres, all of them located conveniently close to Metro stations.  Something a lot of cities in Brazil sorely lack — Recife, hello?)  I’ve linked to the hour-long film HERE.  It’s not exactly riveting stuff but worth a look if you are enjoying this record.  Xangô’s voice is considerably more rouca or hoarse, and he has to teach his backing musicians a few numbers on the spot.   He tells some good stories, about how he gained his nickname, dispelling the appearance of him being some formidable pai-de-santo by relating how he received the name while working in a textile factory and there was a day when a guy was just giving out nicknames to anyone who didn’t have them.  He talks about his first tentative experiences singing samba on the last train leaving the downtown area, where all the sambistas typically met up to commute back to their homes in the periphery or in the morros, when each person would take turns singing.  He talks about sambas roots in improvisation, and in marginality; of working and socializing around Rua de Santana and Praça Onze.   And of advice he got when he first assumed an official position in a samba school:  “There are two things about samba: education and humility,” a value placed on knowing your art form, of a kind of sophisticated worldliness, coupled with the respect for the different roles in a samba school and the people who fill them, the pastores and the musicians, without which carnival would be impossible.  Well it seems Mr. Ferreira had plenty of these things.  He also recalls that when he went to meet the directorate of Mangueira the
first time, they gave him a “test” in improvising, to show if he was up
to their standards.  He then assumed the job of Diretor de Harmonia and
later on became one of their “intérpretes” or lead singers.

I hope you enjoy this addictive record.  I think I listened to it at least four times just while writing this blog post.

in 320 kbs

MIRROR 1 //  MIRROR 2 ///

 

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