Poetry and Music
If you know anything at all about Brazilian music, the first thing that will get your attention in looking at Celia Malheiros’s debut album, Sempre Crescendo, is the name of Hermeto Pascoal on the cover. That name alone is the type of endorsement many artists hope to have when they are already established. In Malheiros CD, however, Pascoal’s name is proof of her artistic ability as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The surprises do not end with Pascoal’s name. Actually, his name becomes secondary when you start listening to Sempre Crescendo and its long list of amazing musicians who come to add to this fine project: Jorge Helder (bass), Wilson das Neves (drums), João Rebouças (piano), Marcos Suzano and Celsinho Silva (percussion), José Neto (electric guitar),Jovino Santos Neto (flute) and several more.
The music in Sempre Crescendo honors god-like names in Brazilian music, such as Cartola (the opening track “Ao Mestre Cartola”), Tom Jobim (“Soul Longing”) and Hermeto Pascoal (“Fremeto”) and does not forget the African deities so much a part of the Brazilian culture (as in “Yemanjá”). Each track brings a new highlight to Malheiros’s ever present imagination and singing style. She makes her own musical milestones performing samba, bossa nova, frevo or pure improvisational music. Recorded between Rio de Janeiro and California, the album mixes the best of two worlds through the eyes and mind of this remarkable artist. As a native of Rio de Janeiro, it is only logical that Malheiros creates beautiful musical paintings about the beaches (“Praia”) and Rio sidewalks (“Calçadas do Rio”). Her music and poetry are smooth and inspired by things close to her heart. It is evident she loves what she sings about, and it clearly shows in all tracks. Switching confidently between Portuguese and English lyrics, Malheiros uses breathtaking images of limitless horizons, eternal lovemaking and waves of passion. In her moving tribute to Jobim, “Soul Longing,” Malheiros delves deep into the heart of “saudade,” probably one of Brazil’s most intimate and seldom understood feelings. The lyrics aptly describe the emptiness after Jobim went away. However, through darkness or stormy weather, the journey goes on “guided by love.” “Soul Longing” is a gorgeous swaying Bossa Nova with just guitar (Malheiros), bass (Helder), piano (Rebouças) and drums (Neves). Also noteworthy is Malheiros daring and experimental duet with Hermeto Pascoal, “Sempre Crescendo com o Mestre.” Pascoal’s piano solo and Malheiros’ vocals are exquisitely haunting. The song evolves from a quiet introduction into a frenetic musical showcase between voice and piano. One cannot help but wonder what it would have been like to be in the studio to watch the recording of this track. Pascoal’s words might best describe the feeling of this track: “it was wonderful to improvise and create music through your soul and heart.” Following this tune, Jovino Santos Neto‘s arrangement to the effervescent instrumental frevo “Fremeto” is energy driven. Contrasting with the brassy arrangement of “Fremeto,” “Chasing Waves” returns to an all acoustic environment with Malheiros being accompanied by Suzano’s percussion and Gama’s acoustic guitars. The folksy tone in this song is yet another revelation of Malheiros talent.
Sempre Crescendo never ceases to surprise listeners at each note and track. Celia Malheiros’s music is both soothing and vivacious, and above all, eclectic and creative.
For more information on the album and artist, please visit Celia Malheiros‘s web site.
Sempre Crescendo Music (2001)
All compositions and poetry by Celia Malheiros.
- Ao Mestre Cartola
- Soul Longing
- Sempre Crescendo com o Mestre
- Crashing waves
- Rio Sidewalk
- Woman Being