Dec 12 2003

Celia Porto: Palhaço Bonito

 An Emerging Talent


Palhaço BonitoBorn and raised in Brazil’s capital, Brasília, Célia Porto is an emerging talent with three albums under her belt. After recording songs by Legião Urbana (Célia Porto Canta Legião Urbana, 1996), Porto decided to record original music for her third CD. Produced and arranged by husband Renio Quintas (see a review of his own As Canções), Palhaço Bonito brings 14 original compositions by Quintas and other songwriters. The album covers a varied repertoire of pop ballads, rock and samba. This diverse collection gives Porto the chance to show her vocal range in different settings.

Backing Porto, the basic band is comprised of Renio Quintas (keyboards), Kaká Magalhães (guitar), Gê Mendonça (electric bass) and Ademar Boka (drums). In addition to them, there is a long list of guest appearances including Toninho Alves (flutes), Jorge Helder (guitars and acoustic bass) and an incredible number of brass players — they’re excellent in “Astros de Papel.”

“Juriti,” the album opener, is a slow rock ballad that anticipates the proposition of Palhaço Bonito. The lyrics describe the dawn of a new day. Quintas’s “Cidade Nua” continues this musical flight taking listeners on a trip over the ample spaces of Brasília. This song and the next two — “Na Volta do Tororó” and “Riacho de Areia” — draw on some nature theme with Porto’s voice singing of mandacarus (cacti), guavas and flowing down the river Jequitinhonha in Minas Gerais. “Riacho de Areia” evokes some melancholic tones thanks to Leander Motta’s percussion and Jorge Helder’s acoustic guitar solo and arrangement. After the first six tracks, we come to the title track and its folkloric magic rhythm. With the special percussion guest appearance of the Centro de Tradições Populares de Sobradinho, “Palhaço Bonito” provides a wonderful change of pace from the initial ballads and more introspective songs. Flutes, maracas, drums and tambourines mix with the vocal support of Liga Tripa in this track.

From this point on, Palhaço Bonito changes at every turn. Whereas “1 x 0” is like a pop-rap rich with brass instrumentation, “Astros de Papel” brings a flavor of big band in its introduction only to change into a samba. Porto sings in Portuguese and is followed by Gérson de Veras’s German lyrics (the song is dedicated to Nina Hagen). From here on samba takes over in the deliciously swinging “Planeta Umbigo.” The song is infectious. The same can be said of “De Deus,” especially with Ademir Júnior’s clarinet accompaniment, and “Samba da Rua 8.” The band and Porto’s voice appear to be totally different from the start. Their versatility is quite impressive. More brass accompaniment features Moisés Alves’s trumpet and flugelhorn solos in the patriotic “Samba da Bandeira.” Nonato Veras’s lyrics paint a rising moon behind banana trees and compares that with the Brazilian flag. The image is beautiful. Closing the album, we hear a different remix of the title track.

Ranging from rock ballads to samba with incursions into Brazilian folklore, Palhaço Bonito is very pleasing and surprising. To hear samples of Célia Porto’s music, please visit her home page.



Célia Porto
Palhaço Bonito
Ponte Studio 110129-06 (2000)
Time: 44’03”


  1. Juriti (Aldo Justo – Paulo Tovar)
  2. Cidade Nua (Renio Quintas)
  3. Na Volta do Tororó (Raique Makau)
  4. Riacho de Areia (Folklore)
  5. Trim!!! (Eduardo Rangel)
  6. Vento (Cláudio Vinícius)
  7. Palhaço Bonito (Aldo Justo – Nonato Veras – Miguel)
  8. 1 x 0 (Omar Nogueira)
  9. Astros de Papel [To Nina Hagen] (Gérson de Veras – Marcelo Matos) w/ Gérson de Veras
  10. Planeta Umbigo (Renio Quintas)
  11. De Deus (Bené Fonteles)
  12. Samba da Rua 8 (Sérgio Duboc – Vicente Sá – Flávio Faria)
  13. Samba da Bandeira (Nonato Veras)
  14. Palhaço Bonito – Boi (Aldo Justo – Nonato Veras – Miguel)