A Good Body of Work
This is the problem with Brazilian music: many excellent artists are not known outside of the Rio de Janeiro – São Paulo – Bahia triangle. There is excellent music being made in places such as Paraná (see Cantos da Palavra, for example), further south from São Paulo. Of course let us not forget the very strong music scene from Minas Gerais and Pernambuco. Obtaining releases outside the main stream becomes an exercise in persistence. The good side of this all is that the results are often extraordinary and rewarding. Take, for example, the music of Ceará.
One of the most prolific songwriters in the recent Ceará music movement is David Duarte. Recorded by several Cearense artists (Daniela Montezuma, Aparecida Silvino, Kátia Freitas and others), Duarte has consistently released good solo albums. He is a talented musician (guitar) and an even better lyricist. His music covers the universe of pop music without forgetting the Brazilian northeastern roots where he grew up. This combination of pop and regional is what makes Duarte’s music so appealing to many, myself included. After listening to two of his previous albums, I did not think twice when I saw his latest release, Palavra Música. The title itself was enough to catch my attention. David Duarte did not disappoint me.
Palavra Música is mostly Duarte’s music. Except for two tracks, all others were entirely written by David Duarte. The album contains well-written ballads with occasional regional influences of a baião, as is the case of “Gosto de Baião.” In contrast with those ballads, we have some surprising numbers. “Brasil Musical,” for example, has an astonishing sound reminiscent of Lenine’s great work. In addition to a catching tune, that song has very elaborate lyrics. Think of it as a complement to Chico Buarque’s “Paratodos” and Caetano Veloso’s “Pra Ninguém.” In Duarte’s song, he uses the exultation form of singing about a musical Brazil. He warns the listener about how dangerous it would be for Brazil to be the musical giant it is. Of course, he uses the word danger within quotes, which in Brazilian slang conveys the sense of astonishment rather than peril. He proves his point by citing well-known figures in Brazilian music, from Arrigo Barnabé to Xangai , from Chico Buarque to Maysa, from Cartola to Zé Ketti and more. Márcio Rezende’s flute solo and Pantico Rocha’s percussion and drums in this track are awesome. The song can clearly exemplify the choice in the album title. To calm things down a bit, Duarte does his own version of “O Que Eu Queria,” previously recorded by Aparecida Silvino. The tempo heats up again with the embolada-rap “Gírias do Norte.” This is one great example of a traditional style — embolada — updated with contemporary influences — rap. The arrangement is very tastefully done and in no way damages the beauty of emboladas. The album closes with the title track, “Palavra Música,” a song that praises the power of music in everything and how it influences and moves our lives.
The musicians in Duarte’s band include Renato Campos and Dudu Freire (bass), Denílson Lopes and Pantico Rocha (drums), Reno Saraiva (keyboards), Márcio Rezende (flutes), Carlinhos Patriolino (mandolin) and special guest, 12-string guitar extraordinaire Manassés de Souza. In the liner notes for the album, Duarte included the definition of music from the Brazilian dictionary commonly known as Aurélio. The first entry defines music as the “art and science of combining sounds to produce pleasing sounds to the ears.” Palavra Música goes beyond that definition. The album delivers a good body of work for both contemporary and traditional listeners. The world of pop is enriched with David Duarte’s compositions and performances.
Modo Maior MM 118 (2002)
All tracks by David Duarte, except where noted.
- À Toa
- Bem Perto
- Eu Tô Lá no Mar
- Então Vem
- Canção pra Você
- Gosto de Baião (Newton Fortaleza – Márcio Rezende)
- Meu Lugar
- Brasil Musical
- O Que Eu Queria
- Gírias do Norte (Onildo Almeida – Jacinto Silva)
- Palavra Música