I had no idea what impact Tudo Que Me Nordestes would have in my life. When I went to hear Eudes Fraga for the first time in July 2003, I knew nothing about him or his music. In fact, the reason for attending that concert was to hear Heriberto Porto, Marimbanda’s flute wizard, who was performing in Fraga’s band that evening. You could blame the gentle ocean breeze (the concert was on the beach), the starry and moonlit sky, the energetic audience who wouldn’t stop dancing, but the fact is that Fraga’s music was the sole reason for that incredible experience. His music is genuinely Brazilian northeastern in every aspect, and yet his audience is young and not the type you’d expect to be having a good time with regional music.
Fraga is a native of Ceará, but spent some 15 years in Rio de Janeiro before returning home. He has performed with Quinteto Agreste, Zezé Mota, Rosa Passos and Marcos Valle. Whether in Rio de Janeiro or in Belém (Pará) in north Brazil, one thing is constant: his music captivates all audiences. He has received close to 200 awards in music festivals throughout Brazil and even in Argentina. As a songwriter, he has worked and co-written songs with Paulo César Pinheiro, Fausto Nilo, Dudu Falcão, Rafael Altério and many others. His music was recorded by Jane Duboc, Flávio Venturini, Sérgio Santos and other great performers of Brazilian music. After his first solo album in 1995, Por Todos os Cantos, Fraga took a long break before releasing this superb recording, Tudo Que Me Nordestes.
This is an album that pleases even before you play the actual recording. The title presents the word play between “Nordestes” (northeast) in place of “destes” (given). So, instead of “everything you’ve given me” (the implicit title), Fraga says “everything you’ve northeasterned me.” The CD is very meticulous for its musical beauty and outstanding liner notes artwork. A beautiful detailed statue of Padre Cícero is encased on the spine of the jewel case. That’s an extra touch of class — and I’m certain that Padre Cícero’s blessing can only help a great CD such as this.
There is no way I can do justice about Tudo Que Me Nordestes. Here are some of my thoughts as I listen to the album once again. The opening track, “Na Contramão,” is a song about the Brazilian people and how we live with adversity. The analogy of going the wrong way (“na contramão”) through traffic is cleverly addressed with some interesting examples:
Paulinho da Viola toca cavaquinho Nelson Cavaquinho toca violão Povo brasileiro inverte o caminho E passa a andar na mão.
Paulinho da Viola plays the cavaquinho Nelson Cavaquinho plays the guitar Brazilian people inverts the way And then goes forward
The inversion between Paulinho da Viola’s and Nelson Cavaquinho’s instruments is right on target. Quite a nice and simple analogy.
Paulo César Pinheiro’s lyrics are presented in this album via three songs. All are excellent songs, but that is no surprise since Pinheiro is one of Brazil’s foremost lyricists. What was most amazing to me was how he captured the essence of Fortaleza (the capital of the state of Ceará) in “Verdes Mares.” His pride of Ceará is intense, and he is not even a native of that state. At the end of that tune, Carlos Barroso’s classic “No Ceará É Assim” echoes and fades away. He was also a magnificent writer in “Pra Fazer o Meu Baião,” with its lyrics talking about the folklore, the food and beliefs of the northeast region. This track, in particular, contains an electrifying flute solo by Roberto Stepheson. With him on pífanos (wooden flutes) and Waldonys on accordion, this track overflows with energy. One of the most entrancing moments of this album comes with Dori Caymmi and Paulo César Pinheiro’s “Romeiros.” The mystifying drums of the Maracatu Leão Coroado is magical and reminiscent of fairy tales. The chanting voices in the interlude prayer provides a beautiful break for the rich percussion. Fraga’s own statement of “northeasterness” in “Dragão do Mar” could easily become an unofficial anthem to Fortaleza. He paints the colorful landscape of Fortaleza — white sandy beaches, green oceans, Aldeota, Volta da Jurema — along with the varied landscape of the country side with flora and fauna, and adds the many illustrious names the state of Ceará has given Brazil: Chico Anísio, Raquel de Queiroz, José de Alencar and several others. This baião is infectious. Just before ending this journey throughout the Brazilian northeast, Fraga performs “Tem Que Ser Nordestino pra Saber Dar Valor ao Nordeste Brasileiro.” The song is performed in “repente” style with its recitative tone and tells everyone what it takes to value that vast land, the sun, the birds, the beliefs and so much more. It ends with an invitation for everyone — southerners and foreigners — to come visit the Brazilian northeast.
The musicians accompanying Eudes Fraga know their instruments very well and love this kind of music, it’s obvious. You can sense their vitality in every track. Among the notable artists, Pantico Rocha (percussion), Chico Chagas (accordion), Roberto Stephenson (flute) and Marcelo Mariano (bass) deserve more than a simple mention for their great solos. Special guests Waldonys (accordion), Maurício Carrilho (7-string guitar), João Lira (10-string steel guitar) and Manassés (12-string guitar) simply jam throughoutTudo Que Me Nordestes. I got this CD in July 2003 and continue playing it at home, at the office and in the car. It doesn’t seem like it’ll stop. If you like regional music with good beat, lots of zabumba and accordion, you won’t go wrong with this album. It is a desert-island CD!
To learn more about Eudes Fraga and hear samples of this album, please visit his web site.
Tudo Que Me Nordestes
Independent EF-002 (2002)
- Na Contramão (Eudes Fraga – Joãozinho Gomes – Paulo Fraga)
- Amor de Reis (Eudes Fraga – Fausto Nilo)
- Pra Fazer o Meu Baião (Eudes Fraga – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Urubu Mestre do Vôo (Eudes Fraga – Joãozinho Gomes) – with Nilson Chaves
- Paixão (Vicente Barreto – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Sinal de Inverno (Luiz Fidelis)
- Romeiros (Dori Caymmi – Paulo César Pinheiro) – with the drums of the Maracatu Leão Coroado
- Dragão do Mar (Eudes Fraga)
- Abençoado (Eudes Fraga – Paulo César Feital)
- Verdes Mares (João Lira – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Zoím Camaleão (Eudes Fraga)
- Tem Que Ser Nordestino pra Saber Dar Valor ao Nordeste Brasileiro (Eudes Fraga – Luís Homero – Ivanildo Vilanova)
- Sertão da Minha Alma (Marcos Quinan – Chico Sena)