Touching Your Soul
Voice teacher Eveline Hecker (Rio de Janeiro, 1957) is better known as a member of the vocal group Arranco (formerly known as Arranco de Varsóvia). Their albums Quem É de Sambar (1997) and Samba de Cartola (1999) are outstanding recordings. Having worked with Francis Hime, Tom Jobim and Beth Carvalho, Hecker also added vocals to recordings by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Toninho Horta and several others. After she left Arranco in 2000, she became involved in Hime’s Sinfonia do Rio de Janeiro de São Sebastião, a magnificent work commissioned by musicologist Ricardo Cravo Albin. At the same time, she also began to work on the project that generated this album.
With songs written by José Miguel Wisnik, a professor of Brazilian literature at the Universidade de São Paulo, Ponte Aérea is a labor of love for one of the best contemporary songwriters in Brazilian music. Wisnik’s music is dense and profound, and through Hecker’s ethereal voice, it has found the perfect vehicle to be heard by many. Wisnik has been recorded by artists in Brazil (e.g., Gal Costa and Zizi Possi) and abroad (e.g., Mark Levine & The Latin Tinge). In Ponte Aérea, however, listeners encounter the rare opportunity to hear 15 of his songs in a production by Zeca Assumpção and co-directed by Hecker and Assumpção. Besides Wisnik (piano) and Assumpção (acoustic bass), other artists present in this album include the acoustic guitars of Maurício Carrilho, Ricardo Silveira and Luiz Brasil, Luciana Rabello (cavaquinho), Pedro Amorim (mandolin), Marcos Suzano and Celsinho Silva (percussion) and Jaques Morelenbaum (cello) among others.
Ponte Aérea is not your average album, and unless you are someone who craves for works rich in literary poetry, you will not likely hear this album being played in most radio stations. Too bad they’re missing it. Ponte Aérea is one of those recordings that you need to listen to very carefully. The music and performances are beautiful, but it is in Wisnik’s elaborate lyrics that the listener finds the best of rewards. The Paulinho da Viola citation in “Viúvo/O Tempo não Apagou” is one of those moments. The choro ensemble with Carrilho, Amorim, Rabello and Silva takes you to an old neighborhood bar in Rio de Janeiro. The same feeling is reprised in another samba, “Comida e Bebida.” The album becomes more introspective with slow songs such as “Tempo sem Tempo” — its word play with “tempo” used in various combinations is breathtaking — “Polonaise” and the gorgeous “Terra Estrangeira,” which Wisnik dedicates to his mother. Then we have Wisnik’s classic “Mais Simples,” in which Hecker’s voice highlights the superhuman gift of loving. Another well-known piece is “Assum Branco,” Wisnik’s meticulous melody and entrancing lyrics drawing from the classics “Asa Branca” and “Assum Preto.” The same melancholy in those classics is captured beautifully in the sad melodic lines and touching lyrics. Of course, no Wisnik collection would be complete without “Se Meu Mundo Cair.” This end-of-a-love-affair tragic song is surprising in its “punch line.” As a relationship is crumbling down, all feelings are examined little by little. Pain, goose bumps, the ground beneath your feet opening up with nowhere to hold on to. And then the last line: “Se meu mundo cair, eu que aprenda a levitar” (if my world falls apart, I better learn how to levitate). It is never the end without a solution.
Though there are a couple of sambas and two other tunes with some electronic sampling, most songs here are meditative and perfect for those days you want to curl up in the couch and the skies outside are stormy. Nothing can sum up Ponte Aérea better than Zeca Assumpção’s words in the liner notes. This is an album to “touch your soul.” Discover that bridge to your soul.
Read more about Ponte Aérea and also hear track samples at Biscoito Fino.
Biscoito Fino BF-570 (2003)
All tracks by José Miguel Wisnik, except where noted.
- Ponte Aérea
- A Olhos Nus
- Viúvo / O Tempo não Apagou – w/ José Miguel Wisnik
- Tempo sem Tempo (José Miguel Wisnik – Jorge Mautner)
- Polonaise (Poem by Adam Micklewicz translated by Paulo Leminski)
- Estranho Jardim
- Terra Estrangeira
- Mais Simples
- Assum Branco
- Por um Fio (José Miguel Wisnik – Paulo Neves) – w/ José Miguel Wisnik
- Comida e Bebida (José Miguel Wisnik – José Celso Martinez Correa)
- Se meu Mundo Cair
- Saudade da Saudade (José Miguel Wisnik – Paulo Neves)