Mar 07 2008

Fernanda Cunha & Zé Carlos: Zíngaro

Two of the Best



ZíngaroThe music Tom Jobim and Chico Buarque wrote together might not be as abundant as the songs Jobim wrote with his more constant partner, Vinícius de Moraes. However, there is no denying that the quality of these songs is first rate, too. So, when Fernanda Cunha decided to record these songs in her third album, Zíngaro, she opted to use a new approach from her previous albums. To focus on the beauty of gorgeous melodies and the depth of profound lyrics, she invited Zé Carlos (acoustic guitar) to be her companion in this musical journey. So, Zíngaro is voice and acoustic guitar — the perfect setting for these timeless songs.

“Zíngaro,” for those who are not familiar with Tom Jobim’s works, was the original name of “Retrato em Branco e Preto.” Tom Jobim originally wrote that melody in 1965. Only in 1968, when Chico Buarque wrote lyrics to it, the song became “Retrato em Branco e Preto,” and that was the first original partnership between the two artists. The same is true regarding “Olha Maria,” which was the original melody named “Amparo,” from the soundtrack of the movie Os Aventureiros (The Adventurers).

To celebrate what would have been Tom Jobim’s 80th birthday in 2007, Fernanda Cunha made a wonderful decision to record these songs. This is not the first time that the Jobim-Buarque partnership is featured in a record. Exactly ten years prior to this album, Quarteto em Cy and MPB-4’s Bate-Boca chose a similar project. Theirs had the same repertoire and also included four extra songs individually written by each composer. In addition to the ten tracks presented here, Tom and Chico also collaborated in a couple of adaptations: “Turma do Funil” and “Carta do Tom.” In “Turma do Funil” (by Mirabeau – Milton de Oliveira – Urgel de Castro), Tom and Chico added introductory melody and lyrics. As for “Carta do Tom,” that was an answer to “Carta ao Tom” (by Toquinho – Vinícius de Moraes).

Fernanda Cunha & Zé CarlosWhat is that sets Zíngaro apart? First and foremost, we have Fernanda Cunha’s voice and performances. Add to that Zé Carlos’ expertise and acoustic guitar excellence. To perform these songs in such an intimate setting is a challenge, and as Fernanda says in the liner notes, the absence of a piano added to the challenge. After all, these are Tom Jobim’s music and are “pianistic.” The other side of this challenge is that it allowed these artists the freedom to perform these songs in a new environment. In “Piano na Mangueira,” for example, the samba rhythm was present with Zé’s fast guitar accompaniment. For “Anos Dourados,” on the other hand, everything was more relaxed. Special mention must also be made to “Eu Te Amo.” That song had originally been recorded by Fernanda’s mother, Telma Cunha, in a duet with Chico Buarque in his 1980’s Vida.

Zíngaro is a nice album with a relaxed feelings. Fernanda’s voice sounds just right to convey the intimate setting created by Zé Carlos’ arrangements. Together, they deliver a fine album to honor the songs of two of Brazil’s best composers.

To learn more about the artist and hear sample tracks, please visit Fernanda Cunha on the web.



Fernanda Cunha & Zé Carlos
Cid 00786-3 (2007)
Time: 44’08”


All songs by Tom Jobim & Chico Buarque, except where noted.

  1. Piano na Mangueira
  2. Anos Dourados
  3. Pois É
  4. Eu Te Amo
  5. Olha Maria (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes – Chico Buarque)
  6. Retrato em Branco e Preto
  7. Imagina
  8. A Violeira
  9. Meninos Eu Vi
  10. Sabiá