Nov 23 2005

Fred Martins: Raro e Comum

New Brazilian Pop Music


Raro e ComumFred Martins (1970) is from Niterói, across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. It’s surprising how many good musicians come from there. Baby Consuelo and Zélia Duncan are among the more famous ones born with a view on Rio. Marcela Biasi, Suely Mesquita, Kali C are other artists from Niterói whose cds have been talked about here on Música Brasileira. And Fred Martins is yet another representative of the dormitory town.

Fred grew up listening to the music most of his generation listened to; Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Beatles, MPB. The music influenced the direction he chose; Brazilian pop music, or as it sometimes is referred to: Nova MPB. You can describe it as pop music spiced up by the more complex rhythms of Brazilian popular music, with an extra care for often poetic lyrics. It became a movement when RioArte supported a project to this phenomenon, resulting in the cd Novíssimos O Ovo, with artists like Fred Martins, Suely Mesquita, Rodrigo Campello and Pedro Luís. Fred spent a decade working for the late Almir Chediak, transcribing music for the songbooks of Noel Rosa, Rita Lee, Chico Buarque, Tom Jobim and others (released by Editora Lumiar). His talent as a composer was soon noticed by Ney Matogrosso, who recorded “Novamente” on his 1999 Olhos de Farol album. Fred MartinsFellow townswoman Zélia Duncan also recorded his music (two tracks on her album Sortimento), as did Maria Rita (“Sem Aviso” on her recently released cd Segundo).

This is Fred’s third album, although the first (mini) album is often forgotten also by the artist himself, who was not happy with his vocal performance at that moment. His first official album Janelas was released in 2001 and now there’s Raro e Comum. It’s a more than pleasant pop album with good compositions, mostly by Fred Martins and his long time musical friend, writer and teacher of literature, Marcelo Diniz. Bassist Dunga was hired to add his experience in popular music. The title of the cd, Raro e Comum (Rare and Common), refers to the idea that a composer has to find his own unique voice, but yet has to sound familiar enough to attract the audience. In this respect the choice for Ney Matogrosso as guest vocalist on the title track, was a very good one. The unique voice of Ney leaves its mark on this delightful pop ballad. Zélia Duncan is the other guest vocalist. On “A Música em Mim,” Zélia takes possession of the song, the way only she can do it. Each song on this album has a very enjoyable character, the one of friendly unpretentious music. The cd is a pleasure to listen to and also suitable for a more profound way of listening with paying closer attention to the lyrics. The reggae beat of “Cristalino” rocks gently by the likes of Humberto Barros on the Hammond organ. The samba “O Samba Me Diz” is simply accompanied by the fender Rhodes piano of Paulo Calasans, percussionist Marcos Suzano, Dunga on bass and effects and the acoustic guitar of Fred Martins. Like that, there’s joy in every one of the eleven tracks on this album by one of Brazil’s promising composers of the so called new MPB.



Fred Martins
Raro e Comum 
Macaya Music MCY 0001 (2004)
Time: 38’43”


  1. De Novo (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  2. Sem Você (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  3. Telefonema (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  4. Raro e Comum (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  5. Cristalino (Fred Martins)
  6. O Samba me Diz (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  7. Pescaria (Fred Martins – Lucina)
  8. A Música em Mim (Lucina – Lenita Lopez)
  9. Céu Acima (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)
  10. Todo Mundo Diz (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz – Pedro Martins)
  11. Sem Horizonte (Fred Martins – Marcelo Diniz)