It’s sad how good music sometimes stays hidden from the music lover. The independent music world is very difficult to explore. While wandering through a cd store, there’s often no clue as what to expect from unfamiliar names in music. The information has to come from the cd’s package, the box and the booklet. In this case the words “este disco é dedicado a Joni Mitchell” give away a clear direction. When someone dedicates his album to this grand lady of pop music, then you can expect something serious; something as serious as good lyrics, tasteful music with jazz, pop and rock influences and a no nonsense instrumentation. On all these qualities Abalo Sísmico from Glauco Lourenço scores very well.
Although this is the first cd release of Glauco Lourenço’s, the singer/composer from Rio is already more than a decade active in the music world. His first steps as composer were carefully set in 1996 and since then on, his name became more familiar in musical circles. Among his favorite music, Glauco names jazz icons as Anita O’Day, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk and Chet Baker. But these are only a few of the names Glauco finds inspiration in. The most important person in his musical life is without any doubt Joni Mitchell. Or as Glauco’s says: “I had never thought about being a composer until I listened to her work. It was about 25 years ago, but I remember from the first song I felt I wanted to do something like that. She’s the number one musician/composer/lyricist to me; the most complete one of the second half of the 20th century, and she still is.” That’s why he dedicated his first album to Joni. “I think she’s really underrated. So it’s my little homage as a fan.”
But there’s more Joni than that on this album. The music Glauco performs on Abalo Sísmico is from a high standard. Besides good composing and challenging lyrics, the instrumentation is tasteful and the recording is spotless. Glauco loves to work with lyricists Mathilda Kóvak and Suely Mesquita, two writers he knows very well and who are well known by Brazilian artists like Pedro Luís, Celso Fonseca, Chico César among others. Glauco has his own way to put music to the lyrics the two ladies provided him with. He explains: “I rarely work with choruses. I like to take melody and form as something quite loose. In addition, harmony is something that really turns me on, so I take my time until I get to the chords I hear behind lyrics or ideas. I know all this makes it more difficult and nobody has much time today… but I can’t help it. That’s the way that it comes out. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz, and improvisation is part of my musical foundation.” With this concept Glauco picked out some very fine musicians. The jazzy sound from guitarist João Gasper (who has worked with Zélia Duncan), together with attentive bass playing by Bruno Migliari (who also recorded with Adriana Maciel), forms an important part of the color of the cd. We also hear drummer/percussionist Edu Szajnbrum (Aquarela Carioca), accordionist Marcos Nimrichter, pianist Carlos Fuchs, saxophonist Eduardo Neves and violinist Nicolas Krassik. Singer Suely Mesquita is guest on one track (“Curare”). Each song gets the instrumentation it asks for. Glauco sings sometimes with a bluesy undertone, next he sounds jazzy or at moments even theatrical. His performance shows that he wrote the music himself. As a bonus, the cd is recorded with a beautiful sound.
Since the lyrics are not too easy to get for listeners with less knowledge of the Portuguese language, Glauco was kind enough to provide us with some clues about each of the songs. But of course, as with all good lyrics, they’re open for an own interpretation:
“Abalo Sísmico (Seismic Tremor)” is a passionate description of a kiss that can make you feel so alive that you feel close to death.
“Sonho Embora (Dream Away)” is an ironic piece about meeting again someone you had a relationship with, but who now pretends to never had anything to do with you.
“Chora Dor (Cry Pain)” is about trying to come to terms with a new pain. The pain materializes into a subject who also suffers and cries and feels as uncomfortable as the one feeling it.
“TV Que Ninguém Vê (TV That No One Watches)” is a tale of homeless children in the big cities of Brazil who inhale toxic substances to keep going and make life less painful.
“Alma Gêmea (Soul Mate)” talks about intolerance, especially towards sexual orientation, and what people might end up losing for not accepting differences.
“Travesseiro (Pillow)” is a romantic and melancholic, love song. One looking for that someone who can make them feel safe, warm and loved.
“Loteria de Deus (God’s Lottery)” is a realistic view of life, questioning why some are born with luck and others are not.
“Infla Minha Alma (Inflate My Soul)” is an expressionist prayer to emotions, contrasting happiness with sadness, depth with surface, wishing for happiness to come or changing the subject when things get too hard.
“Rio Seco (Dry River)” is about the end of a relationship.
“Boi (Ox)” the expression of pain is now a central object, a character that doesn’t seem to depend on the actor. It behaves the way it has to, no matter how we wish it would be different.
“Curare (Curare)” is a poison used by the native Indians of Brazil. They’d put curare on the tip of their arrows to hunt. The song goes like a love exorcism.
“Represa (Dam)” is a confessional piece about one’s ability to hold and try to control emotions, and the consequences of this.
What else to conclude that this is a remarkable debut album from an original artist from Rio. He delivers an album that shows passion and craftsmanship. It’s a pleasure to listen to it and let the music grow on you. Glauco Lourenço has his own page at My Space where you can hear some of the music and find information about where to buy the cd.
Independent GLCD01 (2007)
All compositions by Glauco Lourenço (music) and Suely Mesquita (lyrics), except where noted.
- Abalo Sísmico (Glauco Lourenço – Mathilda Kóvak)
- Sonho Embora
- Chora Dor
- TV Que Ninguém Vê
- Travesseiro (Glauco Lourenço – Mathilda Kóvak)
- Alma Gêmea
- Loteria de Deus
- Infla Minha Alma
- Rio Seco (Glauco Lourenço – Mathilda Kóvak)
- Represa (Glauco Lourenço)