Jun 26 2009

Jardel Caetano: Cancioneiro

The Music in Fernando Pessoa


CancioneiroInstrumentalist, composer and arranger Jardel Caetano has an impressive musical background. His education led him into the hands of acoustic classical guitarists Domingos Semenzato, Pedro Cameron and Henrique Pinto as well as Kollreither (aesthetics) and Cláudio Leal (harmony and arranging). In addition to performing with the University of São Paulo Chorus (Coral USP), he had solo recitals at the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP) and other performances at renowned national touring shows of Projeto Pixinguinha. Several Brazilian artists have relied on Jardel’s expertise, including Carmina Juarez, Mário Gil and Antonio Nóbrega, just to name a few. Cancioneiro is his first CD of original music written especially for the poems of Fernando Pessoa.

Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon, 1888 – 1935) is considered by world critics as one of the most representative exponents of the 20th century along with names such as Pablo Neruda. In addition to writing poetry under his own name, Pessoa also used three distinct heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos. Bilingual in Portuguese and English (also fluent in French), Pessoa’s poems are truly world class.

Jardel CaetanoComing up with the idea to create this work in Cancioneiro came via one of Jardel’s friends, Sandra Brasil. As for the selection process of which poems to write music for, Jardel says the “choice was very tranquil.” Furthermore, in some of Fernando Pessoa’s best fashion, Jardel says he doesn’t “know whether he chose the poems or the poems chose him.” Regardless of that decision, Cancioneiro is remarkable both conceptually and musically. Drawing vastly on his musical expertise, Jardel wrote music in various genres, including ijexá, afoxé, acalanto, quadrilha, xote and others. To perform these most beautiful melodies and sing such exquisite lyrics, he invited illustrious singers Antônio Nóbrega, Carmina Juarez, Cassia Maria, Consuelo de Paula, Fortuna, José Dalci, Mateus Sartori, Sandra Brasil and Tiago Pinheiro. And as if those names alone would not suffice, he also counted with a terrific team of musicians, such as Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Lula Alencar (accordion), Conrado Paulino (acoustic guitar), Quarteto de Cordas Gianni Visoná, Fabíola Alves (flute), Bré (percussion) and several others.

The fantasy and reality dichotomy in Fernando Pessoa’s poetry is all here in Cancioneiro, beautifully arranged and performed. Sandra Brasil’s first performance in the album, “Sopra o Vento,” highlights the peaceful nature in the lyrics own contradiction of a strong wind to set one at rest. These types of contradictions are often present in Fernando Pessoa’s poetry, as evidenced again in “Que Coisa Distante,” with vocals by Fortuna. The opening verses in this track raise the question: What far away thing is close to me? The duet with vocalist Antonio Nóbrega and accordionist Toninho Ferragutti in “Aqui na Orla da Praia” is hauntingly beautiful. It is precisely in these simple arrangements of voice and instrument, such as again with “Gato” (Carmina Juarez’ voice and Jardel Caetano’s acoustic guitar) and “Não DIgas Nada” (Cássia Maria’s voice and Conrado Paulino’s acoustic guitar) that Jardel is the most effective in presenting Fernando Pessoa poems to a new generation of listeners. The verses float high in a beautiful melodious composition. Completing this polished release, one cannot forget to mention the artwork of the CD case itself. Mateus Sartori created a beautiful package as unique as the music in the album. The case is narrower and taller than the usual jewel box size. The CD itself is inserted in a slot as you unfold the three-piece case.

To read more about the artist and hear sample songs, please visit Jardel Caetano. You can also see Jardel Caetano performing “Sopra o Vento” here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-qAHK7Pqb2c]



Jardel Caetano
Dançapé D JC 011 (2009)
Time: 48’59”


All music by Jardel Caetano on poems by Fernando Pessoa.

  1. Sopra o Vento
  2. Palmares
  3. Que Coisa Distante
  4. Aqui na Orla da Praia
  5. Gato
  6. Do Vale à Montanha
  7. De Onde É Quase o Horizonte
  8. Por Trás Daquela Janela
  9. Não Digas Nada
  10. Lago Mudo
  11. Boiam Leves
  12. Tenho Dito
  13. Firmamento
  14. Dorme Enquanto Eu Velo