Star-Studded Musical Gift
If in Brazil artists get stuck recording and releasing live albums with nothing or hardly anything new, where are the audiences turning to for new and innovative projects? One answer is the international market, and among those outside of Brazil, Josee Koning is a shining star. Recorded in Rio is Koning’s third commercial solo album with Brazilian music (she has a non-commercial live album with Brazilian music, too). As a follow-up to her successful Dois Mundos, this CD will definitely please all who love Brazilian music.
Recorded in Rio is packed with good music, an excellent band backing up Koning’s strong vocals and an array of top-notch Brazilian musicians. This project started out in 2001 and was recorded at Discover Studio in Rio de Janeiro, hence the CD title. Koning left the production in charge of Leonardo Amuedo, who also doubles as a guitarist. Besides Amuedo, the main band is comprised of Pedro Moraes and Nema Antunes (bass) and Lucas Reis and Firmino (percussion).
Now, the star surprises appear with Antonio Adolfo (piano), Carlos Malta (sax), Jessé Sadoc (trumpet), Téo Lima (drums), Lula Galvão (acoustic guitar), Sivuca (accordion) and Ivan Lins (vocals), who also gave Koning two brand new songs for this album. The repertoire covers Tom Jobim, Ivan Lins, Antonio Adolfo, Caetano Veloso and Guinga and also includes other compositions by dutch songwriters (with Portuguese lyrics by Abel Silva) in a most surprising blend with Brazilian flavor. If you do not peek at the liner notes, you will not be able to tell which songs are not originally Brazilian.
The album opens with the Lins soft ballad “Te Quero Tanto,” where Amuedo’s guitar accompaniment is the main focus in this soothing arrangement. Lins does some nice backing vocals here. Not waiting for a late surprise, Koning immediately does one of the most amazing renditions of this seldom heard Adolfo song, “Coração do Brasil.” The song is one of those tunes praising the beauty, flora and fauna of Brazil — very much like “Aquarela do Brasil” (by Ary Barroso) — and Koning’s performance is breathtaking. The arrangement is bold and rich with brass and percussion precisely in the right dosage. This is the kind of song that sticks in your mind, and this arrangement can certainly become a standard. Koning’s voice is mellow and at the same time strong. If you have ever been to Brazil, the song will echo inside of you. This is probably the best track in this album.
Antonio Adolfo himself does a superb piano solo. Continuing her trip across Brazil, Koning invites Sivuca to provide the flavor of northeast Brazil in “Silêncio em Amsterdam.” The title will not fool you, but the triangle, zabumba and tight forró arrangement will definitely make you think of the barren countryside of Brazil — except that the song is talking about Amsterdam. Fine touch. Guinga’s song “No Fundo do Rio” receives a great Carioca feel, particularly with Lula Galvão’s acoustic guitar accompaniment. His solo is eerily close to Guinga’s original. The arrangement, co-signed by Galvão and Amuedo, has just the right instrumentation giving you the feeling as if you were sitting in a bar in Rio de Janeiro drinking caipirinhas and jamming with friends. The second Lins song presented to Koning, “Quando Você Não Vem,” also features the songwriter in the vocals. Their voices have a nice blend in this tender love song. In the next two tracks, Koning pays tribute to Moacir Santos with two of his most well-known songs, “Nanã” and “April Child.” In the first, Pedro Moraes’s bass is the driving force and is helped by Carlos Malta’s tenor sax. Showing her versatility and comfort singing in another foreign language, Koning carries “April Child” effortlessly. The rest of Recorded in Rio continues with a good balance between ballads and samba. In “Corsário,” Amuedo’s guitar accompaniment has a flamenco influence, whereas in “Desde que o Samba É Samba,” the opening batucada makes room to a quieter samba beat.
Recorded in Rio is more than pleasing and full of surprise guests, superb arrangements and the inimitable performances by Koning, who proves once again how comfortable and competent she is singing some of the best of the Brazilian music songbook.
For more information about this album, please visit Josee Koning‘s web site.
Recorded in Rio
Brigadoon Vocal BIS 071 (2003)
- Te Quero Tanto (Ivan Lins – Ronaldo Monteiro de Souza)
- Coração do Brasil (Antonio Adolfo – Nelson Wellington)
- Silêncio em Amsterdam (Ramses Shaffy – Portuguese lyrics by Abel Silva)
- No Fundo do Rio (Guinga – Nei Lopes)
- Quando Você não Vem (Ivan Lins – Ronaldo Monteiro de Souza) w/ Ivan Lins
- Nanã (Moacir Santos – Mário Telles)
- April Child (Moacir Santos – J. Livingston – R. Evans)
- Sem Você (Hennie Vrienten – Lennaert Nijgh – Portuguese lyrics by Abel Silva)
- Atabaque (Chris Wells – Mônica Vasconcelos)
- Falando de Amor (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
- Desde que o Samba é Samba (Caetano Veloso)
- Corsário (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc)
- Guanabaram (Antonio Adolfo – Nelson Wellington)
- Pras Crianças (Toninho Horta)
- ‘t Is stil in Amsterdam (Ramses Shaffy)