You could call Junio Barreto a late-developer, when he releases his first cd at age 40. His life has been about music. Born in Caruaru (Pernambuco), Junio moved to Recife first and then to São Paulo. In Caruaru, famous for its Festas Juninas with forró music, he absorbed his first taste for music. In Recife the Mangue Beat infected him. Soon he found himself in a band, playing the harmonica, with a repertoire of pop and rock songs from both Brazilian artists and English/American bands. Slowly he trained his vocal skills and was found more and more behind the microphone singing. Like many of his childhood friends, he moved to São Paulo. They persuaded him with the fact that there would be more opportunities in music for him.
And that’s what happened. His good friend, bassist Alfredo Bello was there with him when the desire rose to record a cd. The music was recorded in Bello’s studio and the cd was also produced by him. Meanwhile Junio Barreto had written quite a few compositions, of which many with a base in the samba tradition. Other musicians accompanying Barreto on his album are (among others) drummer Simone Soul (married with Bello), guitarist Gustavo Ruiz, keyboardists Sacha Amback and Dudu Tsuda and flutist Marcelo Monteiro.
The tenor voice of Junio Barreto sounds disarming; his compositions are a delight. In fact, very soon the cd was spread among many of Brazil’s singing stars. Both Maria Rita and Gal Costa were interested in recording the composition “Santana.” The two singers were given Barreto’s cd by friends of Junio. It was Gal Costa who was first, recording “Santana” and for some (commercial?) reason, the song didn’t make it to Maria Rita’s new album. Also Maria Bethânia, Ana Carolina and Vanessa da Mata show interest in recording a song from Junio.
Most impressive tracks on the cd are the album’s opener “Bualé Mago.” The rhythm gets you, the voice captures you and the melody follows you. It’s the prefect composition with the perfect singer. Beautifully recorded too, highlighting the percussion by Simone Soul, who again shows to be a fantastic drummer/percussionist. “Amigos Bons” has the same qualities. Modest but accurate sound effects (moog synthesizer, harp and percussion) form a contrast with the melody. The lovely samba “Aclimação” is the next song that keeps spinning around in your hand, the raw unpolished tenor voice even sounds a bit touching. Something that’s even more the case in another samba “Oié.” The acoustic piano plays against the samba rhythm of the drums and percussion, the 7-string acoustic guitar from Gustavo Ruiz fits perfectly. Of course the earlier mentioned composition “Santana” confirms the interest of other singers. It’s a strong and clever composition with beautiful acoustic bass lines by Alfredo Bello. Not to forget about “A Mesma Rosa Amarela,” only accompanied by acoustic piano (Lincoln Antônio) and brushes on a box (Simone Soul). The odd duck on the cd is the instrumental “Passeio,” a jazzy samba choro on which we don’t hear Junio Barreto at all… He leaves the song in the hands of his band, featuring solos by flutist Marcelo Monteiro, guitarist Gustavo Ruiz and pianist Luiz Filipe Gama on the Fender Rhodes piano.
The cd cover is also original, a painting by Renata Pinheiro, who tried to capture the atmosphere of this album.
All this is leaving us with a cd full of variety, good musicianship and a singer with an exceptional voice.
AA 0001000 (2004)
- Bualé Magu (Junio Barreto)
- Se Vê Que Cai Cair Deita de Vez (Junio Barreto)
- Amigos Bons (Junio Barreto – Otto- Bacteria)
- Aclimação (Junio Barreto – Alredo Bello)
- Oié (Junio Barreto)
- Santana (Junio Barreto – João Carlos Araújo)
- Passeio (Junio Barreto)
- Do Caipora ao Mar (Junio Barreto)
- A Mesma Rosa Amarela (Carlos Pena Filho – Capiba)
- Se Você Vai Cair (remix) (Junio Barreto)