No Room for Doubt
Sometimes it’s surprising when an instrumentalist releases a solo album. Lui Coimbra is a good example of such a surprise. For decades the Rio born cellist was a remarkably well talented musician, accompanying great singers such as Ney Matogrosso (as part of Aquarela Carioca on Ney’s As Aparências Enganam), Zizi Possi, and more recently Zeca Baleiro and Alceu Valença. The surprise is that someone we “only” know from his skills on an instrument, turns out to be a gifted vocalist as well.
Lui Coimbra leaves no room for any doubt. He starts the album very self-confident a capella, with a sonnet by Maria Quintana which he put to music. Halfway through the song the cello confirms the talent we were already familiar with. Within two minutes a statement is made: Lui Coimbra is not only a fantastic cellist, but also a noticeable singer and composer. What a way to start a first solo album! And the surprises continue. Together with Zeca Baleiro, Lui put Portuguese words to Sting’s “Fields of Gold.” Not the easiest song to cover. How beautiful does Stings own rendition sounds (with, by the way, Brazil’s other cello giant Jacques Morelenbaum in the band)! However right from the start it’s clear that this version, “Ouro e Sol,” undoubtedly can be placed next to the original. The song lends itself perfect for an arrangement that puts the cello and percussion in the frontline. “Flores de Amsterdã” shows the romantic side of Coimbra. On this own composition (both music and lyrics) Edu Szajnbrum accompanies on percussion; Coimbra is on the cello and guitars. From his Aquarela Carioca period we already knew Lui Coimbra is a wonderful guitarist as well. His love for the more traditional music forms from Brazil is shown in the cirandeira (circle dance song, originated from Portugal, folkloric in the Northeastern state of Pernambuco) “Minha Ciranda,” by Capiba, the singer composer from Pernambuco who died on 1997 at age 93. “O Idiota desta Aldeia” is another beautiful sonnet by Mario Quintana, the important poet from Rio Grande do Sul, and put on music together with Admar Branco. Milton Guedes on the harmonica and Marcos Suzano on tablas, giving the song an extra colour. A very northeastern colour is painted on Pedro Luís “Fazê o Quê.” Lui Coimbra puts aside the cello and replaces it with the rabeca, the traditional violin. Nana Vasconcelos is guest on the zabumba (the bass drum from the northeast), Marcos Suzano on pandeiro (similar to the tambourine) and Murilo O’Reilly on other percussion, while the keyboards are played by Alex Meirelles. A folkloric song from the state of Minas Gerais, “Peixe Vivo,” is adapted and shows Lui Coimbra on the charango, the little ten string guitar from the Andes, giving the song a typical opening. “Onde Mora o Sol” is of the same beauty as the title song “Ouro e Sol.” Wonderful cello lines with Marcos Suzano shining on drums and percussion. “Estrela do Oriente” finds another guest appearance by Nana Vasconcelos on various percussion and adding voices. Alex Meirelles is on piano, Marcos Suzano on percussion, Cassio Cunha is lent from Alceu Valença’s band on drums, Paulo Muylaert on guitars and Fábio Russi on bass. The album closes with a remix of the opening “Astrologia,” mixing various styles of Brazil’s northeastern music tradition, with a guest appearances by the wonderful Toninho Ferragutti on accordion and Tuco Marcondes on sitar, banjo and 12-string guitar.
A very nice piece of work, this first solo effort by Lui Coimbra confirms his exceptional talent on a wide scale of musical activities.
Ouro e Sol
Rob Digital RD062 (2003)
- Astrologia (poem by Mario Quintana, music by Lui Coimbra)
- Ouro e Sol (Sting, translated by Lui Coimbra – Zeca Baleiro)
- Vem Morena (Baracho)
- Flores de Amsterdã (Lui Coimbra)
- Minha Ciranda (Capiba)
- O Idiota desta Aldeia (poem by Mario Quintana, music by Lui Coimbra and Admar Branco)
- Fazê o Quê? (Pedro Luís)
- Mãe (Lui Coimbra)
- Peixe Vivo (Public Domain, adapted by Lui Coimbra)
- Onde Mora o Sol (Lui Coimbra)
- Astrologia (remix; poem by Mario Quintana, music by Lui Coimbra)