Mar 07 2006

Maria Do Céu: Ceará de Choro e Valsa

Pure Art


Ceará de Choro e Valsa Nearly five years ago, Maria do Céu released Choros do Ceará, a captivating album with music by Cearense composer Francisco Soares de Souza (Quixadá, CE, 1907 – Fortaleza, CE, 1986). Finding Souza’s music was one of those fortunate occurrences for Maria do Céu and a special treat for choro and guitar lovers. The way it happened was through a tape that Souza’s nephew gave Maria do Céu. She had been collecting choro music and fell in love with Souza’s music right there and then back in 1995. Since then Maria do Céu has been performing Souza’s music. This is her second album with his album.

Ceará de Choro e Valsa continues the surprising journey through the vast repertoire of Francisco de Souza. Contrary to the trio formation used in her previous work, Maria do Céu now has a larger ensemble. Luiz Otávio Braga (7-string acoustic guitar) and André Acker (cavaquinho) produced the fifteen selections we hear in this album. Besides Braga, Jayme Vignoli (cavaquinho), Paulo Aragão (8-string acoustic guitar), Josimar Carneiro (guitar) and Nicanor Teixeira (acoustic guitar) were responsible for all arrangements in this beautiful production and also played in several tracks. Other musicians featured are André Boxexa (drums), Clarisse Magalhães (tambourine), Fabiano Salek (percussion, drums), Felipe Prazeres (violin), Giovana Melo (flute), Lipe Portinho (acoustic bass), Marcelo Caldi (accordion), Márcio Almeida (cavaquinho), Naomi Kumamoto (flute), Rui Alvim (clarinet) and Thiago Trajano (guitar). One striking aspect of the arrangements in the album is the way these pieces followed Radamés Gnattali’s arranging style.That is, each instrument had its own arrangement separately and the instrumentation included a choro formation not commonly used for the genre.Francisco Soares de Souza

The combination of waltzes and choros in the album is magical. The first two choros will inevitably take you back to Maria do Céu’s first Souza tribute. The simplicity and evocative mood in these pieces are one reason why Souza’s music is so enchanting. Allied with that and enhancing the general atmosphere, there’s Maria do Céu’s unique ability to play this gorgeous music without tricks. It’s pure art! “Ripio (Choro Nº 10)” is so fitting for the album as it mixes choro and waltz in its arrangement. The waltz “Escuta-me” features Caldi’s subtle accordion accompaniment and Aragão’s 8-string guitar providing support to Maria do Céu’s touching solo. The addition of these non-traditional choro instruments, such as an accordion, proves to be quite effective here. The same happens with “Cabocla,” except that instead of the accordion, it’s Prazeres’s violin appearance that adds another beautiful dimension to this waltz. Track after track, the surprises abound. Sometimes with a flute solo (as in “Colcha de Retalhos”), sometimes with a clarinet (as in “Elba”) and so forth. Even when Maria do Céu is the only performer, as in “Valsinha Nº 3,” the music in Ceará de Choro e Valsa is heavenly to say the least.

Maria do CéuOnce again, Maria do Céu repeats the incredible feat of presenting an outstanding repertoire coupled with remarkable performances of rare beauty. Ceará de Choro e Valsa extends the horizons set previously with Souza’s choros. It proves that Brazilian music seems to be indeed an infinite pool of talents and surprises. Thanks to Maria do Céu for continuing to bring this great music with her unparalleled artistry.

For more information on how to purchase this album and to hear samples of it, please visit Maria do Céu’s web site.



Maria do Céu
Ceará de Choro e Valsa 
Independent 20.1156.001 (2005)
Time: 42’39”


All compositions by Francisco Soares de Souza

  1. Ripio (Choro Nº 10)
  2. Zíper (Choro Nº 9)
  3. Escuta-me
  4. Choro Nº 18
  5. Cabocla
  6. Itaperi (Choro Nº 6)
  7. Colcha de Retalhos
  8. Valsa Triste
  9. Carícia
  10. Choro Nº 2
  11. Valsinha Nº 3
  12. Saveiro (Choro Nº 16)
  13. Elba
  14. Lembrança
  15. Veleiro (Choro Nº 12)