José de Alencar’s 1857 epic novel O Guarani tells the love story between Cecilia (or Ceci, for short), the daughter of a noble Portuguese family in Brazil, and the Guarani native Peri. The novel became a mark in romantic literature in Brazil through Alencar’s lush narrative suggesting the beginning of the Brazilian people through the union of Peri and Ceci. The story also inspired Carlos Gomes to write one of Brazil’s most famous operas, O Guarani. Just as the miscegenation of Portuguese and native Brazilian happened in the novel, Maria Farinha’s latest album, Uwattibi, draws from another love story in Brazilian history: the forbidden love between a French colonizer and a Tupinambá woman in southern Brazil. Uwattibi, which means ubatuba or the place of the canoes in Tupi-Guarani, fuses Brazilian music and North American jazz influences in an effusive release telling stories about love through music. Like Alencar’s novel, Uwattibi is also a journey about people, country, life, and nature.
In this follow-up to her 2007 Beijo de Amor (Kiss of Love), Farinha broke away from the safe harbor of singing Brazilian classics to present ten original compositions. This intentional change of direction favors her fans in Canada and will likely gain more followers worldwide. Here she wrote eight of those songs and co-wrote another with guitarist Roy Patterson, who is also featured in Uwattibi. He also added to this fine production the only instrumental piece in the album. Farinha’s band is Roy Patterson (guitars), Andrew Downing (acoustic bass and cello), Carlos Ezequiel (drums), Luiz Rabello (percussion) and Jean Pierre Zanella (saxes and flutes).
Whether in a samba, ballad or baião, Farinha sings with determined passion and vigorous joy. Her lyrics all relate to love. “Verdade Urbana” is an ode to ideal love on how to succeed in life as a woman. This baião shows how well the band supports Farinha’s vocals with their strong musical expertise. From the start we hear Downing’s beautiful cello presence in several of the arrangements. Along with Farinha, Downing does an excellent job in creating a sound that is unique to Uwattibi. In this journey of love, we also have the love for an artist’s life (“Vida de Cantora”), for a far-away homeland (“Terra Ardente”), for life itself (“Existência”), for freedom (“Atins – Maranhão”), for loss (“Esse Chorinho”) and rejection (“Quem Me Dera”) as well as an impossible love (“Uwattibi”). Although Farinha is responsible for most of the arrangements in the album, in order to accomplish her proposed sound fusion, she had the vision to allow all musicians to maintain their own individuality and contribute to greater diversity in the final product.
Farinha accomplishes the difficult feat of creating music that maintains a perfect balance of all its elements: themes, genres, melodies, lyrics, and arrangements. Jazz, Brazilian genres, native sounds and drums all coexist in Farinha’s universe of Uwattibi, an album musically and culturally rich.
To learn more about the artist and hear samples from this album, please visit Maria Farinha.
Maria Farinha Band
FARPAT 009 (2011)
All songs by Maria Farinha, except where noted.
- Verdade Urbana
- Vida de Cantora
- Quem Me Dera
- Atins – Maranhão
- Terra Ardente
- Existência (Maria Farinha – Roy Patterson)
- Sentient Baião (Roy Patterson)
- Sonho Dentro de um Sonho
- Esse Chorinho