Considering the size of Brazil (over 3.3 million sq mi or 8.5 million sq km), it is really understandable that many artists remain practically “undiscovered” by the public at large and continue to perform in their local communities without us finding out about them. Here in MB, for example, we have tried to give our readers the opportunity to find out and hear more from those talented musicians we don’t see in the usual play list on your favorite streaming radio station. We have attempted to bring you artists from all over Brazil and the world as well. Not too long ago, for example, we featured a couple of reviews of Marco André’s albums. He comes from a northern state in Brazil (Pará), near where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Now, going directly south near the border of Brazil and Uruguay, we present you with the music from Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.
Mário Falcão is an up-and-coming singer songwriter from the independent music scene in Porto Alegre, the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul. He started performing in 1984 while still working on his journalism degree. Besides doing solo performances, he was also a member of the Mantra Rudráksha Orchestra from 1997 to 1999 and even released a CD with that orchestra. He also had guest appearances in other releases, such as in Carlos Patrício’s 1995 Subvertendo and Zé da Terreira’s 2002 Quem Tem Boca É Pra Cantar. In 2004, he released his first solo album, Mário Falcão. The work was well received and won two Prêmio Açorianos in 2005: Best Songwriter and Best MPB Album.
For this first release, we have a basic quartet of talented musicians performing original compositions by Falcão. The main musicians are Mário Falcão (guitars, voice), Karlo Kulpa (violin, keyboards), Alexandre Vieira (bass) and Nenê Pereira (drums). This formation makes Falcão’s arrangements stand out with a new, solid sound. The use of violin in these arrangements sets the music apart on its own. It truly gives Falcão’s music its unique sound. In addition to these musicians, Falcão also has some special guest appearances, such as Zé Ramos (guitar), Felipe Gomes (percussion), Clóvis Boca Freire and Zé Natálio (bass), Ricardo Arenhaldt (drums), Michel Dorfman (piano), Amauri Iablonowski (sax), Leandro Rodrigues (accordion), Zé da Terreira and Débora Dreyer (voice).
When you listen to Mário Falcão’s music, you can hear his rich and creative music as he draws his inspiration from his local Porto Alegre. It is actually hard to pinpoint and say there is a particular influence in his music. His music is pop in its approach, and yet his lyrics clearly extend beyond his local boundaries. He may be talking about common facts, but Falcão’s lyrics can be very elaborate even dicussing day-to-day things. For example, in “Dados,” Falcão sings about a person’s statistics, such as name, CPF (Brazil’s SSN equivalent), phone number, etc. On the surface, the song seems mundane, but as we listen carefully, we see the various layers it explores. He goes deeper in his search and also inquires about the person’s creativity, libido, intimacy level and more. Another example is “Curiosidades.” This is really a world song. Falcão sings about the Ianomani indians in the Amazon and also the penguins in Antarctica. He goes from Brasília to Alaska to Australia and Tibet and everywhere in between questioning whether the world belongs to those who live or who lived or are yet to be born. In addition to his contagious singing — his voice is captivating — the song features Kulpa’s great violin accompaniment along with Gomes’ solid percussion base. All in all, “Curiosidades” grabs you both musically and lyrically. Another great track is the smoky arrangement for “Deixa Assim.” Dorfman’s keyboards and Freire’s bass make this song very intimate and smoothly passionate. And to add to the whole atmosphere, we also get Iablonowski’s sultry sax solo.
Here, in Mário Falcão’s own words, you have a track-by-track breakdown of the album songs.
The song is about the beginning of love and its expectations. The piano solo is inspiring.
The music has four dissonant chords and intense rhythm. The lyrics are like basic statistics about someone’s life, and it also goes from basic numbers into intimate details…
“Filha da Primavera”:
A romantic ballad that reminisces about the four seasons and nature’s cycle. Note Leandro Rodrigues’s beautiful accordion solo.
This song inquires about history, geography, ecology, philosophy and behavior. It covers topics such as the Holy Land, petroleum, slums, drug trafficking, water pollution and the dilemma: “Are children their parents’ or the world’s”?
In partnership with Carlos Patrício, this song asks for calm, conscience and patience in a world more and more violent and neurotic with each passing day. It reminds us of the importance of having “thinking in the feeling and feeling in the thinking…”
“Magia das Flores”:
With music by Johann Alex de Souza, this song has poetic images utilizing flower names: Onze Horas, Mimo de Vênus, Girassol, Amor Perfeito and Jasmim. Special mention to the gorgeous violin solo.
A song that talks about human beings playing with forms in which we lose ourselves. It shows how fragile humans are facing the natural world and world created by mankind, where we can be trapped by our own devices. It’s about human beings lost in time, space as well as in wars, supermarkets…
With a cool jazz arrangement, this song has the special participation of Quarteto Pictures (Ricardo Arenhaldt, Clóvis Boca Freire, Michel Dorfman and Amauri Iablonowski). Lyrics are by Marcelo Jucá and talk about good memories, what was good as well as things that we carry with us and are endless, even when love is gone.
With good swing, the lyrics play with the various meanings of the words for love, hallway, brother and heart (in Portuguese). With that in mind, it deals with one of our greatest enemies: heart diseases and traffic accidents. Special guest appearance by Zé da Terreira with a solo in the end.
The lyrics here take us to ocean landscapes, sensorial and sensual locales. The words praise art, beauty while at the same time complaining about the forgetfulness that “won’t bring to the surface the tones of that moment…”
Beautiful and original verses about two girls at different ages and developmental stages. Word meanings are used to enrich the significance of the lyrics, which use 40 verbs to describe the various phases in children’s growing up and learning.
The melody mixes rhythms while the lyrics by Porto Alegre playful poet Mário Pirata are an ode to poetry while maintaining creative motion. In the end, more playful instrumental solos.
For more information about the album and artist and to listen to the tracks in Mário Falcão, please visit Mário Falcão on the web.
Independent MF001 (2004)
All compositions by Mário Falcão, except where noted.
- Filha da Primavera
- Calma (Carlos Patrício – Mário Falcão)
- Magia das Flores (Mário Falcão – Johann Alex de Souza
- Deixa Assim (Marcelo Jucá – Mário Falcão)
- Clipe Normal
- Paula, Clara
- Fazendo Tudo (Mário Pirata – Mário Falcão)