Mar 06 2006

Mazé: Terra dos Bandolins

Worth Its Wait


Terra dos Bandolins

Some good things in life are indeed like best kept secrets. For example, Cartola, the famous Mangueira composer, had many of his compositions recorded by other artists, but his first full solo release only happened in 1974, when he was 65 years old. He was undoubtedly one of Brazil’s greatest samba composers.

Maria José “Mazé” Leite Araújo was born in Jucás, Ceará, 1924. Like Cartola, she also released her first solo album late in life at the age of 75 years old. Unfortunately, before she was able to release a second album, she passed away three years after releasing Terra dos Bandolins. Her brief professional career left the world of bandolim players with an unreplaceable void.

Excellent bandolinist, Mazé grew up surrounded by music. Though her father founded the Philharmonic of Jucás, it was her mother who gets the credit for getting Mazé to play the bandolim. What happened from her childhood up to the release of Terra dos Bandolins in 1999 is not uncommon for someone dedicated to her family. Mazé married at age 17 and raised 20 sons and daughters. Raising a family in the countryside of Ceará was no easy task. Her musical career had to take a background role in her life, but not forever. At age 60, her husband convinced her to play the bandolim again. With her family all grown up, she then immersed herself in the music that had always been a part of her life.

Produced by one of her sons, Francisco Marto, Terra dos Bandolins features 14 never before recorded tracks. The music is timeless and reminiscent of the golden era of serestas. Accompanying Mazé and playing the arrangements created by Adelson Viana and Luís Duarte (of Marimbanda), we have Carlos Ferreira (clarinet), Heriberto Porto (flutes; also of Marimbanda), José Édson (trombone), Paulo de Tarso (cavaquinho), Paulo Rubens (pandeiro), José Aldemir (banjo) and, of course, Adelson Viana (accordion, keyboards) and Luís Duarte (drums, acoustic guitars). This first-rate ensemble truly plays this music with the deserving respect it requires, and Mazé leaves us with a taste of other wonderful things that could have come from her superb bandolim playing.


São Roque’s waltz “Cely Correia” opens this journey as you travel back in time. Though a simple melody line, this track carries the weight of a sumptuous ball with the visual portrait created by Mazé and her ensemble. Crystal chandeliers, long white lace gowns and ceremonious royalty abound in Mazé’s heartfelt performances. A second waltz, “Zezim É Meu!,” gives continuation to this majestic parade. A more relaxed tune, the choro “Zé Alves na Feira de Amostra” moves you among the common people with its jovial rhythm. This light spirit is also reflected in “Hilda,” the vivacious “Rumba” and “Luar de Estrelas,” where the group has a chance to exhibit its diverse range of performers or the festive maxixe “Zezim no Maxixe.” Contrasting happiness and sadness, the waltz “4 de Agosto” opens with Adelson’s evocative accordion solo immediately followed by a change to a minor key.It is, however, with two other waltzes, “Sedutora” and “Miss Crato 1930,” that Mazé steals your heart. Carlos Ferreira’s clarinet introduction in the former is captivating. In the latter, Heriberto Porto’s flute solo is nothing short of heavenly.

The simplicity in Terra dos Bandolins is very endearing as is Mazé’s extraordinary command of her instrument. The gift her music brings is timeless.

To inquire about this CD, please send a message to Zaqueu Araújo.



Terra dos Bandolins 
Independent 612250299 (1999)
Time: 45’24”


  1. Cely Correia (São Roque)
  2. Zezim É Meu! (Zé Facundo)
  3. Zé Alves na Feira de Amostra (São Roque)
  4. Hilda (Zé Ribeiro)
  5. Rumba (São Roque)
  6. Luar de Estrelas (São Roque)
  7. Sedutora (São Roque)
  8. Maria Alvení (Zé da Glória)
  9. 4 de Agosto (São Roque)
  10. Dona Euclides (Álvaro Correia)
  11. Um e Dois (São Roque)
  12. Zezim no Maxixe (Zé Facundo)
  13. Miss Crato 1930 (Antonio Abelha)
  14. Hino do Aliado (São Roque)