A Seductive Voice in Contemporary Music
Mylene Pires is a singer, pianist, composer and lyricist from Rio de Janeiro. In 2003 she was among the finalists for Brazil’s prestigious Prêmio Visa award (the composer’s edition). It was then that she released her first solo album, which is now re-released. Mylene finds inspiration for her music in every day life, which might be as simple as a café de manhã (breakfast with coffee) in one of Rio’s small bakeries, or hanging out with friends. She always has a notebook with her to write down the poems that fruit from her inspiration. The 2003 release from this album attracted the attention of American producer/drummer Barrett Martin, the “Mad Scientist of Rock,” who has his own record label Fast Horse. He was under the impression and released the album in the USA. It was well received by critics from Down Beat, Rolling Stone and the Canadian World Beat. For MCD Records enough reason the give the album another try. A good initiative, because this album certainly deserves to reach more people. It’s recorded in a beautiful way with a healthy attention for detail. It’s how any studio album should be produced.
It’s a very tasteful mix of pop music and tradition. The participating instrumentalists play a big part in the direction this music goes. First of all there’s percussionist Ramiro Musotto. Again he’s doing a tremendously well job with his percussion skills that range instruments from all over the globe. He’s also experimenting a bit with electronics, just to accentuate the sentiment of a song. In addition to that use of electronics, there’s Jongui, who adds samplers in a more than clever way. Another name that leaves its mark on the music is the name of keyboardist Sacha Amback. He has the talent to do just that what the music asks for. It’s amazing how he fills in the empty spaces and accentuates chord settings. Bassist is the secure Fernando Nunes, Mylene’s husband.
The album opens with “48 Horas” in which the samplers give the music a somewhat North African colour. It could well serve as a hit single, for its danceable character. The voice of Mylene is just beautiful! Seductive, a bit dark but crystal clear. The right decision was made to combine the contemporary instrumentation with this wonderful voice of Mylene. On “Longa Longa Noite” the accordion of Chiquinho adds to the nostalgic and somewhat dramatic sentiment of the song. Through the beginning and the ending of the song we hear quotations from the poem “Cidade” (Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen) in sampler form. Davi Moraes is guest guitarist on “Nela Lagoa.” His acoustic guitar makes the song sound a bit friendlier while Amback’s keyboards hover through the samba arrangement. The song is connected in an original way with the next song by quotations from a movie (Os Carveiros). It’s the title song “O Que É Que Há,” a hit song from Fábio Jr. This arrangement makes it a completely different song, carried by spacey scratches and electronics. “Pipoca Contemporânea” refers to “Pipoca Moderna” (Caetano Veloso/ Sebastião Biano) performed by Pífanos de Caruaru. It’s a pleasant song, like the reggae “Coração Tonto” on which Ramiro Musotto does a splendid job with his percussion and sounds. The synth bass (Fernando Nunes) fits perfectly, without destroying the pleasant mood of the song. This song was inspired by “Coração Bobo” from Zé Ramalho. As the title suggests “Rio Lisboa” looks for a bridge between Brazil and Portugal, the meeting of the Tagus river (Lisbon) with Rio de Janeiro. Mylene spent some time in Lisbon, looking for Brazil’s (cultural) roots. “Você vai embora do Rio, Rio Tejo buscar” (“You’ll leave Rio to look for the Tagus river”). Moroccan bongos (Musotto) refer to their influences in the Portuguese music culture. The perfect introduction for the next song, the beautiful fado inspired “Madrigal.” Sergio Chiavazzoli is on bandolim and banjo and Mylene proves her voice is very capable of singing fado. “Promessas” changes the tempo a bit, with a very rhythmic percussion basis. The song (“Promesses”) is written by French pop musician Etienne Daho; Mylene translated it into Portuguese. “Clareou” is a samba reggae with a very poppy overflow and ends with African percussion. Quite odd is the last song on the album. It pays respect to Brazil’s adoration for The Beatles. “Eleanor Rigby” sounds surprisingly contemporary with the samplers and vocal effects. Mylene sings the lyrics in a very personal way. It’s a risk to give the song such a different approach, but for me it works well. With such a voice, Mylene is capable to change the sentiment of a song and make it her own. A beautiful talent!
As a result of the American release of the album, the English translations of the songs are included in this release. A good initiative!
O Que É Que Há?
MCD Lua Discos MCD265 (2003)
- 48 Horas (Fábio Allman – Carlos Pontua – Velloz)
- Longa Longa Noite (Mylene)
- Nela Lagoa (Mylene – Fernando Nunes – Luciano Trigo)
- O Que É Que H á (Fábio Jr – Sérgio Sá)
- Pipoca Contemporânea (Mylene – Fernando Nunes)
- Coração Tonto (Mylene)
- Rio Lisboa (Mylene – Fernando Nunes)
- Madrigal (Mylene)
- Promessas (Etienne Daho)
- Clareou (Mylene – Fernando Nunes)
- Eleanor Rigby (John Lennon – Paul McCartney)