Immerse Yourself in Great Music!
The year of 1999 for the Brazilian music industry was marked by live albums and career retrospectives. Just about every major star in Brazil released a live album (Chico Buarque, Gal Costa, Djavan, Joanna, Elba Ramalho, etc.). Contrary to that uninspiring trend, which seemed to be just repetitive, Brazilian instrumental music thrived well. 1999 was a great year for Brazilian instrumental music, especially since that was the year that Núcleo Contemporâneo, arguably Brazil’s premier label for new instrumental music, released the first album by the Orquestra Popular de Câmara (the orchestra just released its second album in February 2004). Everyone looking for a new sound in Brazilian music was pleasantly surprised with what they heard in this debut release. Personally, I placed the album on the top of my list of the best in 1999. Now, through Adventure Music, this recording receives a much deserved wider distribution.
What makes OPC so unique is the combination and experience its members bring to the sound they create and music they perform. Separately, OPC’s members have successful careers. Together now, they are destined to get a new following. OPC is Teco Cardoso (flute, saxes, bamboo flutes), Mané Silveira (flute and saxes), Ronen Altman (bandolim), Paulo Freire (country viola), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Dimos Goudaroulis and Lui Coimbra (cellos), Benjamim Taubkin (piano), Sylvio Mazzucca Jr. (bass), Caíto Marcondes, Zezinho Pitoco and Guello (percussion) and the superb vocals of Mônica Salmaso. Not that the ensemble needs any special guests, but OPC also features Naná Vasconcelos (percussion, special effects). This highly acoustic sonorization is the resounding mark you experience in this album. Indigenous elements beautifully mix with urban instruments to create a new sound that is uniquely Brazilian and yet with universal appeal. To make things even better, Salmaso’s vocals add an angelic touch to the music you hear.
Except for the first track, the repertoire is entirely Brazilian and mostly written by the ensemble members. Even when the orchestra is simply relaxing and taking a break, as in “Vinheta da Espanha ou do Agreste,” the ensemble is creatively exotic and hypnotic. Whether in Cardoso’s mellifluous solos with a variety of flutes or in Taubkin’s fluid piano accompaniment, each track exhibits rare treats. “Parafuso” with its 11/18 signature gives Ferragutti, Cardoso and Salmaso ample room to play off one another’s notes. Haunting sounds echo throughout the entire song. “Choro Moreno,” on the other hand, is subtle and sublime. Taubkin’s rich piano solo is particularly endearing. A notable dedication to the great Chiquinha Gonzaga comes with her 1897 piece “Gaúcho Corta-Jaca.” The arrangement showcases Altman’s bandolim solos as well as all percussionists. Continuing with the choro tradition, “Choreto” mixes Hermeto Pascoal influences along with maracatu and Carnaval. The sixteen-minute suite that closes the album is the culmination of the artistry of these magnificent performers. Each musician has a chance to play their vision of the Brazil they have experienced in their upbringing and musical education. “Suite pra Pular da Cama (E Ver o Brasil)” is as rich as the Brazilian musical genres featured in this precious debut release. OPC covers a vast territory here, but the orchestra is more than qualified to do what they present. Go ahead and discover the uniqueness of the Orquestra Popular de Câmara. You’ll be glad you immersed yourself in their unforgettable music and passionate renditions.
You can read more about Orquestra Popular de Câmara here or in Núcleo Contemporâneo’s site.
Orquestra Popular de Câmara
Orquestra Popular de Câmara
Adventure Music AM1012 2 (2004)
- Bayaty (E. Mansurov)
- Vinheta da Espanha ou do Agreste
- Parafuso (Ronen Altman)
- Choro Moreno (Mané Silveira)
- Gaúcho Corta-Jaca (Chiquinha Gonzaga)
- Choreto (Mané Silveira)
- Suíte pra Pular da Cama (E Ver o Brasil) (Benjamim Taubkin)