With 25 albums in his recording career, Paulinho da Viola is one of Brazil’s most beloved and accomplished samba composers. The time he spends in a recording studio has, however, decreased in these past 10 years. He recorded an album in Germany in 1993 and then in 1996 he came back to Brazilian studios with Bebadosamba, a collection of 14 sambas, choros and even a maxixe. Between Bebadosamba and now, he’s only released two live albums – hardly what his fans want. His music is captivating, and his smooth voice and performances are a treasure in Brazilian music.
The made-up title for this release has a double meaning. Bebadosamba, as Paulinho himself explains, can be someone who is impregnated with samba, as if drunk (“bêbado,” in Portuguese). However, it can also mean an invitation to samba (“beba do samba,” or drink the samba). Whatever the interpretation one goes with, the result is nothing but a rewarding listening experience.
Paulinho da Viola has a passion for samba, Portela (his favorite Samba School in Rio de Janeiro) and love. His compositions often deal with those topics, but with innovative ways, fresh melodies and incomparable poetry. When he joins forces with well-known Brazilian songwriters such as Elton Medeiros, Paulo Cesar Pinheiro and Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, what else can you expect but outstanding compositions? Add to that an authentic array of choro musicians and you end up with the work of a master. Paulinho himself plays the guitar and cavaquinho in most tracks, and he also brings Cristóvão Bastos (piano), the Velha Guarda da Portela (with samba percussion), Zé Nogueira (sax), Luciana Rabello (cavaquinho), Dino 7 Cordas (7-string guitar) and even the choro group Época de Ouro (his father is a member of the group).
In addition to beautiful songs (lyrics are included), the liner notes present the illustrations of Brazilian artist Elifas Andreato (you might have seen his work in several Martinho da Vila’s releases). The cover art work and liner notes illustrations simply augment what is already an excellent release.
Paulinho da Viola
BMG Brasil 7432141789-2 (1996)
- Quando o Samba Chama (Paulinho da Viola)
- Timoneiro (Paulinho da Viola – Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)
- Ame (Paulinho da Viola – Élton Medeiros)
- Alento (Paulo César Pinheiro)
- É Difícil Viver Assim (Paulinho da Viola)
- O Ideal É Competir (Candeia – Casquinha)
- Novos Rumos (Rochinha – Orlando Porto)
- Memórias Conjugais (Paulinho da Viola)
- Reverso da Paixão (Paulinho da Viola)
- Dama de Espadas (Paulinho da Viola)
- Solução de Vida (Molejo Dialético) (Paulinho da Viola – Ferreira Gullar)
- Peregrino (Noca da Portela)
- Mar Grande (Paulinho da Viola – Sérgio Natureza)
- Bebadosamba (Paulinho da Viola)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé in May 1997.