Feb 08 2010

Pedro Moraes: ClaroEscuro

A Name to Keep Watching



Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Pedro Moraes started his professional music career outside of Brazil quite unexpectedly. A young poet, singer and songwriter, Pedro traveled to Mexico in 2001 because of the sudden success of two of his compositions in that country. Magos Herrera, in her debut album Orquídeas Sussurrantes, had recorded a Spanish version of “Chá de Sumiço” (“Té del Olvido”) and the original lyrics for “Xote de Manhã.” Undecided whether to pursue his psychology degree or dedicate his efforts to music, it was then and there that Pedro Moraes first went on stage professionally. Since then, Pedro has also performed in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, London, Berlin and New York and now in 2010 will appear in Texas as a performer in Austin’s prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival.

Pedro is known for elaborate melodies and unexpected lyrics. He bridges traditional and modern trends in his compositions, ranging from northeastern roots to samba and beyond. In this album, ClaroEscuro, Pedro explores his musical universe from xote to tango and everything inbetween. The arrangements add less popular music instruments, such as the oboe, to Brazilian standards such as the viola. The musicians in ClaroEscuro are also very diverse and include Pedro Moraes himself (guitars), José Izquierdo (percussion), Ricardo Sá Reston (bass), Franklin da Flauta (flutes), Gabriel Geszli (piano), Thiago Amud (acoustic guitar), Thiago Neves (oboe), Euler Santos (bassoon) and many others.

With remarkable ease, Pedro switches from a xote, as in the opener “Xote de Manhã,” to a bouncy samba in “Samblefe” or the Cuban-flavored samba mix in “Marcela.” Of course, nothing is quite black or white, light or dark, as the album title suggests. Even though we hear a xote, there is also a complex harmony reminiscent of the earlier works of Milton Nascimento’s Clube da Esquina style. Then we have “O Sonho de Antonieta,” which Pedro explains as a melancholic toada that was transformed by Marcelo Caldi’s arrangement and accordion into a tribute to Argentinean master Astor Piazzola. The result is intriguing to say the least.

Pedro Moraes

Pedro’s music is never boring. He surprises the listener at every minute. From forró in “Receita de Canção,” he jumps to a most soothing piano serenade in “Fina Flor” and then back to a Bossa Nova in “Samba de Quarta-Feira,” with a lovely guitar accompaniment by Thiago Amud in tribute to João Gilberto.

Nothing probably defines Pedro Moraes’ ClaroEscuro more than his own words in the liner notes: “Contrition and carnival. Extasy and absence. Life beyond halfways.” ClaroEscuro goes beyond the comfortable limits of Brazilian music and does that well. It’s a creative album full or surprises.

You can learn more about the artist and his music at Pedro Moraes.



Pedro Moraes
Independent WBCDSCD01 (2008)
Time: 36’22”


All songs by Pedro Moraes, except where noted.

  1. Xote de Manhã
  2. Samblefe
  3. Incomunicável – w/ Glória Calvente
  4. Marcela
  5. O Sonho de Antonieta
  6. Receita de Canção
  7. Fina Flor (Pedro Moraes – Fernando Derenusson)
  8. Samba da Quarta-Feira
  9. Canção da Despedida
  10. Carnaval em Agosto (Pedro Moraes – Thiago Amud)