Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with some
of the greatest samba masters and jam all night long? Well, you can
go to Rio de Janeiro and spend Friday and Saturday nights at a local
bar named Casa de Mãe Joana (House of Mother Joanna) in the
São Cristóvão neighborhood or you can listen
to Casa da Mãe Joana CD, a historic release uniting
some of the greatest samba experts ("bambas") of Rio de Janeiro's
Velha Guarda do Samba (Old Guard of Samba).
Casa da Mãe Joana is a who's-who list of samba living
legends. Zé Kéti, for example, is the composer of famous
hits such as "A Voz do Morro," "Opinião"
and "Máscara Negra." Roberto Moura once
said that Zé Kéti is "a monument of a Rio [de Janeiro] that
no longer exists." Zé Kéti is joined by Nadinho da
Ilha in Zé Kéti's own "Clementina de Jesus," who
was a Brazilian legendary sambista. No samba collection would be
complete without songs by Cartola, one of the cofounders of the great
samba school of Mangueira. The medley of "As Rosas Não
Falam," "O Mundo É um Moinho" and "Sim"
combines three of Cartola's best and most known compositions. Another
Mangueira legend is Nelson Sargento. You can hear him and Wilson
Moreira singing about happiness and their beloved Mangueira in "Banho
da Felicidade," "Morrendo
de Saudade" and "A Cara do Brasil." Paulinho Marques'
rendition of "Doce de Côco" is a well-deserving
tribute to Brazil's mandolin master and most celebrated choro composer,
Jacob do Bandolim. This instrumental piece gives you the flavor of
Rio de Janeiro's neighborhood bars and introduces you to the other
gems in this collection. Guilherme
de Brito, Monarco, Samuca de Mangueira,
Casquinha, Helô and
others will complete your Rio experience in Casa da Mãe
An unpretentious CD, Casa da Mãe Joana delivers the
most authentic Brazilian sambas with the voices that created them.
This is a rare treat! You can listen to some of the track in this
outstanding collection at Blue Jackel's home
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé, December