Born and raised in Brazil's capital, Brasília, Célia
Porto is an emerging talent with three albums under her belt. After
recording songs by Legião Urbana (Célia Porto Canta
Urbana, 1996), Porto decided to record original music for her
third CD. Produced and arranged by
husband Renio Quintas (see a review of his own As
Palhaço Bonito brings 14 original compositions
by Quintas and other songwriters. The album covers a varied repertoire
of pop ballads, rock and samba. This diverse collection gives Porto
the chance to show her vocal range in different settings.
Backing Porto, the basic band is comprised of Renio Quintas (keyboards),
Kaká Magalhães (guitar), Gê Mendonça (electric
bass) and Ademar Boka (drums). In addition to them, there is a long
list of guest appearances including Toninho Alves (flutes), Jorge
Helder (guitars and acoustic bass) and an incredible number of brass
players -- they're excellent in "Astros
"Juriti," the album opener, is a slow rock ballad that anticipates
the proposition of Palhaço Bonito. The lyrics describe
the dawn of a new day. Quintas's "Cidade Nua" continues this musical
flight taking listeners on a trip over the ample spaces of Brasília.
This song and the next two -- "Na Volta do Tororó" and "Riacho de
Areia" -- draw on some nature theme with Porto's voice singing of mandacarus (cacti),
guavas and flowing down the river Jequitinhonha in Minas Gerais.
"Riacho de Areia" evokes some melancholic tones thanks to Leander
Motta's percussion and Jorge Helder's acoustic guitar solo and arrangement.
After the first six tracks, we come to the title track and its folkloric
magic rhythm. With the special percussion guest appearance of the
Centro de Tradições Populares de Sobradinho, "Palhaço Bonito" provides
a wonderful change of pace from the initial ballads and more introspective
songs. Flutes, maracas, drums and tambourines mix with the vocal
support of Liga Tripa in this track.
From this point on, Palhaço Bonito changes at every
turn. Whereas "1 x 0" is like a pop-rap rich with brass instrumentation,
"Astros de Papel" brings a flavor of big band in its introduction
only to change into a samba. Porto sings in Portuguese and is followed
by Gérson de Veras's German lyrics (the song is dedicated to Nina
Hagen). From here on samba takes over in the deliciously swinging
"Planeta Umbigo." The song is infectious. The same can be said of
"De Deus," especially with Ademir Júnior's clarinet accompaniment,
and "Samba da Rua 8." The band and Porto's voice appear to be totally
different from the start. Their versatility is quite impressive.
More brass accompaniment features Moisés Alves's trumpet and flugelhorn
solos in the patriotic "Samba da Bandeira." Nonato Veras's lyrics
paint a rising moon behind banana trees and compares that with the
Brazilian flag. The image is beautiful. Closing the album, we hear
a different remix of the title track.
Ranging from rock ballads to samba with incursions into Brazilian
folklore, Palhaço Bonito is very pleasing and surprising. To
hear samples of Célia
Porto's music, please visit her home