At a time when everyone was concerned about the proliferation of
mass music in Brazil, Mônica Salmaso emerged as a powerful
light. After having released her Afro-Sambas with Paulo Bellinati
in 1995, Salmaso released her first solo CD Trampolim in
She quickly became a household name, especially after being selected
as Best Singer in the 2nd Visa/MasterCard/El Dorado Prize in May
1998. Competing with over 1,200 vocalists from all over Brazil, in
a process that took six months, Salmaso conquered both audiences
and critics. Edu Lobo, famous Brazilian singer and songwriter, stated
that Salmaso's voice was "the most beautiful voice" he'd ever heard
in recent times. São Paulo music critic Mauro Dias added that
Salmaso was "one
of the outstanding vocalists of the nineties."
to this solo release, you might have already heard Salmaso in other
recordings. She was featured in Eduardo Gudin and Notícias
Dum Brasil (1995) as well as in Lumiar's Tom
Jobim Songbook (1996).
She was also a vocalist in Orquestra Popular de Câmara's debut
In 1997 she was nominated for the Prêmio
Sharp as Best New Artist. In a well prepared release by Blue Jackel,
listeners can now experience the magic of Salmaso's voice and her
captivating music performances. Backed by Rodolfo Stroeter (bass
and music direction), Naná Vasconcelos (percussion and vocals),
Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Paulo Bellinati (guitar), Lelo Nazário
(keyboards) and other superb musicians, and with the music of Lenine,
Wisnik, Guinga, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque and Dorival Caymmi, among
others, Trampolim is simply mesmerizing from start to finish.
To select a favorite track is an impossible task here.
The moods in Trampolim encompass sublime and ethereal, countryside
and urban, religious and secular themes. Going deep into Brazilian
roots, Salmaso opens with "Canto dos Escravos," a song
that deals with the syncretism prevalent in Brazil. The song is a
beautiful chant full of percussive sounds in the hands of talented
Naná Vasconcelos. With "A Permuta dos Santos,"
the religious theme is once again stressed with the procession of
devotees walking from one church to the next as they pray to their
saints. Toninho Ferragutti's accordion accompaniment and arrangement
are magnificent. With Dorival Caymmi's "O Bem do
Mar," Salmaso is joined by Paulo Bellinati's
serene and extraordinary guitar work. The song is both peaceful and
sad as it deals with the duality in a sailor's life, always torn
between the love he left behind on land and his love for the sea.
The same ocean theme is repeated in "Lenda Praieira." The
tempo now is a little faster, but the serenity of these beach songs
is not lost. In Lenine and Bráulio Tavares's "Tuaregue
e Nagô," Salmaso pays homage to the miscegenation of the
races that comprise Brazil. Salmaso shines in every note. Lelo Nazário's
piano and Teco Cardoso's soprano sax solos are out of this world.
When "Tuaregue e Nagô" makes room for Dori Caymmi's
music on Fernando Pessoas's poem "Na Ribeira Deste Rio,"
the listener is magically transported to a slowly moving river.
And so, a new star was born, and her name is Mônica Salmaso.
The multitude of senses and images conveyed by Salmaso's vocal mastery
makes Trampolim a remarkable CD. It is paradise found.
sample some tracks and learn more about this release, you can visit
Blue Jackel's web
site or Mônica Salmaso's home
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé, September