If you have not yet heard anything by Nó em Pingo D'Água, you are
missing one of the best choro groups in contemporary Brazilian music.
Since 1983, with the release of João Pernambuco (Atração
ATR 32010), Nó has been pushing choro to new heights. The group is
a front runner in the neo-choro movement. The group name itself says
a lot about Nó. It's as creative as the music they make. Just like
it's hard to envision how one can tie a "knot in a drop of water,"
it is equally challenging to define Nó's music with words. Their
sound is unique and can best be experienced through their highly
artistic performances full of vigor, style and musicianship.
Pingo D'Água has undergone some changes since it was formed
in 1978. When that first album honoring
the music of João
Pernambuco was released in 1983. the group's formation was
Jorge Simas (7-string acoustic guitar), Márcio
Gomes (percussion), Mário
(sax and flute), Rogério Souza (acoustic guitar), Pedro Amorim
(mandolin and tenor guitar) and Wanderson Martins (cavaquinho). In
its present formation, the group is now comprised of Celsinho
Silva (pandeiro and percussion), Mário Sève
(sax and flute), Rodrigo Lessa (mandolin and cavaquinho), Rogério
Souza (acoustic guitar and 7-string
acoustic guitar) and Papito (bass). The second album, Salvador (Visom
VICD00091), featured music by Hermeto Pascoal, Cesar Camargo Mariano
and others. It was followed by Receita de Samba (Visom VICD00064)
in 1991. The repertoire was all Jacob do Bandolim. With the 1999 Nó
na Garganta (Independent 0013NPD07), the group featured the
present formation and a repertoire with music by Guinga, Villa-Lobos
as well as their own compositions. Last year, Almir Chediak produced
Nó em Pingo D'Água with Cristovão Bastos in
what became one of that year's best releases, Domingo na Geral (Lumiar
LD57-02/01). To top that excellent album, and after a two-month US
now releasing Nó em Pingo D'Água Interpreta
Paulinho da Viola.
Paulinho da Viola, son of César Faria (of the choro group Época
de Ouro), is no stranger to choro. His father used to bring the great
choro performers, such as Pixinguinha and Jacob do Bandolim, to play
at their home. Even though Paulinho is probably more well known for
his sambas ("Amor à Natureza," "Coração
Leviano" and too many more
to name here), he has, in fact, even released entire albums dedicated
to choro (Paulinho da Viola e Ensemble, 1993; Memórias
Chorando, 1976). Recorded by several Brazilian stars, such as
Clara Nunes, Leila Pinheiro. Simone and Zé Luiz Mazziotti, Paulinho
now receives an outstanding instrumental tribute through the talented
minds and hands of these fine Nó em
Pingo D'Água musicians.
Nó em Pingo D'Água Interpreta Paulinho da Viola is a collection
of 11 Paulinho classics and one by his father. On the opening track,
the group sets off to give each member a chance to prepare us for
what the album will show. However, barely a minute and a half into
the song, Celsinho's pandeiro takes center stage. When Celsinho plays,
it is like an orchestra -- except that it's only his pandeiro! Mário
Sève's soprano sax solo is yet another highlight in the same
track, with a sound that is ultra smooth. As for Mário's flute
playing, as a friend of mine so perceptively put it, his sound is "the
instrumental equivalent of Paulinho's voice." "Chuva
Molha" is a great opener
and swings non-stop. In "Sarau pra Radamés," Mário's
multi-layered saxes give the song a beautiful tone. He and Celsinho
again seem to play off each other's solos with superb ease while
and Papito carry the rhythm.
The CD is not only choro. With the "Maxixe do Galo," the
group puts their own twist to make that maxixe even more lively.
The same goes with "Rosinha, Essa Menina." To better understand
Nó em Pingo D'Água,
here is one fantastic example: "Sinal Fechado." The arrangement
captured the profound message of the song without the need of words.
Especially with Papito's melancholic bass solo and Rodrigo's own
crying mandolin lines, "Sinal Fechado" is outstanding.
To change the tone and bring the listener back to Nó's more
"Escapulindo" jumps with life. Two very serene moments
in this album are present with "Não Me Digas Não" and "Valsa
Chorando." The atmosphere
created with these two arrangements will most certainly transport
you back to a time of moonlit streets and gas lamps at the front
porch. Both songs are serenely beautiful, and Cristovão Bastos'
piano accompaniment in the former adds an extra touch to the group.
The only non-Paulinho da Viola song, "Choro em Ré Menor," gives
Papito yet another opportunity to showcase his bass solos. Closing
the album, Rogério Souza's introduction to "Timoneiro" will
give you a most definite feeling of a Dorival Caymmi song. The gentle
motion of the waves in some Caymmi songs permeates this Paulinho
da Viola tune thanks to the beautiful instrumentation created.
Arley Pereira's notes are not hyperbolic in stating this is "Nó
em Pingo D'Água in its best performance." I must add
that I thought so, too, with Nó na Garganta and Domingo
So, it is fair to assume that is only Nó's best performance
-- for the moment! Enjoy Paulinho and Nó. Quoting Paulinho
da Viola: "I
do not live in the past. The past lives in me." Be a part of
this unforgettable moment that is Nó em Pingo D'Água Interpreta
Paulinho da Viola.