Unpretentious and Enjoyable!
Musicologist and historian, Ricardo Cravo Albin gives researchers and Brazilian music lovers an indispensable book. Throughout its 365 pages, O Livro de Ouro da MPB talks about the lives of the great names in MPB (Música Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Popular Music) from the beginning up to the present. With very accessible and unpretentious language, Ricardo Cravo Albin captivates and keeps the reader from cover to cover with this marvelous book.
Founder and first director of the Museu da Imagem do Som (Image and Sound Museum), Ricardo Cravo Albin has dedicated his life to Brazilian music. Having lived with legendary names, such as Almirante and Jacob do Bandolim, the author of O Livro de Ouro da MPB shines once again in the Brazilian musical panorama with such high caliber work. What makes this book a delight for any reader is the easiness with which Albin keeps the narrative with accessible language without any awkward writing style. He tells about the history of MPB with incredible lightness and beauty at the same that he pays honorable tribute to the lives of those who helped make what Brazilian music is today.
With countless photos obtained from the FUNARTE (Fundação Nacional de Arte, the Brazilian Foundation for the Arts) archives, the book follows a linear narrative style, simple and very efficient. The eight chapters that comprise O Livro de Ouro da MPB are presented chronologically, starting with the birth of Brazilian popular music — with modinha and lundu — and showing various names that helped shape the Golden Era (the 1930’s), the Radio Days, Bossa Nova, Jovem Guarda, and the various MPB movements. What makes reading this book even more fascinating is the way that Albin introduces each artist in his/her own era. The book is not simply a biographical narrative. While giving a biographical background, the book also explains how each artist was significant and fit in that era. This marriage of a person and his/her time makes this a rare project. It is true that similar proposals have been tackled by other writers. However, the magnitude of names presented here make O Livro de Ouro da MPB such rarity in Brazilian musical history. Along with each featured name, Albin tells us about some of their important moments in their lives. This characteristic and the simple way facts are narrated are a special treat.
Even though the book does not include an onomastic index, the many photos — practically one in every other page — make it easy to locate any artist in these pages. The bibliography presented is very extensive and will certainly aid in future researches for those who want to delve deeper about any given name. Naturally, any work such as this is not free from minor typographical errors. Two examples are the confusing death dates for Luiz Gonzaga and Cyro Monteiro. Of course in no way this takes the merit and grandiosity of this excellent work.
O Livro de Ouro da MPB is genuinely a pleasure to read. It is an undeniably musical portrait of our history. Ricardo Cravo Albin once again gives the Brazilian people a little of his endless legacy with this great work.
O Livro de Ouro da MPB
Author: Ricardo Cravo Albin
Rio de Janeiro: Ediouro, 2003