Feb 12 2004

Simone Guimarães: Casa de Oceano


Fluid Passion



Casa de OceanoCasa de Oceano, Simone Guimarães’ fifth solo album, marks her debut in her new label, Biscoito Fino. The album concept can be summed up in the verses Simone Guimarães chose to introduce the CD. She quote Lautréamont: “I salute you, old ocean!” Casa de Oceano is, therefore, a concept album where water takes center stage in most songs. Out of the fifteen songs on the CD, six of them talk about rivers, oceans, seas, waterfalls, fish and mermaids. Water is the main environment providing the background for love affairs, bringing hearts together and hiding mysteries. Three other songs in the album go back to another of Guimarães’ favorite themes: the vast hinterlands, where once again new love flourishes. Love is present in all these themes.

“Casa de Oceano” starts off with subtle sounds of waves breaking on shore in a serene arrangement with piano and strings. This theme song, as a “moda de viola,” finds Guimarães discovering the strength of a look that awakens passion and creates life. That life is complex and grows amid hurt and thorns. Everything in the lyrics is described through the eyes: tears rolling down, betrayed eyes and even eyes escaping to the seas. This style creates a rich effect to this song. The next track, “Fogueteira,” the luxurious sound of the Maogani acoustic guitar quartet joins Maria Bethânia performing together with Guimarães in this love song. Nair Cândia also adds some vocals to this song and in the end, Pantico Rocha creates an astounding maracatu accompaniment bringing to the forefront one of Brazil’s most beautiful folkloric traditions. Still about love, “Coração do Mato” is sung only with an acoustic guitar and a 12-string viola. One of Brazil’s most celebrated lyricists, Paulo Cesar Pinheiro gives us the verses in this song comparing one’s heart to the infinity hinterland.

Praia do Boldro

Praia do Boldro

Other tracks worth mentioning here bring some special guests. The partnership of Guinga and Simone Guimarães in “Desavença” is one of the best moments of Casa de Oceano. The arrangement is very lively, especially with Roberto Marques’s trombone solo, and Guimarães seems to be having fun as she sings fast and playfully. Of course Guinga’s magistral guitar solo is a highlight here, too. Guinga also comes back a second time in “O Silêncio de Iara.” In “Milagre dos Peixes,” you will have the clear impression that the song was written for Guimarães’s voice. Together with Milton Nascimento, she is very at ease. The same can be said about Sueli Costa and Abel Silva’s classic “Canção Brasileira,” which is followed by “Retrato em Branco e Preto” and “Velho Moinho.” Incidentally, it is at this point that Casa de Oceano reaches magnificent moments. In this love and music trilogy, Guimarães bares her romantic side. She sings those songs with unequalled strength, and that strength clearly comes from her soul. Particularly in “Retrato e Branco e Preto” there is a creative solo Guimarães performs with a mouth trumpet. The result is stupendous for Chico Buarque’s remarkable lyrics. With “Velho Moinho,” we hear the most orchestral arrangement of the album. In a typical Francis Hime arrangement, the song’s lyricism flows naturally like a river with calm waters. Guimarães sings those verses as an ode to love and life. In one word: overwhelming!

Simone Guimarães talks about Casa de Oceano

Egídio Leitão I understand that your trip to Fernando de Noronha was instrumental in the overall concept of your new album.   Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

Simone Guimarães – I wanted to talk about love and sing songs I had written during that trip. I was very much in love and wanted to talk about that passion. I’ve always read Lautréamont and at that specific time, I had just finished reading Maldoror . That book exults the ocean. I was impressed to read how much about love he used for what was beautiful and what he admired the most. He spoke about the ocean as if it were a frightening enemy. At the same time he wanted to have control of the waves and storms. He loved the ocean as if it were the focus of his eyes and object of his desire.

Meanwhile, walking along a beautiful avenue in Rio de Janeiro and very close to the ocean, I lost contact with the city noise, and all I could hear was the ocean. I wrote a poem for it, but after reading Lautréamont a few days later, I thought my writing was nothing compared to the Comte of Lautréamont’s work.   I forgot my writing and began singing to the sea. This CD is for the ocean, the house of all loves I’ve had.

EL  Your songwriting is very much present in this release, as in your previous work. “Água Funda” (see lyrics), for example, is a beautiful song.

SG – Music and lyrics were born together. I speak of where I come from: the river. That is where I want to be remembered, with the brightness of the stars reflecting upon the waters.   If this had not become a song, it would be a posthumous poem.

Deep Water
(Simone Guimarães)

I come from deep water
From a river’s deep water
I’m the daughter of the starfish
And with its eyes I guide myself.
From the uiára’s* singing
I challenge myself in that singing
My heart is the face
And my eyes are two rivers
River water never stops
And I live on a thread
One day the waters will carry me
And on my track, my trail,
The stars will shine,
They’ll sing their brightness.
One day the waters will carry me
And on my track, my trail,
The stars will shine,
They’ll sing their brightness.

*Uiára or iara; Amazonian mythological figure that attracts young men for a final and fatal embrace deep in a river.

Água Funda
(Simone Guimarães)

Eu venho da água funda
Da água funda do rio
Sou filha do peixe-estrela
E com seus olhos me guio
Do cantar da uiára
No canto eu me desafio
Meu coração é a cara
E os meus olhos dois rios
Água de rio nunca pára
E eu vivo então por um fio
Um dia as águas me levam
E no meu rastro, meu trilho,
Hão de brilhar as estrelas,
Hão de cantar o seu brilho.
Um dia as águas me levam
E no meu rastro, meu trilho,
Hão de brilhar as estrelas,
Hão de cantar o seu brilho.

EL It is a very difficult task for a singer to choose well-known songs for an album instead of new material. There is often the shadow of another singer’s performance for that material. However, that did not seem to be a problem when you chose to record “Canção Brasileira,” “Retrato em Branco e Preto” and “Velho Moinho.” What is so significant for you about those songs?

SG – Those songs come from inside my soul. I had no second thoughts about recording them. I actually don’t have any doubts when I sing. Singing is more natural than thinking. Everything I sing is filtered differently and never through rational thinking. It is more a part of the unconscious thinking, that which lies asleep in your soul. “Canção Brasileira” is a rudder for me, my undisputable love for Brazilian music. That song is the work of two brilliant Brazilian thinkers, Suely Costa and Abel Silva. As for “Retrato em Branco e Preto” and “Velho Moinho,” they are signs of the time and its clockwork within my Casa de Oceano .   They are Chico [Buarque] and Olivia [Hime], Tom [Jobim] and Francis [Hime] in a perfect dialog about love stories. Those songwriters are four of the greatest artist of my Brazil. I’m an unconditional fan of Olivia Hime’s work. She is like a Mona Lisa who writes and sings, a beautiful and sophisticated being in every aspect. Chico is a lot like that, too, very profound. Tom and Francis are love in the form of a song. Perfection. I did what I wanted to do: an album of love.

EL  Your passion for Brazil is well reflected in your music, no doubt.   You always sing about our folklore, our rivers and everything Brazilian.

SG – I want to say it again that the love for my country is very solid and unbreakable. It is built of love and songs, of sad and happy stories about a beautiful people who has suffered and grows taller for a new day.

EL  A true friend…

SG – Leila Pinheiro.

EL  A true artist…

SG – Leila Pinheiro.

EL  True courage…

SG – Ernest Hemingway, Leila Pinheiro and Guinga.

The liner notes contain all lyrics and musicians in the project. It is also important to mention here the photos in the booklet. They are from Simone Guimarães personal photo library when she visited the island of Fernando de Noronha.

Still in 2003, Simone Guimarães appeared in the album Villaggio Café – 10 Anos, where she sang Dori Caymmi’s “Desenredo.” She also recorded two songs in Cristina Saraiva’s latest album, Só Canção. The songs were “Mestre Narciso” and “Beijo,” both written by Simone Guimarães and Cristina Saraiva. She was also featured in 6º comPasso Samba & Choro (2003) accompanied by Juarez Machado (guitar) with these songs: “Zomba” (from Casa de Oceano), “Imensidade” (from Virada pra Lua) and the new “Rosa Querida.”



Simone Guimarães
Casa de Oceano 
Biscoito Fino BF-534 (2003)
Time: 51’26”


  1. Casa de Oceano (Simone Guimarães)
  2. Fogueteira (Simone Guimarães) – w/ Maria Bethânia and Maogani
  3. Coração do Mato (Sérgio Santos – Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
  4. Desavença (Guinga – Simone Guimarães) – w/ Guinga
  5. Água Funda (Simone Guimarães)
  6. Milagre dos Peixes (Milton Nascimento – Fernando Brant) – w/ Milton Nascimento
  7. Zomba (Kiko Continentino – Bernardo Lobo – Milton Nascimento) – w/ Continentrio
  8. Frestas de Colinas (Nelson Ângelo – Luciana de Moraes)
  9. Canção Brasileira (Sueli Costa – Abel Silva)
  10. Retrato em Branco e Preto (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Chico Buarque de Holanda)
  11. Velho Moinho (Francis Hime – Olivia Hime) – w/ Francis Hime
  12. O Silêncio de Iara (Guinga – Felipe Gama) – w/ Guinga
  13. Vâmo Geraldo [vinheta] (Simone Guimarães) – w/ Nair Cândia
  14. Piano no Fundo do Mar (Simone Guimarães)
  15. Incidental music, excerpt from “Três Irmãs” (Simone Guimarães)