Oct 12 2003

Simone Guimarães: Cirandeiro


Brazilian Roots



Cirandeiro Simone Guimarães’ second album assembled a team of musicians that included, besides Paulo Jobim and Maurício Maestro, the presence of Leandro Braga (piano), Adriano Giffoni (bass) and Luiz Brasil (acoustic and electric guitars) among others.

Connected to the roots of Brazilian culture and music, Guimarães got the title for this album directly from folkloric themes of cirandas, children’s play songs. Ciranda is a dance with origins in Portugal and was well received in Brazil. Whether in São Paulo (known as sereninha), Minas Gerais (there it’s know as serandina) or in Goiás (with the name of sarandi), cirandas became very popular in the backlands and coastal areas of Pernambuco. The cirandeiro is the adult who sings the poetic-musical song verses while couples dance to the sound of violas, rabecas, ganzá and bombo (essential in cirandas). The movements are captivating and undulating, as the ciranda imitates the movement of the ocean.

Cirandeiro starts off with the beautiful and moving”Lamento Sertanejo.” It serves as the central idea of uniting the backlands and big cities. João Carlos Coutinho’s accordion solo reflects the country man’s pain and melancholy with great sensitivity. With “Brincadeira de Coroar,” Simone borrows from children’s games and folklore. The lyrics ask the gods of wind and light to protect the people who believe in them. “Sina” is a simple country song, a toada, where love is the focus in human relationships. Neither money nor a college degree can take the place of love. The simple life of a cowboy is sung in the beautiful lyrics of the popular poet Patativa do Assaré. Also connected to the people and the land, we have “Maria Solidária.” According to Simone, this song brings back childhood memories, including the many Marias she and all of us have known. Simone com violãoAlso connected to children’s games, we have the title track, “Cirandeiro,” and its innocent lyrics talking about how shining a ring is, even more so than the moon and the stars. Simone’s rendition is endearing.

The next three tracks take us back to Piracema, but with very subtle arrangement variations. In “Laranjeiras,” the original instrumental version now receives lyrics by Cristina Saraiva. In her own words, the song is one’s “perplexity before life, beauty and an uncertain future.” In “Canoa, Canoa,” Simone is at home singing about issues in her own songs. This song deals with the native Avacanoeiro people on the Araguaia River. Those people continue their fight even though they are on the verge on extinction. They go fishing late at night and have a hard life. Similar to their plight, we have fish also fighting for their lives in “Festa da Piracema.” Next, “Cobra Coral” calls our attention to false love promises and the whirlwind that can be created because of love lies. Also previously recorded in Piracema, we have the beautiful “Céu de Estio” contrasting the forces of nature. Paulo Jobim once again joins Simone in this duet. In a slightly different arrangement — not a duet this time — there is “A Vida do Rio.” As Simone explains, this song was “made for the fisherman and troubadour Zé Chato, from Santa Rosa de Viterbo, who lived 35 years by the river and knows about Brazilian folkloric characters, such as Caipora, Caboclo d’Água and Mula-sem-cabeça.” Fernando Gama’s guitar solo adds a flamenco sound and highlights this gorgeous melody.

Before ending this album, Simone and Cristina offer a well-deserved homage to pianist Leandro Braga with “Canção para um Pianista.” The verses are of rare beauty and a great tribute to this musicians and arranger:

As mãos doces do amor
São macias de tocar
E as mãos de um escritor
Nos levam pra outro lugar

Tuas mãos são um mistério
Que ninguém pode explicar
Como o perfume da rosa
Como os segredos do mar.

The sweet hands of love
Are soft at the touch
And the hands of a writer
Take us to another place

Your hands are a mystery
That no one can explain
Like the perfume of a rose
Like the secrets of the ocean.

Simone’s melody sounds like a lullaby, and Leandro Braga’s accompaniment add to the moving words. Poetry and music form an ideal couple.

The last two tracks complete this journey through folklore, hinterland and the wide spaces of the natural Brazilian landscape. In “Andorinha,” Simone sings these verses à cappella:

Se o mundo dá mil voltas
Andorinha também dá
Em cima da caviúna
Quase que eu pego uma
Foi dormir no cepo da aroeira, aiá
Que maior riqueza neste mundo há?

If the world goes around a thousand times
So does the swallow
On top of the jacaranda tree
I almost caught one
It went to sleep way high above
What more in this world can there be?

Finally, closing Cirandeiro, “Estrela do Meu Bem Querer” speaks of the wind, moonlight and the light in the eyes of the beloved one who left. Across the seas and mountains, all that remains is the uncertainty in the heart whether love will come back to stay. To the listener, however, Cristina Saraiva’s verses are balsamic and crown Simone’s music.

Cirandeiro was nominated for two Sharp Awards in 1997: best singer and best arrangement.



Simone Guimarães
Tiê TIECD002 (1997)
Time: 49’36”


  1. Lamento Sertanejo (Forró do Dominguinhos) (Dominguinhos – Gilberto Gil)
  2. Brincadeira de Coroar (Simone Guimarães)
  3. Sina (Raimundo Fagner – Ricardo Bezerra – Patativa do Assaré)
  4. Maria Solidária (Milton Nascimento – Fernando Brant)
  5. Cirandeiro (Folkloric adaptation by Edu Lobo – Capinan)
  6. Laranjeiras (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)
  7. Canoa, Canoa (Nelson Ângelo – Fernando Brant) w/ Paulo Jobim
  8. Festa da Piracema (Simone Guimarães – Virgínia Amaral)
  9. Cobra Coral (Álvaro Socci – Cristina Saraiva)
  10. Céu de Estio (Paulo Jobim – Danilo Caymmi – Ronaldo Bastos) w/ Paulo Jobim
  11. A Vida do Rio (Simone Guimarães – Virgínia Amaral)
  12. Canção para um Pianista (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)
  13. Andorinha (Vinheta) (Simone Guimarães)
  14. Estrela do Meu Bem Querer (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)