Wealth of Songs
Why is it that Brazil is well known for its strong female performers but little notice is given to its female songwriters? In most discussions of Brazilian music we often hear the names of Elis Regina, Nara Leão, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Simone, Marisa Monte, Clara Nunes among some of our most expressive performers. Recently, even National Public Radio (NPR) listed Elis Regina in its 50 Great Voices series. What is often overlooked is the tremendous strength of our female composers, such as Chiquinha Gonzaga, Dolores Duran, Rita Lee, Zélia Duncan, Fátima Guedes and so many others. With Compositoras Vol. 1 this omission might start a well-deserving process of recognition of our female songwriters.
Compositoras Vol. 1 is the brainchild of Cristina Saraiva (Rio de Janeiro, 1962) and Socorro Lira (Paraíba, 1974). Both excellent songwriters, Cristina and Socorro invited Etel Frota (Paraná, 1952) and Simone Guimarães (São Paulo, 1966) to complete this dynamic quartet for one remarkable album. The combination of these four brilliant women in this album brings together their talents from across Brazil. They have recorded, performed and been interpreted by the best in Brazilian music — Milton Nascimento, Elba Ramalho, Maria Bethânia, Mônica Salmaso, Chico Buarque, Fagner, Geraldo Azevedo, Guinga and more. In addition to memorable performances by Simone Guimarães and Socorro Lira in this album, we are also given renditions by Carla Visi, Ceumar, Irah Caldeira, Clarisse Grova, Lucina, Lucila Novaes, Ana Cascardo and Cris Lemos. Though some of the songs have previously been released in other albums, Compositoras Vol. 1 also contains new material, such as “Miragem” and “Samba da Rima.”
Compositoras Vol. 1 stands out on its own as a breatkthrough release. Assembling the repertoire was likely no easy task, for these women have a body of work that is as impressive as the performances we hear. Take, for example, the opener “Martelo de Duas Pancadas.” One of four of Socorro Lira’s compositions in the CD, this track reflects Socorro’s homeland of Paraíba with lyricism and beauty. For me, I see it as a statement about this project with such poetry coming from within, deep within the hinterland and soul. This same theme of the countryside, woods and roads is repeated in “Relento,” “Arrebol,” “Meu Lugar” and “A Vida do Rio.” Parallel to this idyllic poetry, we also find love. The brand new “Miragem,” for example, is a love song for all times. Its lyrics sing about love by your side and far away, love for pleasing and for tired times and for beyond the end of time. The other new song featured in Compositoras Vol. 1, “Samba de Rima,” is a soft samba played with acoustic guitar and subtle percussion in a duet by Ana Cascardo and Cris Lemos. With incredible lyrics by Etel Frota, this samba praises the beauty of rhymes (in Portuguese, rima). The chorus in the song uses anagrams of rima leading to a marvelous alliteration that only a poet of Etel’s caliber can create: “Mira, irmã, a rica rima que eu colhi esta manhã” (look, sister, the rich rhyme I reaped this morning).
Compositoras Vol. 1 creates a wealth of songs in the verses and melody of these talented women, Cristina Saraiva, Etel Frota, Simone Guimarães and Socorro Lira. If music is timeless, listening to Compositoras Vol. 1 will be perpetual joy. Let us have more volumes of this great music and celebrate Brazilian women songwriters.
Cristina Saraiva, Etel Frota, Simone Guimarães, Socorro Lira
Compositoras, Vol. 1
Tiê – Liraprocult (2010)
- Martelo de Duas Pancadas (Socorro Lira)
- Relento (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)
- Lua de Maio (Luhli – Etel Frota)
- Brincadeira de Coroar (Simone Guimarães)
- Miragem (Uxía – Cristina Saraiva)
- Arrebol (Socorro Lira)
- Meu Lugar (Lucina – Etel Frota)
- A Vida do Rio (Simone Guimarães – Virgínia Amaral)
- Nas Voltas da Ciranda (Socorro Lira – Cristina Saraiva)
- Samba da Rima (Luhli – Etel Frota)
- Hermanos (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)
- Pessoas (Socorro Lira)
- A Comadre (Ceumar – Etel Frota)