Solidifying Her Career
If Cirandeiro was the album that got the critics’ attention and Aguapé solidified Simone’s name among the best in Brazilian music, Virada pra Lua is then a celebration for this artist. Here Simone Guimarães shows new partnerships, and we also see emerge her talent as a lyricist. The musicians in Virada pra Lua include old friends, such as Leandro Braga (piano) and introduce new companions, such as João Lyra (acoustic guitar), Marcelo Gonçalves (7-string guitar), Pedro Amorim (mandolin), Zé Nogueira (soprano sax), Guinga (acoustic guitar) and other names of the same caliber. Perhaps the greatest gift Simone received and gave to her fans was a duet with Milton Nascimento in “Imagem e Semelhança.”
The title track for Simone Guimarães’s 4th album was co-written with Sérgio Natureza, who wrote the lyrics and was inspired by Ana Gurgel’s suggestion (she’s Simone’s manager). “Virada pra Lua” is a good opener, and as the lyrics forewarn, the Moon should be ready for this arrival. Zé Nogueira’s beautiful sax solo gives continuity to this work in “Cenários,” where Simone continues her journey crossing the backlands in the rain and taking her music everywhere she goes. Júlio Moura’s optimist verses culminate with “meu canto é o som da criação na canção que eu guardei pra te levar” (my singing is the creation sound in the song that I kept to carry you away). Beautiful verses. In “Imagem e Semelhança,” Milton Nascimento’s sound is as vibrant as ever. The track, which was also featured in Nascimento’s Pietá album (2002), but in a duet with Marina Machado, here has a more dynamic and faster tempo. The mixture of Milton’s and Simone’s voices is perfect. João Lyra’s guitar solo is also exceptional on the track.
Even though Virada pra Lua does not feature any Nélson Ângelo’s music, the lyrics in “Imensidade” pay homage to him. Written by Simone herself, the song talks about the on-going fight black people have faced throughout history, “never winning the human look of the colonizers.” Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics:
São homens fortes e bravos
E belo como é seu canto
Que vem do rugir das matas
O canto sopra esperanto
E rola na imensidade
E varre de nós a fome
E tira esse cão das tardes, das manhãs,
São os tam-tans, voz de libertação.
These are strong and brave men
And as beautiful as their singing
That comes from the roar of the jungle
The singing whispers esperanto
And rolls in the immensity
And sweeps hunger away from us
And takes away this beast from the afternoons and mornings,
These are the drums, the voice of liberation.
The union of musical phenomenon Guinga with the poetry of Paulo César Pinheiro is summed up in “Porto de Araújo.” With Guinga’s own guitar arrangement, this song is, according to Simone, “one of those deep moments of those two geniuses.” Besides Guinga’s musical mark, Paulo’s lyrics are full of nasal sounds that make the song even more introspective.
The next track brings back Zé Nogueira’s pleasing sax solo together with Leandro Braga’s soft piano in “Night-Club.” This bolero was inspired by Simone de Beauvoir’s book of letters that Simone was reading at that time. The ardent passion is pictured here with romantic overtones that cover the light in someone’s eyes as well as the moonlight. On that evening and that club, Simone sings she wants that moment. The plot involving love and anguish continues with “30 Anos” of attempts and disappointments. The arrangement is rich with brass and a bit more funk, especially with the final drumming finale. Coming back to a more romantic tone and slower tempo, “Meu Coração” grabs the listener with its strong lyrics. The various comparisons of the heart with a ship without direction or the cold dawn or even an abandoned piece of land transform solitude and darkness into love at the very moment that a lover offers a warm and soft arm and hand.
The next three songs all focus on nature for their theme. In “Sertão das Águas (Dois),” Simone’s tribute is to her hometown of Santa Rosa de Viterbo. In “A Fábula do Riacho,” her only partnership with Cristina Saraiva in the album, nature gets dressed up in a fairy tale story. The lyric richness of those verses works like magic or a peaceful river. The story line is painted as an invitation for two. The next track, “Cumbuca,” brings back a songwriter who had been featured in Piracema, Simone’s first album. What is most remarkable about the song is the simple language. José Márcio Castro Alves’s lyrics are of uncommon beauty:
E meu peito é um jardim que floresce,
É um amor circunstante
Na cumbuca do peito eu garimpo um amor viajante
Quem cavuca o cascalho nos rios é que encontra o brilhante.
My chest is a garden in bloom,
It’s bystander’s love
In the depth of my heart I search for the traveling love
Those who search the sand in the rivers find the diamond.
This is a rare gem. Simone’s vocals in the song are well done. On top of that, there’s also a moving viola solo by João Lyra.
Closing the album, Simone features two other compositions of hers. The first, “Convulsionada,” is a confusing and emotional declaration to have the body of one’s beloved all to oneself. Contrasting with that theme, the last track in the album is a Carnaval song, very light and fun. “Marilyn,” Simone says, is a song that was written around 1991, just around Carnaval time in Brazil. Rosana Zaidan’s lyrics pay tribute to the beauty in women both in Brazil and the world. Beauty is not only the physical aspect. The names cited in the song cover a vast territory of beauties, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Elis Regina, Sônia Braga, Cecília Meireles, Elizabeth Taylor and Sofia Loren. The joyful play exchanging Margareth Thatcher for Marilyn Monroe, or even the final call for Marta Suplicy to teach us to be happy, is simply pure fun.
After this album Simone had special guest appearances in several other albums. In 2001 she sang “Tez” (Sérgio Natureza – Simone Guimarães) in Kátia Rocha’s Brasileira. She also appeared on three tracks in Cristina Saraiva’s Primeiro Olhar. These were the tracks: “Laranjeiras” (from Cirandeira) and “Relento” and “Hermanos” (from Aguapé). In 2002, she sang in three tracks in Keco Brandão’s Tatanka. The songs were “Madre Tierra,” “Oh! Grande Espírito” — both cerimonial Xamã songs — and “Caminho Vermelho” (by Keco Brandão). Finally in 2002, her biggest participation was in Milton Nascimento’s Pietá, where she performed three songs along with her idol: “Beleza e Canção” (Milton Nascimento – Fernando Brant), “Boa Noite” (Milton Nascimento – Chico Amaral) and “Vozes do Vento” (Kiko Continentino – Milton Nascimento).
Virada pra Lua
Lua Discos LD-020 / Azul Music AMCD 075 (2001)
- Virada pra Lua (Simone Guimarães – Sérgio Natureza)
- Cenários (Misael da Hora – Júlio Moura)
- Imagem e Semelhança (Bena Lobo – Kiko Continentino – Milton Nascimento) w/ Milton Nascimento
- Imensidade (Simone Guimarães )
- Porto de Araújo (Guinga – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Night-Club (Kiko Continentino – Simone Guimarães)
- 30 Anos (Ivan Lins – Victor Martins)
- Meu Coração (Thomas Roth)
- Sertão das Águas (Dois) (Yuri Popoff -Simone Guimarães)
- A Fábula do Riacho (Simone Guimarães – Cristina Saraiva)
- Cumbuca (José Márcio Castro Alves)
- Convulsionada (Simone Guimarães)
- Marilyn (Simone Guimarães – Rosana Zaidan)