Nov 12 2004

Trio da Paz: Black Orpheus

Revisiting a Classic Score


Black Orpheus The 1959 Franco-Italian-Brazilian movie Black Orpheus is regarded by many Brazilian music lovers as the defining moment that turned their attention to Brazilian music. The movie has become a world classic, especially since it won the Golden Palm in Cannes in 1959 and both a Golden Globe and Oscar in 1960 as Best Foreign Movie. Directed by Marcel Camus and based on the play Orfeu da Conceição, by Vinícius de Moraes, the movie recounts the mythological relationship of Orpheus and Eurydice set during Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. The movie music was scored primarily by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá. Probably after Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil,” one track from this movie, “Manhã de Carnaval,” is arguably one of the most beloved Brazilian songs of all times.

Cláudio RoditiHow fitting it is that Trio da Paz chose to revisit some of those classic songs from Black Orpheus for their second album. Four of the songs performed here (tracks 6, 8, 11 and 12) are not a part of the soundtrack. Arrangements of these special gems were written by Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta and Cláudio Roditi and in some tracks Naná Vasconcelos did the percussion arrangement. Once again Roditi (trumpet and flugelhorn) guest stars and is accompanied by another array of stellar performers including Herbie Mann (flutes), Naná Vasconcelos, Jorge Silva and Cyro Baptista (percussion) with Maucha Adnet’s soothing vocals leading the chorus formed by Alana da Fonseca and Geoff Mann.

After a brief guitar introduction in “A Felicidade,” the fever of Carnaval percussion is used as a prelude to the electrifying rhythm of “Frevo” in the best style of the traditional electric car parades (trios elétricos) in the Salvador, Bahia. Throughout the song, Lubambo’s gentle acoustic guitar solos slow things down to a beautiful serenade interlude only to be swept away again with the captivating rhythms of “Frevo.” Mann’s angelic flute opens the first rendition of “A Felicidade.” Later in the album, Maucha Adnet will lend her balmy vocals to Vinícius de Moraes’s lyrics for that song. She also delights us in “Manhã de Carnaval.” In the introduction, she first hums the melody as Matta’s bass goes deep into our souls. The four-plus minute arrangement is magical.

Whether you are already a fan of Brazilian music or not, Black Orpheus is definitely one of those releases to find a place close to your heart when you are not spinning it on your CD player. Trio da Paz beautifully performs these classic songs with the utmost respect and artistry they deserve.



Trio da Paz
Black Orpheus 
Kokopelli KOKO 1299 (1994)
Time: 54’46”


  1. A Felicidade (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  2. Frevo (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  3. A Felicidade (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  4. Manhã de Carnaval (Vocal) (Luiz Bonfá)
  5. O Nosso Amor (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  6. Chão de Estrelas (Sílvio Caldas – Orestes Barbosa)
  7. Samba de Orfeu (Luiz Bonfá – Antonio Maria)
  8. Dona Maria (Duduka da Fonseca)
  9. A Felicidade (Vocal) (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  10. Manhã de Carnaval (Luiz Bonfá)
  11. Namacumba (Naná Vasconcelos)
  12. Hugs & Kisses (Nilson Matta)
  13. Samba de Orfeu (Vocal) (Luiz Bonfá – Antonio Maria)