Samba is my beloved woman, the eternal bedside book. My samba guide is this group of Velha Guarda da Mangueira.
With these verses, the late Brazilian actor, poet and songwriter Mário Lago (November 26, 1911 – May 31, 2002, Rio de Janeiro) opens this fantastic recording of Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados. As big as the samba school Mangueira, Brazil’s first samba school, Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados is a Carnaval parade of music, style and excitement. Quoting Lago again, listening to this CD will bring you “moments that won’t easily be forgotten.”
Every samba school in Brazil has a hall of fame of composers and participants that carry the group’s name from one generation to the next. The group is affectionately known as the Velha Guard (the Old Guard) of that samba school. In this recording of Velha Guarda da Mangueira, the group is made up of Mocinho, Zezinho, Jurandir, Quincas, Ary, Zenith, Genuíno, Erivá, Tontinho, Soninha, Xangô, Miguel and Tia Zélia. Last names are superfluous for this legendary group. With outstanding artistic direction by Felippe Llerena, production and arrangements by Josimar Monteiro, Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados is a musical testament of the great heritage of Mangueira. The album also boasts a list of Mangueira supporters including Nelson Sargento, Tia Zica, Carlos Cachaça, Dona Neuma, Guilherme de Brito, Beth Carvalho, Lenine, Délcio Carvalho and grand dame of samba Dona Ivone Lara.
The music in Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados includes new compositions as well as classics by some of Mangueira’s greatest composers, such as Cartola, Nelson Sargento, Nelson Cavaquinho, Délcio Carvalho, Dona Ivone Lara, and others. The first track, “Mangueira Chegou,” is the first samba that had a surdo marking the beat of a composition. It is a samba de terreiro or a samba that is performed when the samba school is not practicing for the annual Carnaval parade. Basically, it is a very lively samba performed only for dancing (not for competition). Another magnificent samba is Cartola and Paulinho Tapajós’ “Chega de Demanda (A Mangueira É Rainha).” As indicated by Dona Zica’s introduction, this was the samba that Mangueira sang in its first Carnaval (1929). With this samba, Mangueira won its first championship. Another winner — this time in the 1948 Carnaval — “Vale do São Francisco” unites Nelson Sargento and Lenine in an unforgettable duet. A moving piece composed by Aldir Blanc (who is not a member of Mangueira) and Moacyr Luz pays homage to the legendary Carlos Cachaça. The song opens with the voice of Cachaça explaining how he got his nickname (cachaça in Portuguese is a hard liquor made of sugar cane). It is a well deserving tribute to one of Mangueira’s greatest sons.
Over and over, Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados relives the history of samba in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Yes, samba will not die, and Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados is life and samba being reborn at every listening.
Velha Guarda da Mangueira
Velha Guarda da Mangueira e Convidados
Nikita Music NK 1001-2 (1999)
- Mangueira Chegou (José Ramos)
- Candongueiro (Tantinho)
- Chega de Demanda (A Mangueira É Rainha) (Cartola – Paulinho Tapajós)
- Se Foi Bom pra Você (Darcy da Mangueira – Darcy Maravilha)
- Vale do São Francisco (Alfredo Português – Nelson Sargento)
- Incompatibilizado (Geraldo Pereira)
- Cachaça, Árvore e Bandeira (Aldir Blanc – Moacyr Luz)
- Amélia Não Passa Mais Fome (Quincas – Chiquinho Modesto)
- Insônia (Neoci – Bandeira Brasil – Nelson Cavaquinho)
- Outros Caminhos (Ivone Lara – Délcio Carvalho)
- Minha Terra (Guilherme de Brito)
- Divino (Toninho Nascimento – Noca da Portela)
- Palácio Encantado (Jurandir – Irson Pinto)
- Pot-pourri: A Mangueira Não Morreu (Jorge Zagaia) / Fala Mangueira (Mirabeau – Milton de Oliveira) / Salve a Mangueira (Quincas – Padeirinho) / Despedida de Mangueira (Benedito Lacerda – Aldo Cabral)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé in July 2000.