When people talk about Brazilian music, there is a tendency to focus on artists in well-known areas, primarily Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Bahia. Of course, some outstanding values also exist away from those areas. Besides covering mainstream Brazilian music, we also strive to cover independent and hard-to-find releases. For example, take a look at the music being made in the southern state of Paraná and its capital, Curitiba. We have reviewed albums by Fato and Marcelo Sandmann & Benito Rodriguez, and in addition to them, there are also several excellent musicians from that state, including Iso Fischer and O Tao do Trio just to name a couple of examples.
Performing in the Curitiba music scene since 1994, Vocal Brasileirão is 12 strong, beautiful voices under Vicente Ribeiro’s direction. (Incidentally, Vicente is also behind another great vocal group, O Tao do Trio.) Originally created by maestro Marcos Leite, Vocal Brasileirão has the unique distinction of being 12 soloists that draw upon everyone’s individual strengths to create this voice powerhouse. Accompanying the group, a solid instrumental base of acoustic guitar (Vicente Ribeiro), piano (Beth Fadel), bass (Jonas Cella), drums (João Alfredo Charmak) and percussion (Denis Mariano) completes the ensemble. The arrangements, mostly by Vicente Ribeiro and sometimes by assistant director Reginaldo Nascimento, pay homage to the great Brazilian vocal groups, such as Quarteto em Cy and Boca Livre.
In their live performances the group tends to focus on the cream of the crop of Brazilian composers, such as Ary Barroso, Caetano, Veloso, Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo, Gilberto Gil, Guinga, Pixinguinha, Tom Jobim and others. Though other albums have focused exclusively on the music written by Edu Lobo and Chico Buarque, as is the case of Marianna Leporace & Sheila Zagury’s 2001 São Bonitas as Canções, Invisível Cordão goes beyond that partnership. Here we have both Edu and Chico also partnering with other songwriters of the caliber of Paulo César Pinheiro, Cacaso, Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Joyce and Cristóvão Bastos.
In selecting these two magnificent songwriters for its first album, Vocal Brasileirão presents us with an impeccable album of ballads and sambas. They do not hold anything back and delve into classical pieces such as “Beatriz,” “Lero-Lero” and “Biscate.” Expect polished vocal arrangements and captivating solo performances as well. Whereas the first two tracks feature the entire ensemble, there are also beautiful solos, such as in “O Circo Místico,” “Lero-Lero” and “Todo o Sentimento.” The two most gorgeous arrangements in the album, though, are “Choro Bandido” with four singers sharing the solo spots and the a cappella version of “Beatriz.” The latter is memorably beautiful and stands out as one of the best arrangements for that song. Vicente Ribeiro proves once again, as he did with O Tao do Trio, that he deserves to be among the top vocal arrangers in Brazilian music.
You can learn more about the group and its music and also see videos by visiting Vocal Brasileirão.
There is also a podcast available.
Invisível Cordão: Brasileirão Canta Chico e Edu
CID CD00789-4 (2009)
- Vento Bravo (Edu Lobo – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Biscate (Chico Buarque)
- O Circo Místico (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Memórias de Marta Saré (Edu Lobo – Gianfrancesco Guarnieri)
- Lero-Lero (Edu Lobo – Cacaso)
- Abandono (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- A Bela e a Fera (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Choro Bandido (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Brejo da Cruz (Chico Buarque)
- Pelas Tabelas (Chico Buarque)
- Beatriz (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Todo o Sentimento (Cristóvão Bastos – Chico Buarque)
- Rei Morto, Rei Posto (Edu Lobo – Joyce)
- Ode aos Ratos (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)