This Is Forró!
It seems that every four years or so I run across a forró album that I simply cannot stop listening to. I recall that in 1996, Elba Ramalho’s Leão do Norte did that for me. Then in 2000, Gilberto Gil’s album As Canções de ‘Eu, Tu, Eles’ had the same effect on me. Now, with just a short delay in my four-year cycle, I got a hold of Waldonys’ latest album, Anjo Querubim. In a time when mass produced music is taking over the air waves and CD store shelves, it is refreshing to listen to an album that is authentic in keeping the forró genre very much alive. No electronic samplers here, just hard-core forró with accordion and voice (Waldonys), zabumba (Gilson Monteiro) and triangle (Chico VIola & Gilson Monteiro) spiced up with a subtle help of bass (Edson Sancho), 12-string guitar and cavaquinho (Lú de Souza), drums (Paulo Djane) and keyboards (Marcos Farias). Backing in the vocals, Xis and Priscila do a fine job, too.
Waldonys is a native of Fortaleza, Ceará (northeastern Brazil). He began taking accordion lessons when he was 11 years old at the Conservatório Alberto Nepomuceno. At 13 he started private lessons with Tarcísio Lima. Still in his teens, Waldonys had the pleasure of meeting Luiz Gonzaga, the King of Baião and creator of forró. The introduction was made possible through Dominguinhos, another forró icon in Brazil. At age 17, Waldonys moved to Nevada for a while to perform at various casinos. Upon his return to Brazil in 1992, his musical career solidified as he recorded with Luiz Gonzaga, Dominguinhos, Hermeto Pascoal and toured with Fagner and later on with Marisa Monte. It is his accordion you hear in Montes’ 1996 Barulhinho Bom (A Great Noise). He was also featured in Eudes Fraga’s Tudo Que Me Nordestes in 2002.
Anjo Querubim packs a lively repertoire produced by Waldonys and Marcos Farias. In fact, the first three songs in the album already leave you breathless. Fagner and Fausto Nilo’s “Jardim dos Animais” is a great opener, not only because of its infectious rhythm, but also because Nilo’s poetry is beautiful:
Amanhece na luz da campina Anoitece no meu coração Tanta terra cabe nessa rima Só não cabe minha solidão Morning rises on the fields Night falls in my heart There’s so much land in this rhyme But no room for my loneliness
The inclusion of the old Trio Nordestino hit “Já Faz Tempo Não Lhe Vejo” gets a nice make over. And then Lula Queiroga’s “Machucando Sim” keeps up the beat and lyricism. Lyrics in forró music can cover a wide range of topics, but when they deal with matters of the heart, such as these three songs mentioned here, the song seems to gain another dimension. Lyrics and melody form a union that is hard to beat. And when refrains repeat catchy lyrics, one cannot help but give in to the enchantment and simplicity of those verses. The apocalyptical “Final dos Tempos” does not give you a respite from the constant zabumba beat. Waldonys also maintains his strength both vocally and musically as he sings and plays passionately. At times his voice sounds remarkably close to Fagner’s, as in “Poucas Palavras” and the Fagner medley itself. Incidentally, the one questionable moment in the album is the inclusion of those non-forró songs recorded by Fagner in the medley on tracks 11 through 13. Though the arrangement and performance are impeccable, if you know the original songs, you cannot help but ask why. The transition from those songs to the closing instrumental number, “Acrobático,” will take you back to the original feeling in the rest of the album. The energetic accordion and guitar duet is breathtaking, and that is one word that clearly defines Anjo Querubim. It is a mighty fine album.
Kuarup Discos KCD 199 (2005)
- Jardim dos Animais (Fagner – Fausto Nilo)
- Já Faz Tempo Não Lhe Vejo (Antonio Barros)
- Machucando Sim (Lula Queiroga)
- Final dos Tempos (Chico Pessoa)
- Anjo Querubim (Petrúcio Amorim)
- Poucas Palavras (Gilmar Cavalcante – Eliane)
- Eu Quero Ver Você Dizer Que Sou Eu Ruim (Alcymar Monteiro – Alceu Valença – Arcilio Araújo)
- De Pernas Viradas (Dorgival Dantas)
- Fulô de Laranjeira (Paulo César de Oliveira)
- Apague o Fogo (Waldonys)
- Pop Pourri – Homenagem a Raimundo Fagner: Eternas Ondas (Zé Ramalho)
- Revelação/Noturno (Clodô – Clésio / Caio Sílvio – Graco)
- Deslizes (Michael Sullivan – Paulo Massadas)
- Acrobático (Lu de Souza)