Stellar and Well-Deserved Support
Having a long list of special guests in any particular album is a good way to attract attention to a new release. When that guest list is backed up by a solid repertoire that includes blues, boleros and even some great rock ballads, the result is fascinating. That is the case of Wolf Borges’ fourth album, Circo dos Sonhos.
A son of the musically fertile state of Minas Gerais, Wolf Borges (Ouro Fino, MG 1964) began his musical career in a similar manner as other singers and songwriters of that state: performing serenatas with a small group of friends. Then in 1997, together with Elder Costa, he released his first album, Ímpar. That was followed in 2003 with Singular, which featured special guests Leila Pinheiro, Juarez Moreira and Lui Coimbra among others. In 2007, he wrote the soundtrack to the monologue 1984 – Uma Leitura Musical, featuring vocalist Jucilene Buosi, who is also present in this album. Now, picking up where he had left off in 2003, his latest album, Circo dos Sonhos, brings back a stellar roster of musicians and singers performing 14 original tracks. Produced by César Bottinha, Circo dos Sonhos features Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Fátima Guedes (voice), Paulo Sérgio Santos (clarinet), Walmir Gil (flugelhorn, trumpet), Jucilene Buosi (voice), Toninho Horta (voice, guitar) and several other top-notch musicians.
The way to best describe the music in Circo dos Sonhos is probably by linking it to its roots in Minas Gerais. Like Milton Nascimento’s and Toninho Horta’s Clube da Esquina unique sound of Brazilian Popular Music (or MPB, Música Popular Brasileira), Wolf Borges follows in their footsteps. His music is both captivating and complex. It is refreshingly appealing to hungry listeners who crave for Brazilian music outside of the popular radio light fare. In other words, Wolf’s music has substance and quality to last throughout all tracks in this fine release. He dares to experiment with various genres and is very successful in doing so. The album is solid from the first to the last track.
For starters, Walmir Gil’s flugelhorn introduction in the opener “Etéreo” is a sure attention getter. A subtle string accompaniment is a perfect match for the beautiful instrumentation and Wolf’s soft-spoken vocals. The two tracks that feature Toninho Ferragutti’s accordion, “Retratista” and “Circo dos Sonhos,” are another highlight. They take full advantage of the instrument’s regional color blending country and urban sounds. “Circo dos Sonhos,” in particular, ends with a spiraling accordion solo that leaves you breathless. The last time I heard such a dynamic solo in a pop song was Waldonys in Marisa Monte’s 1996 Barulhinho Bom. Here the accordion solo follows a dazzling guitar solo by César Bottinha. Fantastic performances! Toninho Horta’s vocal and guitar guest appearance in “Desembarque” is yet another memorable track in the album.
Going a little more into a pop beat, Wolf wows with “Flor do Entardecer” and “O Tempo.” In the latter, César Bottinha’s steel guitar comes back to set the track on fire. The arrangement is very straightforward with keyboards, bass, drums and guitars, but a nice twist and addition of João Paulo Amaral on viola makes the track even more enjoyable. The nice ballad and bolero-flavored “Me Prendi” is a gorgeous track with romantic lyrics to steal away anyone’s heart. Again, subtle strings and a variety of guitars (acoustic, electric and 12-string) ensure a winning song. Before closing this terrific album, Wolf brings back Walmir Gil’s trumpet and shares the vocals with Jucilene Buosi in the blues “Último Olhar.”
You can learn more about the artist and his music at Wolf Borges.
Circo dos Sonhos
Independent WBCDSCD01 (2009)
All songs by Wolf Borges, except where noted.
- Retratista – feat. Toninho Ferragutti
- Encontro Marcado
- Despretensioso – w/ Fátima Guedes, feat. Paulo Sérgio Santos
- Circo dos Sonhos – feat. Toninho Ferragutti
- Cara Mulher
- Desembarque – feat. Toninho Horta
- Flor do Entardecer (Elder Costa – Wolf Borges)
- O Tempo
- Rural 68 (Marcos Mesquita – Gil Sevalho)
- Santo Rei
- Me Prendi
- Último Olhar (Dinho Caninana – Wolf Borges) – duet w/ Jucilene Buosi
- Deus na Cadeira de Palhinha (Wolf Borges – Jucilene Buosi)