More of Maria Gadu – Can’t get enough

Something I’ve never done here on this site, I’m going to do now. I can’t get enough of singer/songwriter Maria Gadu’s music, so here she is again, with some more of her musical gems.

Bela Flor


Lorinha Bombril

Oriente – Márcio Faraco

written by Márcio Faraco
translation by Adam

Eyes of the Orient
Blind to our world
They only see the sun and the skies

Burning eyes of love
They are gagged
Made prisoners
of the gaze of God

But they see, those blinded eyes
They’re far from dull
Eyes closed to seeing
But open to imagination
Eyes abandoned even by solitude

Who will take care of these women
Silent slaves
Sewing a cloak
That will serve as their prison

(Lyrics in Portuguese)

Here’s what Faraco had to say about this song…

“I wrote this one eight years ago; I was impressed by those women in Kabul who lived at home like recluses. I’ve done a lot of work on it; we didn’t record it on the first trip to Rio either, I had to go back just to do this one.” It’s an afoxé, an Afro rhythm from Bahia over a cushioned tempo, a singular option for such a serious subject.”

In Portuguese, the Middle East is called Oriente Médio. When thinking of this song, given the context from Faraco himself, I take it to refer to the East, not specifically the Far East.

Alexia Bomtempo – Doce like Honey

I was browsing new Brazilian compositions when I found a great CD called Doces Cariocas and when I heard a song called Chuvisco on the disc, I had to find out who sang it. After I did a little digging, I pulled up a little info on this beautiful singer, which I’ll post below.

“Born in Washington DC, Brazilian-American singer/songwriter Alexia Bomtempo has lived most of her 23 years of age in Rio de Janeiro. After studying voice in New England for 3 years, Alexia returned to Brazil, where she has been performing frequently at well-known clubs in the music circuit. Her many songwriting partners include Pierre Aderne, Dadi and Mú Carvalho, among others. With a voice that has been described as a delight to contemporary Brazilian popular music, Alexia recently got signed to EMI for her first album called “Astrolábio”, which was produced by Dadi.”

I’ll post a few Youtube videos and a picture I found on the Brazilian internet portal UOL. She’s definitely one to watch out for!

Roxanne (Sting cover)

Quanto Tempo (partnership with Pierre Aderne)

Dorival Caymmi – The Archetypal Bahian

Dorival Caymmi ( April 30, 1914 – August 16, 2008 ) was considered to be one of the most important songwriters in Brazilian popular music. The son of an Italian immigrant and a black Bahian woman, he had a distinctive style of his own and was the writer of many classic songs. The sambas, such as O Samba Da Minha Terra, have become standards of Música Popular Brasileira. He also wrote ballads celebrating the fearless fishermen of Bahia, including Promessa de Pescador and O Vento.

Although his songs celebrate the people of Bahia and he himself is enshrined in the popular Brazilian imagination as the archetypal Bahian, he moved to Rio de Janeiro to find fame in the 1930s and never moved back to Bahia.

He became a contemporary and sometimes rival of composer Ary Barroso and enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Bahian author Jorge Amado. Dorival Caymmi first achieved success in the late 1930s with Carmen Miranda, for whom he composed O Que é Que a Baiana Tem? (video below) He recorded for five decades, both singing solo with his own guitar accompaniment, and backed by bands and orchestras. In the 1960s many of his songs were covered by bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, and he collaborated with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Among the many musicians heavily influenced by Dorival Caymmi are Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Plus the song ‘Vatapá’ which he wrote, which was featured in the film Dona Flor & Her Two Husbands

Cássia Eller – SDBT 5

On with yet one more Singer that Died Before his Time…

Cássia Eller (December 10, 1962 -December 29, 2001) was a Brazilian musician. She was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1962, but spent most of her adolescence in Brasília.

In 1990 she returned to Rio and her recording career took off. Her most popular album is the live recording Acústico that she did for MTV Brasil (essentially the Brazilian version of an MTV Unplugged album), and her best-known hit songs are her cover of “Malandragem” (video below), originally written by Cazuza and “Segundo Sol”. Eller is known for her fusion of rock and MPB, and for her extremely deep and husky singing voice. She is also notable as one of Brazil’s most prominent lesbian artists. Her sexuality, along with her musical style, has caused some to draw comparisons with Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls as well as Melissa Etheridge.

Eller died in December 29, 2001 after being rushed to hospital in Rio de Janeiro by a girlfriend. She was admitted in a delirious and incoherent state during which she suffered a series of heart attacks; a police investigation concluded that these were due to a heart condition rather than to drug use (although many believe drugs played a part). She was 39 years old, and at the time of her death, left a young son behind whose custody was assumed by her partner after her death.

Eller still has a devoted following in Brazil, and her popularity after her untimely and unfortunate death has continued to grow. Her music continues to be played daily on various Brazilian radio stations and her CDs are still prominently for sale in stores.

Fernanda Abreu – The First Lady of Funk

Fernanda Sampaio de Lacerda Abreu (or simply Fernanda Abreu) was born on Rio de Janeiro at September 8, 1961. She was the backing vocal of the famous band Blitz until 1986. After that, in 1990, she started a solo career singing funk, disco and dance music, achieving great success in her native country. In 1989, she met Herbet Vianna, and with his help and encouragment formed a funk band. Her first solo album, SLA Radical Dance Disco Club (1990), had a hit with “A Noite.” Her second album, SLA2/Be Sample (1992), was one of the earliest Brazilian pop records to extensively employ the sampler, and had success with “Rio 40 Graus” (featured below). Since then, Abreu has been considered the first lady of Brazilian funk. In 2006 she released “Ao Vivo MTV”, the first DVD of her career, which includes many of her hit songs.

If you want something to dance to, I suggest giving her a go!


Elis Regina – SDBT Part 2

In conjunction with the series on Singers that Died Before their Time (or my acronym SDBT), I’m going to continue this time with a piece on Elis Regina.

Elis Regina

Elis Regina Carvalho Costa, known simply as Elis Regina (March 17, 1945 – January 19, 1982) was a singer ofBrazilian popular music who achieved great success and recognition during her lifetime. She remains one of the most popular and beloved stars in Brazil.



Elis Regina was born in Porto Alegre, where she began her career as singer at age 11 on a children’s radio show, calledO Clube Do Guri on Rádio Farroupilha (most likely named after the Farroupilha Revolution). In 1959, she was contracted by Rádio Gaúcha and in the next year she travelled to Rio de Janeiro where she recorded her first LP, Viva a Brotolândia.

She won her first festival song contest in 1965 singing Arrastão (The Trawling Net) by Edu Lobo and Vinícius de Moraes, which, when released as a single, made her the biggest selling Brazilian recording artist since Carmen Miranda. The second LP with Jair Rodrigues, Dois na Bossa, set a national sales record and first LP to achieve over one million copies. Arrastão by Elis also launched her career for a national audience since that festival was broadcasted via TV and radio. As for the history of Brazilian music it represented the beginning of a new music style that would be known as MPB (Música Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Popular Music), distinguished from the previous bossa nova.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Elis Regina helped to popularize the work of the tropicalia movement, recording songs by musicians such as Gilberto Gil. Her 1974 collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elis & Tom, is often cited as one of the greatest bossa nova albums of all time, which also includes what many consider the all-time best Brazilian song, “Águas de Março”. She also recorded songs by Milton Nascimento, João Bosco, Aldir Blanc, Chico Buarque, Jorge Ben, Baden Powell, Caetano Veloso and Rita Lee. She possessed an exciting voice and superb intonation, and excelled at up-tempo numbers and ballads under the banner of MPB. Her nicknames were “furacão” (“hurricane”) and “pimentinha” (“little pepper”).

Speaking Out

She sometimes criticized the Brazilian dictatorship which had persecuted and exiled many musicians of her generation. In a 1969 interview in Europe, she said that Brazil was being run by “gorillas”. Her popularity kept her out of jail, but she was eventually compelled by the authorities to sing the Brazilian national anthem in a stadium show, drawing the ire of many Brazilian Leftists. She was later forgiven because they understood that, as a mother and daughter, she had to protect her family from the dictatorship at any cost. Along with many other artists, Elis was living each verse of Geraldo Vandre’s political hymn: Yet they make of a flower their strongest refrain, And believe flowers to defeat guns.

Her rendition of Jobim/Vinicius’ song “Por Toda A Minha Vida” appeared on the soundtrack to the 2002 movie Hable Con Ella (Talk to Her) directed by Pedro Almodóvar and her song “Roda” appeared on the soundtrack to the 2005 movie Be Cool.

When Elis Regina succumbed to an accidental alcohol-temazepam overdose in 1982, at the age of 36, she had recorded dozens of top-selling records in her career. Her death swept the country in mourning. Elis Regina has sold over 80 million albums.

I highly recommend getting your hands on her dvd show Programa Ensaio Elis Regina (released in 2004), originally shown on TV Cultura-SP in 1973. It contains many of her songs and an interview (in Portuguese). Also her daughter has achieved musical success in Brazil, whose musical name is Maria Rita.