Mayra Andrade – Sounds of Cape Verde

On my site, I normally deal with Brazil-related topics obviously but rarely have I covered Portuguese from other countries. I’d like to do that in a sense, now. Recently, I had to chance to talk a little bit with a woman living in Portugal but originally from Cape Verde and she introduced me to a singer called Mayra Andrade who, in my view, is excellent. 


Mayra Andrade (born 1985 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cape Verdean singer who lives and records in Paris, France.

Andrade was born in Cuba but grew up in Senegal, Angola, and Germany. However, she spent around two months of the year in the Cape Verdean island of Santiago. The first song she remembers singing is “O Leãozinho” by the Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, whom she has cited as a musical influence. Andrade often performed as a teenager and won the 2001 Jeux de la Francophonie songwriting contest at 16, beginning voice lessons in Paris at 17. During this time, she also met the composer Orlando Pantera and began collaborating with him. Andrade then began to perform in various Portuguese-speaking regions, including the Cape Verdean cities Mindelo and Praia as well as Lisbon. She won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (English: German Record Critics Award) in 2007. She also won the Newcomer award at the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music 2008.

Below is a four-part series (each video running around 6 minutes) of Mayra discussing her debut CD called Navega. She speaks in French the whole time but there are subtitles. 

Part 1

Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Cazuza – SDBT 7

Yet another great singer who died before his time…

Agenor Miranda Araújo Neto, better known as Cazuza (4 April 1958 – 7 July 1990) was a Brazilian composer, singer and poet, born in Rio de Janeiro. Along with Raul Seixas, Renato Russo and Os Mutantes, Cazuza is considered one of the best exponents of Brazilian rock music.

Barão Vermelho

In 1980, after shortly living in San Francisco, he returned to Rio, where he worked with the theatrical group Asdrúbal Trouxe o Trombone (Asdrúbal Brought the Trombone). There he was noticed by the novice singer/composer Leo Jaime, who introduced him to a beginning rock band that needed a vocalist, the Barão Vermelho. With this very successful eighties Brazilian rock band, who had their greatest success with “Bete Balanço”, a song that was part of the soundtrack of a film, Cazuza began his career as a singer. In 1985, Cazuza took part in Rock in Rio with Barão Vermelho, and around this time, Caetano Veloso claimed he was the greatest Brazilian poet of his generation. It was also in this same year that Cazuza was infected with theAIDS virus, precipitating his desire to leave the band in order to obtain a greater freedom in composition and expression, both musically and lyrically.

Solo Career

After he left the band, Cazuza’s music began to diversify, incorporating elements of the blues in songs such as “Blues da Piedade” (Blues of Compassion), “Só as mães são felizes” (Only Mothers Are Happy) and “Balada da Esplanada” (Ballad of the Esplanade), which was based on a poem of the same name by Oswald de Andrade; showcasing increasingly intimate lyrics, like those in “Só se for a Dois” (Only If It Will Be Two), as well as opening itself up to influences from Brazilian pop music with interpretations of Cartola’s “O Mundo é um Moinho”, Raul Seixas’s “Cavalos Calados” (Silent Horses) and Caetano Veloso’s “Esse Cara” (This Guy).

Contrary to what usually happens once an artist leaves a band that has made them famous, Cazuza’s solo career proved to be more successful than that of his former group. “Exagerado” (Exaggerated), “O Tempo não Pára” (Time Doesn’t Stop), and “Ideologia” (Ideology) were his greatest hits and proved to be a great influence on subsequent Brazilian musicians.

Final Years

In 1989, he admitted publicly for the first time that he had AIDS and released his last album: Burguesia. Cazuza was openly bisexual but was not active in the gay movement. However his openness about being a person with AIDS helped to change public perceptions and attitudes about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Cazuza died in Rio de Janeiro on July 7, 1990 at the age of 32 from an AIDS related illness.



Faz Parte do Meu Show (Be a part of my show)

Mallu Magalhães – Internet Sensation

I was browsing the Brazilian Youtube for some clips of a talk show host Sergio Groisman, when I came across this young singer who is having great success, due largely to the internet. I was introduced to her music last year via a secondhand recording and didn’t think twice until I saw a better, more professional recording today (which I put below). Special thanks to Janaina for passing along her video at some point in the past, which is what made me remember her unusual name. My guess? It’s a name you should definitely remember.

Mallu Biography

Maria Luisa de Arruda Botelho Pereira de Magalhães, best known as Mallu Magalhães, (São Paulo, August 29, 1992) is a Brazilian singer-songwriter.

Mallu used to search for LPs in her grandmother’s house and had influence from her parents in her musical tastes. In 2001, she got her first guitar and two years later she began to going to classes. At twelve years old, Mallu began to compose her own songs, the majority in English. “It sounds better”, she says. “I always was ashamed to compose in Portuguese. Sometimes, you want to tell things that need to be darker”. But she says that she’s not too good at speaking English and always has a dictionary at hand.

For her fifteenth birthday, Mallu didn’t want gifts but rather money from her parents and grandparents. With this money, Mallu recorded four songs and a video and put them on the internet. “Tchubaruba” (video below) and “J1” (second video below) were among these songs and “Vanguart”, the video. Very fast Mallu became a success on the Internet, recording videos and being interviewed by magazines, like Rolling Stone Brazil, and TV shows such as Altas Horas and Programa do Jô.

Her favourite bands and artists are the Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

Tim Maia – Singers that Died Before Their Time – Part 1

Unfortunately, some singers leave us in the beginning or the middle of their brightest moments. I’d like to pay respect to those musical stars who have deeply left their mark on the Brazilian music scene. Starting with Tim Maia, I’ll also be covering in further parts Chico Science, Elis Regina, Raul Seixas, Cassia Eller, Renato Russo and of course, Cazuza.

Tim Maia

Tim Maia, born Sebastião Rodrigues Maia in Rio de Janeiro, was a Brazilian musician known for his iconoclastic, ironic, outspoken, and polemical (but always humorous) musical style. He was also known for his habit of lightheartedly missing appointments and even important gigs.

Maia performed in a variety of musical genres, ranging from happy and energetic dance music to sentimental songs such as his hit “Me Dê Motivo”. He performed soul music, funk, bossa nova (in the 1990s), romantic songs, American pop, samba, baião, and Música Popular Brasileira.

Early Career

As a young age, Maia began to take guitar classes and was soon teaching children in the neighborhood of Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro. Grouping himself with other local musicians, he joined the Matoso gang (Maia, Jorge Ben, Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Esteves, later taking on the name Erasmo Carlos, and several others), named after the street where they used to hang out.

After his father’s demise in 1959, Maia won a scholarship to study communications in the United States, where he lived for four years. There he started as a vocalist, having joined the Ideals, but in 1963, he was arrested for possession of marijuana.

Jailed for six months and then deported to Brazil, he did not find any warmth on the part of his old comrades Esteves and (Roberto) Carlos, who were beginning to enjoy the massive success of Jovem Guarda movement, which would get a grip on the entire country in a few years. Moving to São Paulo, he had some support from Os Mutantes instead, which led him to launch his very sucessful solo career throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Later Career

Obese and in bad health, in March 1998 he was performing at the Municipal Theater of Niterói when he collapsed on stage. Hospitalized, he died few days later at the age of 56. According to Tim’s son Carmelo, he had suffered two cardiac arrests prior to being admitted to the hospital. In 1999 he was paid tribute in a show by several Música Popular Brasileira artists. The show was launched on CD and DVD. In 2000 he had another tribute, also released in CD.

Here is some rare footage of one of his biggest hits, Acenda o Farol.

Silvera – R&B in Portuguese?

If your taste tends to lean more towards the R&B/Pop/Hip-hop circut (think Craig David), then Silvera is what you have been looking for. A Paulistano and an up-and-comer on the scene, hes someone to look out for in the next few years. I listen to a lot of Brazilian music and Im pretty confident that theres no one like him out there in the Brazilian market.

Heres his website