Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Zito Borborema - Os Dois Agarradinhos, A Flor Do Mal & Nasci No Sertão from S/T - Tropicana Cantagalo (1973) & Portugal compacto duplo - Roda (1973)

As I have said before, there are many voices in forró, but Zito Borborema has one of the most distinctive. The recordings from below come from Os Dois Agarradinhos, an LP issued once and only once in 1973. A few of the songs were also released on a rare Portuguese 4 song EP / compacto on the Roda label. The title track is lively. Nasci Do Sertão and A Flor Do Mal have a bit of tango flavor. Although Tango reportedly originated in Argentina and Uruguay, numerous Brazilian recordings were released through the 1950s.

Zito Borborema - Os Dois Agarradinhos from Os Dois Agarradinhos - Tropicana (1973)

Zito Borborema - Nasci No Sertão from Os Dois Agarradinhos - Tropicana (1973)

Zito Borborema - A Flor Do Mal from Os Dois Agarradinhos - Tropicana (1973)

Zito Borborema - Os Dois Agarradinhos - Portugal / Portuguese  compacto duplo - Roda (1973)
Zito Borborema - Os Dois Agarradinhos - Tropicana (1973)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marinês E Sua Gente - Quatro Fia Fême (baião) & Sanharô (tambô) from compacto duplo & Coisas Do Norte - RCA (1963)

Thanks to the endorsement and support of Luiz Gonzaga, Marinês had a long and fruitful career. Her records are still very collectible today. Although she wasn't the first woman to step into the baião / forró genre, she may be the best known and loved. These tracks are from a compacto on RCA from 1963. Both of these tracks appeared on her LP Coisas Do Norte, but the artwork on the LP and single are completely different. 

Marinês E Sua Gente - Quatro Fia Fême (baião) from compacto duplo - RCA (1963)

Marinês E Sua Gente - Sanharô (tambô) from compacto duplo - RCA (1963)

This particular compacto duplo (meaning double compact or EP) was released in 1963. Marinês, looking as striking as ever, is in the center. The fellow playing accordion is Abdias, who later when on to head up CBS A&R for forró and took Marinês with him. The 4 songs originated on the Marinês E Sua Gente LP, Coisas Do NorteThis particular RCA Victor compacto duplo (a double compact single commonly called an EP in the US and UK) contained no exclusive material, but the sported a nifty, unique picture sleeve.

Marinês E Sua Gente - compacto duplo - RCA (1960s)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Moura Junior / Jr. - Pau De Arara & Oricuri (Segrêdo Do Sertanejo) - Copacabana compacto (1963 or 1964)

This was a nice surprise. I did not realize that Moura Junior recorded for labels other than Philips. This compacto is intriguing. Oricuri (Segrêdo do Sertanejo) was co-written by João do Vale. Pau De Arara was written by Vinicius De Morais and Carlos Lyra. People familiar with Bossa Nova will know the names well. Although forró artists recorded João do Vale songs (Marinês particularly), I have never heard De Morais and Lyra songs recorded by anyone in the forró scene before.  

The songs on this release may be described as nightclub samba with a bit of Bossa Nova. The sound of Oricuri (Segrêdo do Sertanejo) also harkens back to late 50s albums by Gilvan Chaves and Volta Seca, who mixed storytelling with music. Like Moura Jr., Jackson Do Pandeiro (E Vamos Nós -1964 & Coisas Nossas - 1965) and Ary Lobo (Quem é o Campeão - 1966) also flirted with supper club poshness during this period. This coincided with the time of the military coup from March of 1964. I am uncertain if the musical choices made by these artists was directly influenced by the political problems in Brazil or if Lobo, Jackson and Moura Jr. were trying to diversify their repertoire to appeal to a wider audience. 

My record is a little crispier than usual, but like all compactos, this one only turns up once in a blue moon and is worth the extra effort for preservation and sharing. Thank you Samuel for the image of the rare picture sleeve.

Moura Junior / Jr. - Oricuri (Segrêdo Do Sertanejo) - Copacabana compacto (1963 or 1964)

Moura Junior / Jr. - Pau De Arara - Copacabana compacto (1963 or 1964)

Moura Junior - Oricuri (Segrêdo Do Sertanejo) rare Copacabana picture sleeve - image by Samuel Rodrigues Nascimento
Moura Junior (Jr.) - Oricuri (Segrêdo Do Sertanejo) - Copacabana Compacto 
Moura Junior (Jr.) - Pau De Arara - Copacabana Compacto

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Azulão de Caruarú - Esperando Só from Vaqueiro Varão - Esquema (1979)

Like Trio Nordestino, there are two noteworthy Azulãos: Azulão da Bahia and Azulão de Caruarú. The Azulão in this post is from Caruarú and was featured in the forró documentary in my previous post: Rare Forró Documentary in English & Portuguese - Luiz Gonzaga, Azulão & Jackson Do Pandeiro

Several musical forms melded with forró in the 1970s: Carimbo, Funk and Disco. These were natural crossovers, since each was a type of dance music. Esperando Só is a catchy number with distinctive, squishy, funky electric bass. One of the first artists to use the electric bass in a forró recording was Luiz Gonzaga in O Folé Roncou in 1973. If Luiz Gonzaga did something, it was like a blessing from the Pope. As the 70s progressed, rock and soul instrumentation gradually became more common in forró. 

According to onordeste, Azulão de Caruarú was born in 1942. Musicaria Brasil claims that his first appearance on disc was the compilation called Forró Do Zé Do Gato in 1964, which I will eventually feature on this blog. It should be noted that the history of forró is constantly being rewritten, because new discs are discovered and discographies are populated. Compactos seem to come out of the woodwork all the time. Azulão began recording full length albums in 1975 and has a healthy back catalog. 

It is difficult to find biographies or current, reliable information about most forró artists, including Azulão. Many do not have their own promotional sites. dictionariompb is the finest resource I have found. According to their website, dictionariompb was created in 1995 by Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), through the Department of Arts and Livraria Francisco Alves Editora, and with the technical support of IES - Computer and Systems Engineering. This is one of the few resources dedicated to academic cataloging of popular music in Brazil.

Azulão de Caruarú - Esperando Só from Vaqueiro Varão - Esquema (1979) 

Azulão - Esperando Só from Vaqueiro Varão - Esquema (1979) 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Por Amor ao Forró (For the love of Forró) - forró documentary with English subtitles

I stumbled onto this documentary about forró today. The interviews and explanations are excellent. If you are looking for an introduction to the rhythmic styles within forró, how the music is played, the history and how it is regarded by contemporary players, this is a great place to start. English speaking gringos are fortunate as well. The subtitles are fabulous. Check out 6:25 for a demonstration of the various beats in forró music. 

Por Amor ao Forró (For the love of Forró) - forró documentary with English subtitles

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rare Forró Documentary in English & Portuguese - Luiz Gonzaga, Azulão & Jackson Do Pandeiro

Thanks to Fabio Nettekoven, I was lucky enough to snag a short video about forró from a Brazilian music documentary that originally aired on the BBC 4, featuring Luiz Gonzaga from later life, Azulão and Jackson do Pandeiro, along with interviews with Siba, Azulão, DJ Dolores and Paulo Andre Pires. They do a pretty good job capturing the setting and describing the meaning of forró to the people of the Northeast.  

Siba says that Luiz Gonzaga is like Bob Marley. I find this analogy problematic. One, Bob Marley was an international superstar who carried the sound of reggae to a mainstream audience in multiple countries. Although Gonzaga was a massive star and cultural icon in Brazil, forró has never reached an international mainstream audience. Of all of the interviewees, Paulo Andre Pires' observations are the most accurate. If anything, Carmen Miranda is more like Bob Marley. They both delivered the cleanest, poppiest versions of their artforms, reggae and samba, to the rest of the world. They both spoke English. Luiz Gonzaga did not. Two, Luiz Gonzaga is credited for creating the genres of baião and forró. Gonzaga created the forró group combo: triangle, accordion, vocals and zabumba. Bob Marley did not invent reggae or the type of band to play it. He only popularized it. That is not to diminish Marley's or Carmen Miranda's contributions, but Luiz Gonzaga almost single-handedly invented their genre of music that is still popular 70 years after he first appeared on the radio. Like I said in my first post on this blog back in 2012 (I might have lifted this from someone, but I don't know who): In terms of influence, Luiz Gonzaga is to Brazil like Alan Lomax, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly are combined in the US. Even my analogy is flawed. 

The other piece that is missing from this documentary is how many other artists there are who have made great and influential recordings other than Gonzaga and Jackson. Azulão, for example, is an accomplished artist in his own right, with a sizable catalog of recordings. In the documentary, Azulão seems like some random dude they pulled out of a house to sing a Gonzaga cover. Since Gonzaga launched the revolution in the 1940s, there have been thousands of forró 78s, LPs, 10"s, compactos, CDs and tapes released in Brazil; perhaps more than 100,000. It is great to start with Jackson and Gonzaga, but if you get interested in forró, those guys are at the peak of one massive iceberg.

Rare Forró Documentary in English & Portuguese - Luiz Gonzaga, Azulão & Jackson Do Pandeiro

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Luiz Vieira - Eu Sou Eu from Em Tempo De Verdade - Copacabana (1971)

This is Luiz Vieira's debut on this Forró LP Gringo. Vieira dipped his toes in multiple Brazilian genres during his recording career, including baião and forró. He gradually moved away from northeastern music as his career progressed. Eu So Eu features Vieira's powerful voice, a forró rhythm with a bit of samba cuíca. The LP, Em Tempo De Verdade, may also be of interest to Tropicalia collectors, because Rógerio Duprat was involved with the arrangements, along with Leo Peracchi, Moacyr Portes and José Briamonte. The majority of the LP features lush, nicely orchestrated ballads. 

Luiz Vieira - Eu Sou Eu from Em Tempo De Verdade - Copacabana (1971) 

Luiz Vieira - Em Tempo De Verdade - Copacabana (1971)