Thursday, June 22, 2006

Waldir Azevedo - The Composer of "Brasileirinho"

Waldir Azevedo (27-01 1923 - 21-09 1980) is deservedly called a master of the cavaquinho, the small 4-string guitar of Portuguese origin, but essential in the Brazilian choro tradition. He was a pioneer in exploring the cavaquinho as a solo instrument, composed more than 130 pieces and made numerous recordings. Azevedo's work as a soloist helped making the cavaquinho a respectable and important solo voice in choro, much in the same way as Jacob do Bandolim did according the Brazilian mandolin (bandolim). Outside Brazil Azevedo today is mostly remembered for his world-famous hits, the compositions of "Brasileirinho" and "Delicado", recorded by numerous orchestras, groups and solists worldwide besides more times by Azevedo himself.

Alvaro Neder writes a career profile of Azevedo in AMG: "Azevedo's first instrument was the flute, at age seven. Soon he also learned mandolin and then cavaquinho. Learning the six- and seven-string violões (acoustic guitars), he performed in public for the first time on the flute, in 1933. His wish was to become an aviator, but his cardiac condition impeded it. Singing and playing the tenor violão he joined the group Águias de Prata, which performed at the Copacabana Palace and recorded an album for Victor. Meanwhile, he was employed at Light Company. As Dilermando Reis needed a cavaquinho player for his regional, Azevedo was auditioned at Rádio Clube right in the middle of his honeymoon and got the job, holding the position for two years. In 1947, Reis departed for his solo career and Azevedo took the leadership of the regional. He accompanied hundreds of artists, from novice to star, and began to draw the attention of the listeners towards his own compositions. As the recording company Continental was in the same building, he was invited to record his piece "Brasileirinho," after several radio performances. The invitation coincided with the departure of Jacob do Bandolim, his biggest rival, from Continental to RCA Victor. "Brasileirinho," released in December [1949], was a huge success from the start. The '50s also were productive for Azevedo, who recorded other big hits like the baião "Delicado," the choro "Pedacinhos do Céu," "Chiquita," and "Vê se Gostas," among others. Azevedo toured South America and Europe for 11 years, including two tours sponsored by the Brazilian diplomatic service Itamarati, the Caravanas da Música Brasileira. In London, England, he appeared in a BBC show broadcast to 52 countries. In 1964, a car accident killed his daughter, which pushed him into a dark period of depression. In 1967 he learned to read and write music. In 1971, living in Brasília DF, he suffered an accident in which he almost lost his third finger and had to abandon music for one and a half years. After several surgeries, he returned to live performance in 1974, at the Clube do Choro of Brasília. Enjoying the choro revival of the '70s, Azevedo soon began to record again and to perform in TV shows."
You may listen to Ademilde Fonseca's vocal rendition of "Brasileirinho" by clicking here



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