Thursday, October 26, 2006

Zé da Velha & Silverio Pontes

Two of the musicians, who a.o. contributed to the success of the sound-track of Mika Kaurismäki's 'Brasileirinho', are trombonist Zé da Velha and trumpeter Silverio Pontes. The two have teamed and performed together since 1991 when they started a co-work to spread their highly enjoable and danceable renditions of choro and related genres as true masters of the Gafieira tradition in Brazil. Zé da Velha, a member of the old guard, having played with Pixinguinha and other great musicians, provides that trombone sound full of choro swing, drawing the maximum effect from the minimum of notes. Silvério Pontes, 20 years younger, adds a jazz feel to the mix, with his agile melodic inventions.
In 1995 they recorded the album 'Só Gafieira', nominated for the Sharp prize. Their other albums also have been meeting with a lot of praise amongst the aficionados of the genre.
A representative example of their efforts to keep choro and the Gafieira tradition alive and strong is the shown cd from 2001. Tracklist inserted below:
1. Bole-Bole 2. O Bom Filho a Casa Torna 3. Vê Se Gostas 4. Despedida da Mangueira 5. Paciente 6. Revendo O Passado 7. Doce Melodia 8. Tudo Dança 9. Sonhando 10. Pra Machucar Meu Coração 11. Se Você Jurar 12. Vou Deitar E Rolar 13. Rosa
Sound-clips available by clicking here
One of the compositions performed on the cd is 'O Bom Filho a Casa Torna' by Bonfiglio de Oliveira, this tune was also used for the trailer of the 'Brasileirinho' film. We have had a request from one of our readers, if the music has been published as sheet and is available for purchase. Can someone supply info regarding this, please contact us or leave a comment using this blog-facility.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rafael Rabello - Lamentos do Morro

Rafael Rabello (1962-1995) is deservedly considered a virtuoso of the six and seven string guitar. His recorded legacy highligts the development of the guitar choro in Brazil, although Rabello also devoted his talents to other genres of Brazilian music as well. To me he continues the guitar choro tradition from Garoto, and some of his best recordings are his solo renditions of pieces by Garoto.
In 2005 the Acari label released a cd reissue of some recordings by Rabello made in 1988 and first issued in the LP format by the Visom label. Among the recorded tunes are four compositions by Garoto: 'Lamentos do Morro', 'Jorge na Fusa', 'Nosso Choro' and 'Desvairada', all excellent examples of Rabello's virtuosity and personal reading of Garoto's works. The remaining repertoire contains compositions by Pixinguinha/Lacerda ('Ainda me Recordo'), Jacob do Bandolim ('O Vôo da Mosca'), Ernesto Nazareth ('Escovado') and João Pernambuco ('Graúna'), and there is a version of 'Comovida' composed by Guinga, further a co-work by Rabello and Toquinho, 'Pedra do Leme', which features great interplay by Rabello and Chiquinho do Acordeon - also shown off in a duo version of Gnattali's 'Retratos'. On 'Ainda me Recordo' Rabello is accompanied by Dino 7 Cordes, the famous master of the 7-string guitar, the remaining titles have Rabello accompanied by Dininho on string bass.
You may listen to a soundclip of 'Lamentos do Morro' by clicking here
You may also have the opportunity to view a live solo-performance of Rafael Rabello playing 'Lamentos do Morro', click on the link in the headline of this entry or here

Friday, October 13, 2006

Anjos do Inferno

Doing research on possible sources for the Brasilian repertoire of Oscar Alemán I came across the vocal ensemble named ANJOS DO INFERNO, a highly popular group in Brazil during the 1930'ies and 1940'ies. Below I add the info on the career of the ANJOS DO INFERNO supplied by Alvaro Neder in AMS.

"The most famous vocal and instrumental group of the Golden Era of Brazilian song, the Anjos do Inferno were insuperable in their 20-year international career, in terms of rhythm, humor, and bossa. The group was founded in 1934 by singer Oto Alves Borges with the following members: Oto Borges (crooner), Antônio Barbosa (pandeiro), Moacir Bittencourt (violão), Felipe Brasil (violão), José Barbosa (violão tenor), and Milton Campos ("nasal trumpet," the first musician to dedicate himself to that in Brazil). The group opened at Rádio Cajuti and Cruzeiro do Sul, recording for the first time for Columbia ("Morena Complicada" by Kid Pepe, and "Amei Demais" by Kid Pepe and Siqueira Filho), but having no major impact. Returning from a U.S. tour in 1936, singer Leo Vilar assumed the group's direction while Oto Borges dedicated himself exclusively to his activities at the Banco do Brasil. Soon the group was hired for the Cassino Icaraí, where they achieved success. The next recording, still in 1936, was Kid Pepe's "Maria Foi à Fonte." In the same year the Anjos became part of the cast of the Rádio Mayrink Veiga, where they continued until 1938. In that year, Leo Vilar fired the brothers Antônio and José Barbosa, replacing them with Alberto Paes (pandeiro) and Aluísio Ferreira (violão tenor), and substituting Milton Campos for Harry Vasco de Almeida in the "nasal trumpet" position. With that formation the group opened at Rádio Tupi, where they would remain until 1946, performed at the Cassino da Urca, and recorded for Columbia the first album of that phase, with Almanir Grego's march "Tim Tim por Tim Tim" and Alberto Paes/Domício Augusto's samba "Dura Lex sed Lex." But the first hit came with the samba-canção "Bahia, oi, Bahia" (Vicente Paiva/Augusto Mequita). With the success they became Columbia's exclusive artists, and after that they piled hit over hit, including the rumba "Barraco Abandonado" (Afonso Scola/Hermínio Viana), the samba-jongo "Me Ensina a sambar" (Antônio Almeida), the samba "Baiana Boa" (Milton Bittencourt), the samba "Quem Dirá?" (Pandiá Pires/Roberto Martins), the samba "Helena! Helena!" (Antônio Almeida/Secundino Silva), the march "Cowboy do Amor" (Wilson Batista/Roberto Martins), the march "Todo Mundo Dança" (Valdemar Silva/Raul Marques), the samba "Me Deixa Viver" (Bide/Marçal), the march "Quebra Tudo" (João de Barro/Alberto Ribeiro), and the march "Três Marias" (Cristóvão de Alencar/Frazão). They had several other hits, including the second and last Assis Valente samba recorded by the group, "Já que Está Deixa Ficar," and their biggest one, the Dorival Caymmi samba "Você já Foi à Bahia?."
In 1942 the group went through changes, with Hélio Verri replacing Alberto Paes at the pandeiro, Roberto "Paciência" Medeiros taking Moacir Bittencourt's place, and Walther Pinheiro substituting Felipe Brasil. Renato Batista (Marília Batista's brother) replaced Walther Pinheiro for a short while, and when the latter returned to the group it became a septet for some months. Pinheiro is present in the recording of the Dorival Caymmi sambas "Vatapá" and "Rosa Morena." In the next year the group switched to Columbia, where they
recorded the hits "Acontece que eu sou Baiano" and "Vestido de Bolero." In 1944 they were hired by RCA Victor, where they remained until 1952. There they recorded, among many albums, the samba "Que Gostinho Bom" (Marino Pinto/Mário Rossi), the samba "Bolinha de Papel" (Geraldo Pereira), the samba "Diz que Sim, Diz que Não" (Mário Lago), and the march "Cordão dos Puxa-sacos" (Frazão/Roberto Martins). In 1944 they performed in the film Abacaxi Azul. In 1946 they toured through Argentina and Mexico, with José Soares (the Russinho) replacing Hélio Verri. In February 1947 they opened in the biggest Latin American nightclub of those times, El Pateo, in Mexico City. They had been hired for six weeks, but stayed for four years. From Mexico, in 1948, several members emigrated to the U.S. joining the Bando da Lua: Harry Vasco de Almeida, Aluísio Ferreira, Walther Pinheiro, and Russinho. Vilar called other musicians from Brazil to replace them, former members of the Os Namorados: Nanai (violão), Miltinho (at the pandeiro then, he would become famous later as a singer), and Chicão (former Quitandinha Serenaders, violão tenor and tantã). In the new formation, the group toured U.S., performed in Los Angeles together with Carmen Miranda, and kept for two years a radio program about aspects of Brazil. In Mexico, the Anjos do Inferno participated in 11 films, eight of them featuring Ninón Sevilla, a big star then.
In 1951 they returned to Brazil after a tour through Chile and Argentina, hired for the anniversary of Recife's Rádio Jornal do Comércio. The group also came back to Rádio Tupi, spent a season at the Monte Carlo nightclub, and, in São Paulo, performed at Rádio Excelsior and the Oasis nightclub. In 1953 the Anjos had a season at Rio's Rádio Nacional. But the successful tours were troubled by an increase in the price of plane tickets, and, finally, Leo Vilar was forced to dissolve the group. In 1959, especially for Max Nunes, J. Maia, and José Mauro's play De Cabral a JK, Vilar organized a group under the denomination Anjos do Inferno, with he himself as crooner and percussionist, as well as Gaúcho (violão), Paulo César (tantã), and Miguel Ângelo (pandeiro). They also worked as actors in the play, which had a six-month season. This formation recorded some minor albums through Copacabana. In 1967, Walter Pinheiro, Aluísio Ferreira, Roberto Medeiros, Harry Vasco de Almeida, and Russinho got together to play on Mondays at the Arena Clube de Arte in Rio, where they told stories and remembered the old times."
Soundclips from the shown cd by ANJOS DO INFERNO available here
You may also have an opportunity to watch a video clip from one of the films featuring ANJOS DO INFERNO, "Perdida" from 1949, click here for a performance by singer Ninon Sevilla and Os Anjos do Inferno.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oscar Alemán - Brasilian Repertoire

The Argentine guitarist, Oscar Alemán (1909 - 1980), made his debut as a professional musician in Rio de Janeiro 1925 together with the Brasilian Gastón (- or in Portuguese: Gastão) Bueno Lobo, they teamed as a duo named Les Loups. They toured a great part of Brazil and at one point they were engaged by the Argentine comedian Pablo Palitos, who brought Les Loups to Buenos Aires, where the duo soon found work at theatres, radio and as recording artists for the prestigious Victor label. Les Loups were billed as Dúo de guitarras Hawaianas, wearing white suit and flower gown at performances, and the Hawaiian issue - a fashion of the time all over America and other parts of the world, including Europe - also was to be heard in the performances by the duo. Both Alemán and Lobo played guitars, but Lobo would treat the instrument in the Hawaiian mode, playing slide with a steel bar, while Alemán would accompany him in a conventional way of playing, adding elaborate counterpoint statements and rhythm to the sessions. The repertoire of the duo, however, was not typical Hawaiian - Les Loups excelled in tangos, waltzes and fox popular at the time. The duo had success with the Argentine public, and as mentioned Les Loups
recorded for the Victor label in Buenos Aires - they cut 16 sides as a duo from 1927-1929 and joined violinist Elvino Vardaro in 1929 on a couple of sessions, billed as the Trio Victor.
For more info on Les Loups discography, click here
In 1929 Les Loups went to Europe on tour with Harry Flemming's revue company, hired as a part of the show. The tour started in Portugal and Spain and brought Les Loups through several European countries the next couple of years, where they continued performing as a Hawaiian duo. Early 1931, however, the duo quit Flemming's company in Spain, and soon after Les Loups would part, too. Lobo went back to Brazil and continued his career at radio and as a recording artist until his passing away in 1939. Alemán stayed in Europe throughout the 1930'ies and made his success with Josephine Baker and frequently took part in the jazz scene of Paris, this way learning to improvise and harmonize as a jazz guitar player. He participated as a sideman in several recording sessions in Paris and also had the opportunity to make a couple of solo recordings 1938 in Copenhagen.
For more info on Alemán's European jazz recordings, click here
When Hitler's German troups occupied France in 1940, Alemán decided and managed to return to Argentina, settled in Buenos Aires and soon launched a career as a bandleader of his own group. He formated his first quintet late 1940 and started recording for the Odeon label in November 1941, cut 10 sides within this setting 1941 - 1942. In 1943 the quintet was re-organized with new members, a piano player was added - the quintet thus becoming a sextet, although the group was still labeled as Oscar Alemán y su quinteto de Swing. With this group Alemán continued recording for Odeon and cut 36 sides between 1943 and 1947. In 1949 Alemán disbanded his quintet, but in 1951 he started a new group consisting of three violins, rhythm, clarinet and the leader's guitar. With this group, which Alemán kept without many changes of personnel until disbanding in 1959, he recorded around 50 sides between 1951 - 1957, always for the Odeon label.
When browsing through Alemán's output from Odeon 1941-1957 it's easily seen that 2/3 of the repertoire includes popular swing tunes of the time, mostly American but also a few originals by Alemán. However, the remaining 1/3 of the repertoire is devoted to music by Brasilian composers or genres connected with the Brasilian music tradition: samba, choro, baião, batuque i.e.. - In 2002 EMI of Argentina released a cd compilation of Alemán's Brasilian repertoire (EMI 541686), which I recommend as a resonable example of his mastering of different Brasilian music styles. Tracklist and additional info inserted below, for further info use the online search facility featured in the Alemán web discography, click here
1) VANIDOSA (Herivelta Martins - Arthur Moraes) - Samba (25 Jan. 1947) 2) MELANCOLIA (Vicente Catton) - Samba (10 Sep. 1945) 3) CASITA PEQUEÑITA (Traditional) - Samba (6 June 1952) 4) AY MORENA (Alfas - Alburquerque) - Samba (7 April 1953) 5) PE DE MANACA (Herve Cordovil - Mariza Pinto Coelho) - Baiao (11 July 1951) 6) PAJARO ENJAULADO (Herve Cordovil - Mario Vieira) - Baión (16 May 1952) 7) PA-PA-PA (Oscar Alemán) - Baión (17 Sep. 1952) 8) MI AMIGO (José Romero (Guarana) - Oscar Alemán) - Samba (12 Nov. 1954) 9) YO SOY DE RIO (Yacaré - Pagua) - Samba (11 April 1955) 10)CONCEICAO (Jair Amorin - Dunga) - Samba (17 June 1957) 11)DELICADO (Waldir Azevedo) - Baión (31 Oct. 1951) 12)O VESTIDO DE BOLERO (Dorival Caymmi) - Baión (4 Dec. 1945) 13)YO VI UN LEON (Maia) - Samba (27 June 1944) 14)NEGRA DE CABELLO DURO (Rubens Soares - David Nasser) - Batuque (7 Sep. 1943) 15)TICO TICO NO FUBA (Abreu) - Choro (7 Sep. 1943) 16)APANHEI TE CAVAQUINHO (Ernesto Nazareth) - Chorinho (24 July 1945) 17)SAUDADES (Alfredo De Siano) - Batucada (29 Sep. 1952) 18)CABEZA HINCHADA (Hervé Cordovil) - Baiao (16 May 1951) 19)DEDOS DUROS (Alemán) - Choro (17 June 1957) 20)ACONTECE QUE EU SOY BAHIANO (Dorival Caymmi) - Samba (14 Sep. 1956)

All titles recorded in Buenos Aires for the Odeon label


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Joao Pernambuco

Joao Texeira de Guimaräes, known as Joao Pernambuco is one of those unknown composers who are famous in Brazilian music.

He was born in 1883 an died 1947.

He was not only a great composer; he also played guitar in the choro style. He had a great guitar technique, which inspired a lot of other guitar players. He teached his style of playing to his students.

People who have seen him playing remember the way he used to play the instrument: He often played the guitar only with his left hand, which is to say, he made the sounds only on the neck of the guitar. He did this with the greatest naturalness.

He played whatever piece looking towards the sky, towards a wall, not paying attention to the neck of the guitar. He had a fingering and quality that untiul today I have not seen. ( source: Choro - Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour-Thomas George Caracas Garcia (2005))

Thanks to Jørgen I could listen to some great 80 years old recordings of Joao Pernambuco on guitar which fascinated me ( Mimoso - Lagrimas and Magoada.)

Thanks Jo.

Jørgen posted a blog about this great Brazilian composer. Find it by clicking on the title bar.

This blog is also posted at the Keep swinging blog

Monday, October 02, 2006


Just a short notice this time to say thank you to the visitors of our Choro blog for your support and encouraging comments regarding the 50th entry. Both Hans and I will continue to post messages on choro and choro related music as long as we are able to contribute with info of interest to our readers.
Let me also use the opportunity to express our deepest sympathy with the families, relatives and friends in Brazil, who have had a loss following the disaterous aircrash of a Boeing 737 on Friday the 29th of September. Our thoughts and compassion are with you.