Monday, April 23, 2007

Bene Nuñes

A week ago Jerry contacted me with the request for information about a Brazilian musician his parents had on an old 45 rpm EP from the 1950s. The title of the record is Brasil Nouvelle Vague as played by Bene Nuñes, Aloysio De Oliveira and Elza Soares; three representatives of a new generation in Brazilian music, as the title suggests. His request for information concentrates on Bene Nuñes.

Bene Nuñes was a Brazilian piano player and movie star. He was born in 1920 in Rio de Janeiro. When he was seven years old he performed for the first time in the Radio Cajuti program titled Hora Infantil. He played, surprised by everybody, the tune Pé de anjo and was asked to be a regular guest for the next half year. In 1945 he became part of the Milionários do Ritmo, a band of Djalma Ferreira. He also started to play in films.
In 1951 he recorded for the Continental label some choros, titled Moleque Tumba and Gostosinho. During the 1950s he played in films and recorded several hits. Late 1950s he formed an orchestra, featuring Carlos Lyra and Luiz Reis. How popular he was in those days illustrates the fact that he was often invited to play the piano for the Brazilian president of those days Juscelino Kubistchek at balls in the Palácio do Catete, the residence of the president. Bene and his wife Dulce became the great performers of the Bossa Nova movement, with great followers like Joao Gilberto, Luis Bonfa, Bola Sete and Oscar Castro Neves to name some. During the 1970s and 1980s they became sought after accompanists in this style. Bene Nuñes passed away in 1997 in Rio de Janeiro.
The parents of Jerry bought this little record when they were young adults. Jerry still has a copy of it. It reminds him of his youth, when his parents played the record on their little gramophone, that had to be amplified by their radio in the living room.
Some people believe that music is only interesting, or has certain value if it is made by living musicians - recordings are only interesting to keep a remembrance to a certain concert or performance. When a musician has passed away the music is gone; it can never created again; the music on the records is of no value. I think those people pass over the fact that sounds, or smells or colours can appeal to certain events long ago. When I smell parsley it reminds me being an young child in my grandmother's garden in Wolphaartsdijk ( southwest part of the Netherlands) and when I hear a gramophone sung and played by musicians like Eddy Christiani,Tom Manders ( as Dorus a famous 1960s Dutch TV personality á la Charles Chaplin ) or music played by Cor Steyn on his magic organ it reminds me to our stays in Rotterdam at my uncle's house.
Jerry shared some great informal snapshots from the early 1960s from his father and mother, probably engaged or just married, at their apartement in Amsterdam playing this Brasil Nouvelle Vague record; the cover is to be seen laying on the table. Thanks Jerry for sharing these great pictures.

I found a fragment of Bene Nuñes playing the piano in one of his early 1950s films. I hope you like it.

This contribution is also posted at the Keepswinging web log.
Keep swinging
Hans Koert


Blogger Jo said...

Thank you, Hans, for this contribution on Bene Nunés, a Brazilian piano player I didn't know, as his career seems to follow the bossa nova years of MPB in Brazil. Anyway, thanks also for sharing the video, your sober thoughts on collecting records and the great pictures supplied by Jerry.


23 April, 2007  

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