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The Sensuous Beauty Of The Brasilian Voice



How sweet are Brasilian voices to the ear. How sweet they are to heart and soul. It’s not as if the voices of vocalists who sing in other languages are not beckoning but there is something special of men and women who sing of alegria and with saudades. This music conjures up the welcome of a people who sing and dance even the blues away. At their sublime best, Brasilian voices, these three young ladies in particular have made recordings which are so singular that comparisons with other similar performances of music in this vein are simply not as relevant. So much of this music – by Amália Baraona, Tamy Caieira and Cissa Paz – has evolved into something that follows its own expressive rules that may be solidly based on private, almost secret feelings, that it would seem as if the joy and longing is transferred into the listeners’ hearts and minds.

The music of Amália Baraona, Tamy Caieira and Cissa Paz – albeit the fact that some of it is not their own – has more than an exterior sheen. In actuality all of the lyrics and their narratives have been taken to heart by these three vocalists. Internalising everything the music sprouts forth with an attractive soft-focus quality rare in much vocal music in today’s predominantly in-your-face-vocals. None of the music remains under the bushel. It is all put out there in a gentle, sometimes urgent manner. For the musically curious with time on their hands, as well as a penchant for superb Brasilian vocal music, these three recordings are a celebration of Carioca and Paulista music, a fine celebration of Brasilian natural phenomena and should prove to be an intriguing and satisfying acquisition.

Brasilian Voices – Amália Baraona: 3 Mundus
Amália Baraona - Photographer unknown

Amália Baraona – Photographer unknown

This Portuguese-born, Brasilian-bred vocalist has already given us her tribute to the women of great Brasilian composers such as Chico Buarque, Mulheres {fo(u)r, 2010} and her tribute to a mentor, Roberto Menescal, Menescantando (numerica, 2012). But now it seems her time has come to express her deepest feelings and she runs the gauntlet of classic Brasilian fare in her very own personal and distinctive manner. This means making each piece absolutely her own as she emotes in her beautiful contralto. She copes with each offering with every technical challenge of this fantastically deep music. Ms. Baraona casts aside her inhibitions and stretches every vocal part, her ensemble comprising guitarists, bassist and percussionists who follow her with luscious harmonies, throwing in clusters and single not lines, hissing of strings, glissandos and bell-like harmonics for good measure.

Amalia Baraona 3 Mundus 2Each song is like a perfectly cut, gleaming gem. Ms. Baraona may seem sing them straight, but also imbues every lyrical line with delicious Ravel-like bouncing energy about them. Everything from Carlos Lyra and Vinicius de Moraes’ Primavera to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Luiza and Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Bôscoli’s Errinho á Toa is emboldened by providing an extra timbral voice ramped up in emotional intensity that ascends towards giddying heights. This music may have been written for the sopranos of some women and the tenors of others but Ms. Baraona has chosen to sing them in her dusky contralto, claiming the high ground with her timbre as once powerful and tender. This reflects a wish to restore all the liveliness and mellow lyricism, and the vivacity of these miniature dramas. I will forever love her subtle textural balance and consistent aesthetic achieved at the top of every song as she guides us through a richly rewarding experience.

Track List: Primavera; Samba da Volta; Maria Ninguém; Inquietação; Faceira; Como Dizia o Poeta; Modinha (Serasta n. 5); Feitio de Oração; Correnteza; O Que Será (A Flor de Pele); Luiza; Errinho á Toa.

Personnel: Amália Baraona: voice; Petrit Çeku: guitar (1, 2, 7 & 8); Toni Kitanovski: guitar (2, 3, 5, 6, 9 11 &13), percussion (3); Dinko Stipani?ev: guitar (2, 4, 6, 10 & 13), double bass (1, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12 & 13), cavaquinho (7). Percussion (9); Gent Rushi: accordion (1, 4, 9, 10 & 12).

Label: fo(u)r records
Release date: August 2015
Running time: 48:00
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Pages: 1 2 3

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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