Expatriates, Pt. 3
Celia Malheiros evokes the spirits of tradition
in a thoroughly modern creation.
Daniella Thompson9 May 2002
Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and singer, Celia Malheiros has been calling the San Francisco Bay Area home for twenty years. Nonetheless, her spiritual home continues to be Brazil, whose rhythms and nuances fill her debut disc, Sempre Crescendo.
As the album title indicates, Celia is an explorer, and she selected the best guides for her musical adventure: Cartola, Tom Jobim, and Hermeto Pascoal. The latter even makes two appearances in the disc, as does a select group of top instrumentalists.
Cartola is the dedicatee of the beautiful opening samba, a hymn to love inventively arranged by Ignéz Perdigão for piano (João Rebouças), guitar & cavaco (Perdigão), flute (Marcelo Bernardes), fluegelhorn (Nelson Oliveira), trombone (Serginho de Jesus), bass (Jorge Helder), drums (Wilson das Neves), pandeiro, tamborim & cuíca (Marcos Suzano), repique de anel & surdo (Trambique). Theres a tip of the hat to Ary Barrosos Na Baixa do Sapateiro in the opening strains.
[...] Quem do amor fugiu, hoje anda triste e vive só. [...]
[...] Se o amor é uma prisão
E você me trancou, por favor
Jogue a chave no mar.
Yemanjá, Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea, receives her due in an upbeat samba-louvação that is a paean to all womankind. Celias arrangement includes her own singing and spoken words, a vocal sextet, and instrumentation similar to the one in Ao Mestre Cartola, with an additional clarinet (Marcelo Bernardes), Celsinho Silva on atabaques, pandeiro & agogô, and Mestre Caboclinho on atabaques, agogô, and a wonderful candomblé-style vocal at the conclusion. /P>
[...] As conchas ecoam o teu eterno cantar
Que ressoa por todo o universo
Onde a dança cósmica é livre e sensual
Como tu, rainha, soberana, Yemanjá.
The gentle bossa nova Soul Longing is dedicated to Tom Jobim. The title, an English rendering of saudade, finds the echo so long in the lyrics, which use nature imagery to parallel emotional states:
[...] Like the rain that falls tonight
Changing sadness into "arte"
Dancing thoughts floating together
We rise above the stormy weather.
Praia introduces an indolent Caribbean beat, carried by the vocal chorus, acoustic and electric guitars (Celia and José Neto, respectively), clarinet (Marcelo Bernardes), bass (Kai Eckhardt), and Suzanos percussion, which utilizes pandeiro, cajón, castalhas, and seashells.
Hermeto Pascoal joins Celia for Sempre Crescendo com o Mestre in a remarkable vocalese/piano duet that is pure musical exploration, wafting the listener from the lyrical to the atonal and back in seven and a half minutes.
The master returns for an encore in the frevo Fremeto, arranged by his disciple Jovino Santos Neto. Hermeto plays melodica, accompanied by his longtime group members Itiberê Zwarg (bass) and Márcio Bahia (drums & percussion), who are bolstered by piano (Marcos Nimrichter), trumpet (Nelson Oliveira), trombone (Serginho de Jesus), alto sax (Macaé), and tenor sax (Marcelo Bernardes).
Two other noteworthy instrumentals are Amazon and Woman Being. The former is a rich tropical tapestry woven by Jovino and embroidered by Celias vocalese and Tony Cormans flute. The latter is a showcase for Celias array of talents, as she plays berimbau, harmonium, cavaco, pandeiro, moringa, baya, triangle, and ganzá; vocalizes in Indian style; and waves us off with a well-deserved chuckle.
Listen to audio samples.
Celia Malheiros: Sempre Crescendo
(Sempre Crescendo Music; 2001) 46:01 min.
All compositions by Celia Malheiros
01. Ao Mestre Cartola
04. Soul Longing
06. Sempre Crescendo com o Mestre
08. Crashing Waves
09. Rio Sidewalk
10. Woman Being
Copyright © 20022008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.