:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


 

Invitation to the dance, Pt. 2

Chalana de Prata navigates the Pantanal.

Daniella Thompson

19 April 2004


Chalana de Prata

Situated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul on the borders of Bolivia and Paraguay, and connected to Argentina by way of the Prata Basin, the Pantanal shares various social and cultural customs, figures and accents of speech, and musical rhythms with its neighboring Spanish-speaking countries.

The Chamamé, for example, is an Argentine dance that has found a home in Brazil. The guarânia crossed the border from Paraguay, while the polka is a European import popularized throughout the Prata Basin. They all coexist happily with typical local rhythms such as the cururu, the siriri, and the rasqueado, and with country rhythms such as the xote (also of European origins), which can be found all over Brazil.

Chalana de Prata is a musical group dedicated to spreading the Pantanal traditions. Composed of four well-known solo artists, the group includes the famous accordionist Dino Rocha, “King of the Chamamé”; guitarist and singer Guilherme Rondon; lead singer and bassist Celito Espíndola; and Paulo Simões, who plays 10-string viola and sings.

Chalana is a boat of the type that sails on the rivers of the Prata Basin. It’s also the title of a famous song by Arlindo Pinto and Mário Zan that the group performs on this disc, along with the bandmembers’ own compositions.

What unites all the tracks is a danceable joie de vivre that is an authentic regional expression. Among the delightful songs found here is the opening tune, “Prazer de Fazendeiro,” a manifesto for cowboy indolence in the same way that Wilson Batista’s “Lenço no Pescoço” was one for the malandro way of life:

O maior prazer na vida
Já estou acostumado
Abraçar moça bonita
E dançar um rasquado

Carregar dinheiro aos maços
E viver sempre folgado
Lenço branco no pescoço
Trinta e oito niquelado
[...]

Equally enticing is the penultimate track, “Chamamé Comanda,” which observes that even if you can’t dance the chamamé, it wouldn’t be hard to become addicted:

Quem não souber dançar
Pode se acomodar na varandá
Saiba que nesse baile
O chamamé comanda

Mas se você tentar
Pode se acostumar a mudança
E até se viciar
Com essa nossa dança
[...]

Listen to audio samples of all the tracks.


Chalana de Prata: Chalana de Prata
(Independent; 1998) 43:23 min.

Produced by André Magalhães

01. Prazer de Fazendeiro (Delio/Delinha)
02. Quero Quero (Celito Espíndola/Dino Rocha/Paulo Simões)
03. A Chalana (Mário Zan/Arlindo Pinto)
04. Morena que Vale a Pena (Celito Espíndola/Paulo Simões)
05. Invernada (Almir Sater/Guilherme Rondon/Paulo Simões)
06. Fazendeiro Rico (adaptação: Tavinho Moura)
07. Curupi (Dino Rocha)
08. Trem do Pantanal (Geraldo Roca/Paulo Simões)
09. Última Boiada (Guilherme Rondon/Paulo Simões)
10. As Mocinhas da Cidade (Nhô Belarmino)
11. Chamamé Comanda (Guilherme Rondon/Paulo Simões)
12. Baile Pantaneiro (Dino Rocha)

 


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