Invitation to the dance, Pt. 1
Paulo Mouras gafieira romp.
Daniella Thompson19 March 2004
The old dance hall isnt dead. Anyone who has watched the Mexican film Danzón can attest to the spellbinding attraction of those old-fashioned spaces where entwined sweaty couples sway sinuously for hours.
Brazils dance hall, the gafieira, is closely allied to choro. The countrys greatest choro musicians, from Pixinguinha to Luiz Americano, regularly played in these venues, for couples to dance.
The great clarinetist (and at other times saxophonist) Paulo Moura continues this tradition in his latest disc, Estação Leopoldina. The CDs title (much like Guingas Suíte Leopoldina) alludes to the Rio working-class suburbs, cradle of choro and pagode.
Moura, who in the 1980s grew dissatisfied with his jazz-oriented repertoire, moved from the southern bairro of Botafogo to the northern suburb of Ramos. His new house was just in front of the quadra of the samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense, and the famous carnaval bloco Cacique de Ramos was nearby. Beth Carvalho, with whom Moura worked at that time, introduced him to roots samba, as well as to the new pagode movement then being born in Ramos.
From Ramos, Moura borrowed the typical pagode percussion instruments, such as the tantan and the repique-de-mão. But pagode is a sung medium, and a wholly instrumental album needed a companion voice for the clarinet. Moura settled on the accordion, remembering the accordion-clarinet duets that Orlando Silveira and Luiz Americano used to played on the radio of his youth.
Enter accordionist Chico Chagas, who adds rhythmic texture to most of the tracks and contributes his own composition on track nine.
Opening the disc with a flourish is Mouras Estação Leopoldina, a traditional gafieira tune that urges any listener to jump up and dance (even if s/he doesnt know how). Fibra introduces a measure of contemporary chutzpah to the proceedings. The choro classics are represented by three Jacob do Bandolim tunes and one by Radamés Gnattali. Baden Powells Deve Ser Amor is turned into a sensual Latin dance-hall number, while João Donatos Bananeira receives an adventurous opening that blends Yiddish-like guitar trills with remote cuíca howls.
Among the more recent compositions, Rodrigo Lessas Rala Coxa carries a strong klezmer flavor, while Rodrigo Campellos Oritimbó (buttocks) is evocative of Brazils northeast. Among these and other colorfully rhythmic tunes, Mouras waltz Linda offers a lovely change of pace. And traditional samba isnt left out: a medley of golden classics allows the dancers to take a break and sing along.
Also worth a listen:
Gafieira Dance Brasil with Paulo Moura and pianist Cliff Korman.
Paulo Moura: Estação Leopoldina
(Rádio MEC RM015/Rob Digital; 2003) 66:19 min.
01. Estação Leopoldina (Paulo Moura/Almazor Cavalcante)
02. Fibra (Eloir Moraes/Paulo Moura)
03. Simplicidade (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)
04. Nosso Romance (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)
05. Deve Ser Amor (Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes)
06. Bananeira (João Donato/Gilberto Gil)
07. Rala Coxa (Rodrigo Lessa)
08. Oritimbó (Rodrigo Campello)
09. Pro Paulo (Chico Chagas)
10. Maré Cheia (Paulo Moura/Jorge Degas)
11. Linda (Paulo Moura)
12. Remexendo (Radamés Gnattali)
Ai, que Saudade da Amélia (Ataulfo Alves/Mário Lago)
Trem das Onze (Adoniran Barbosa)
Prêmio de Consolação (Jayme Meira Florence/Augusto Mesquita)
Leva Meu Samba (Ataulfo Alves)
14. Receita de Samba (Jacob Pick Bittencourt)
Paulo Moura: clarinet
Carlinhos 7 Cordas: guitar
Chico Chagas: accordion (tracks 110, 1214) & piano (11)
Laudir Oliveira: percussion (1, 2, 47) & tumbadora (3, 13)
Márcio Almeida: cavaquinho (110, 1214)
Marcos Esguleba: percussion (17, 10, 12) & pandeiro (3)
Paulinho Balck: drums (16, 9, 1214)
Marcos Zama: percussion (8, 9, 10)
Rodrigo Lessa: bandolim (4, 7, 13)
Musical Direction: Paulo Moura
Musical Production: Alex Meireles
Arrangements: Paulo Moura (18, 1014), with Alex Meireles (2, 3, 6, 8, 10); Chico Chagas (9)
Copyright © 20042008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.