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


Life after mom and dad

In the wake of their parents’ deaths, Nana and Dori Caymmi
continue to do what they do best.

Daniella Thompson

26 August 2009

Dori, Nana & Danilo Caymmi performing “Só Louco” in a Som Brasil
TV special honoring their father, December 2008

Now in their 60s, the three children of Dorival and Stella Caymmi are all well-known musicians, each in his or her own domain. The eldest, Nana Caymmi, is Brazil’s foremost romantic vocalist. The middle sibling, Los Angeles-based Dori Caymmi, has carved out an international career as songwriter, arranger, and singer-guitarist. The caçula, Danilo Caymmi, plays flute, composes, and sings.

Two years ago, Nana released the album Quem Inventou o Amor, with a repertoire of romantic songs by her father. Dori, however, has not had a new record in several years. Now there are two almost simultaneous releases by these siblings. Hers issued in Brazil, his in the U.S., the CDs bear the unmistakable signatures of these mature artists. Both albums are dedicated to the memory of Dorival and Stella Caymmi, who died eleven days apart last year. Nana’s dedication is particularly moving: “Mom and Dad, I sang for you.”

Dori arranged and plays guitar on both albums, yet Nana’s album is quintessentially feminine, while Dori’s is very masculine (without exception, his guest vocalists are male, too). Therefore it’s particularly interesting to listen to the songs that appear in both records.

Nana’s title song, “Sem Poupar Coração,” was composed by Dori and his number-one lyricist, Paulo Cesar Pinheiro. The lyrics paint an all-or-nothing approach to love: “I don’t want to hear again those who say that love is only for happiness. Anguish or peace, pleasure or pain, what I want is to die of love. I want to love too much, without sparing the heart, because for me love that pleases is a crazy passion; love satisfies only when it goes beyond reason.”

Não quero mais
Ouvir quem diz
Que o amor é só
Pra ser feliz
Angústia ou paz
Prazer ou dor
Eu quero é mais
Morrer de amor

Eu quero amar demais
Sem poupar coração
Que pra mim o amor que apraz
É uma louca paixão
Um amor só satisfaz
Além da razão

Dori sings the same song with a very similar arrangement (piano, guitar, and rhythm, although Nana’s recording also includes sax and flutes) in his new album, Inner World. Retitled “Someone,” the song bears English lyrics by Tracy Mann, who puts a more prosaic spin on the narrative.

Someone who’s kind
Someone who knows
What makes me hurt
When to go slow

You know the words
Before I speak
You know the dreams
Haunting my sleep

And for the gift of years that you loved me so well
And for all of the times you were there when I fell
For the sweet and sour days
That I put you through

The lyrical arrangement and Dori’s tender baritone interpretation pull the song through. In Nana’s case, of course, no pulling through is required. The song was tailor-made for her voice and sensibility, and will go down in history as one of her indelible creations.

Another song that appears in both albums—this time without translation—is “Fora de Hora,” with lyrics by Chico Buarque. Nana’s recording features an arrangement for the cream of Brazil’s instrumentalists: Itamar Assiere (piano), Sergio Barroso (bass), Jurim Moreira (drums), Dom Chacal (percussion), Gabriel Grossi (harmonica), and Ricardo Silveira (electric guitar). Dori’s is stripped down to voice and piano. As heart-rending as the harmonica behind Nana is, Dori’s sotto-voce, dusky interpretation conveys the mood more effectively than his sister’s higher-register singing.

A point scored by each.

The rest of Nana’s album is populated by the type of songs she does best. One of her specialties is interpreting boleros. Although the bolero is not a native Brazilian genre, Nana has made it her own. “Contradições,” “Bons Momentos,” “Dúvida,” and “Não Se Esqueça de Mim” are outstanding examples included here.

Sem Poupar Coração is a heartening reminder that women composers, often overlooked in Brazilian records, are superb song crafters. The album includes five songs by women: Simone Guimarães’ yearning “Confissão,” full of complex music and lyrics (Dori sings backup); Fátima Guedes’ gorgeous “Pra Quem Ama Demais”; the samba “Diamante Rubi” by Danilo’s daughter, Alice; Rosa Passos’ lovely “Esmeraldas”; and Sueli Costa’s classic (co-authored with the eternal PCP) “Violão.”

Also noteworthy is another PCP song (this time co-authored by Guinga). “Senhorinha” has received fine interpretations by the likes of Zezé Gonzaga, Mônica Salmaso, and the composer himself. Yet Nana Caymmi’s may be considered a definitive rendition.

All the songs in Dori’s Inner World are his own compositions. In addition to his guitar, the instrumental roster includes Bill Cantos (piano); Abraham Laboriel, Sizão Machado, and Jerry Watts (bass); Paulinho da Costa (percussion); Mike Shapiro (drums); Gary Meek (flute); Scott Mayo (soprano & alto sax); Ben Wendel (bassoon); and Ramon Stagnaro (guitar). The flavor is light jazz, and Dori’s understated yet rich baritone is well-suited to this style. I’ll confess to a prejudice against the English lyrics—not because Dori doesn’t sing them well (he does) but because they stand no chance next to the far more interesting and musical Portuguese verse. In any case, words receive only minor consideration in Inner World, judging by the absence of printed lyrics in the record sleeve. You’ll have to download them from the label’s website.

Standouts in Inner World (listen to samples) are the upbeat carnaval-themed “Chutando Lata” (a duet with Edu Lobo); the melodious sea song “Quebra-Mar” (a duet with Renato Braz), an homage to Dorival Caymmi; and the beautiful love song “É o Amor Outra Vez,” which places Dori Caymmi as the perfect counterpart to his sister in interpreting romantic ballads.

And what could be more natural?

Nana Caymmi: Sem Poupar Coração
(Som Livre 1408-2; 2009) 51:30 min.

01. Sem Poupar Coração (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
02. Contradições (Cristovão Bastos/Aldir Blanc)
03. Caju em Flor (João Donato/Ronaldo Bastos)
04. Senhorinha (Guinga/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
05. Bons Momentos (Zé Luiz Lopes/Márcio Proença)
06. Visão (Danilo Caymmi/Manú Lafer)
07. Dúvida (Márcio Ramos)
08. Confissão (Antonio Carlos Bigonha/Simone Guimarães)
09. Fora de Hora (Dori Caymmi/Chico Buarque)
10. Pra Quem Ama Demais (Fátima Guedes)
11. Diamante Rubi (Alice Caymmi)
12. Esmeraldas (Rosa Passos/Fernando de Oliveira)
13. Violão (Sueli Costa/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
14. Não Se Esqueça de Mim (Roberto Carlos/Erasmo Carlos)
      with Erasmo Carlos

Dori Caymmi: Inner World
(Music Taste 1001; 2009) 45:20 min.

01. Your Smile (Dori Caymmi/Ina Wolf)
      with Scott Mayo & Bill Cantos
02. Spring (Dori Caymmi/Tracy Mann)
03. Obsession (Dori Caymmi/Gilson Peranzzetta/Tracy Mann)
      with Scott Mayo & Bill Cantos
04. Dança do Tucano (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
05. Colors of Joy (Dori Caymmi/Gilson Peranzzetta)
      with Scott Mayo & Bill Cantos
06. Chutando Lata (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
      with Edu Lobo
07. Quebra-Mar (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
      with Renato Braz
08. Flauta, Sanfona e Viola (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
09. É o Amor Outra Vez (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
10. Someone (Dori Caymmi/Tracy Mann)
11. Fora de Hora (Dori Caymmi/Chico Buarque)
12. Rio Amazonas (Dori Caymmi/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)


Copyright © 2009–2010 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.