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


De roupa italiana

Elisabetta Prodon revives forgotten Italian versions
of Brazilian songs.

Daniella Thompson

21 October 2007

Elisabetta Prodon

The Bossa Nova avalanche that rolled over the globe in the 1960s struck a uniquely resonant chord in Italy. While the influence of Brazilian music in the United States was expressed by top jazz instrumentalists, its songbook suffered decidedly mediocre (and sometimes outright ridiculous) lyric adaptations by the likes of Ray Gilbert and Norman Gimbel.

The story was quite different in Italy, where leading lyricists—refined intellectuals who were in closer harmony with the Brazilian zeitgeist—crafted credible versions of famous Brazilian songs and actively collaborated with their original creators. They included hitmakers like Sergio Endrigo, Sergio Bardotti, Giorgio Calabrese, and Mario Panzeri.

The Italo-Brazilian ties became even closer after Brazilian artists were forced into exile by the military disctatorship. Sergio Bardotti (1939–2007) in particular was a virtual clearing house for Brazilian song in Italy during the 1970s. In addition to translating many songs by his friends Vinicius de Moraes and Chico Buarque, he produced in 1976 the album La Voglia, la Pazzia, l'Incoscienza, l'Allegria, which featured Ornella Vanoni with Vinicius and Toquinho, and the LP Passarinho Urbano for Joyce. Bardotti’s musical play for children, I Musicanti, was in turn adapted by Chico into the highly successful Os Saltimbancos, which spawned a record and a film.

Giorgio Calabrese wrote Italian lyrics for a number of Jobim/de Moraes songs, including “Chega de Saudade” and “Garota de Ipanema.” It’s unfortunate that the otherwise excellent website Clube do Tom omits his name entirely from the list of Tom’s co-authors.

Bardotti’s and Calabrese’s contributions to the Italo-Brazilian songbook are the focus of the new CD Samba & Amore, released by the Italian jazz label Philology. It is the work of seasoned jazz singer Elisabetta “Elis” Prodon and her husband, guitarist Flavio Brio, who include here a previously unrecorded Bardotti translation for Chico Buarque’s “Samba do Grande Amor.”

Joining the versions is an Italian song that demonstrates the influence of Bossa Nova on La Canzone Italiana. “Conversazione” (Bruno Canfora/Antonio Amurri) was the closing theme of Mina’s TV show Sabato Sera in the 1960s (watch a 1967 video).

This delightful album was recorded in Natal, Brazil and in Venice, Italy. It comes clad in a cover that evokes the Vinicius & Odette Lara release on the Elenco label. Missing from the liner notes are the song lyrics (only “Samba del Grande Amore” is included). This won’t disturb Italian listeners, since Elis Prodon’s enunciation is crystal clear. But for those to whom Italian is Greek, the omission is to be regretted.

Lyrics for all the songs are published here. Listen to tracks from Samba & Amore here.

Elisabetta Prodon: Samba & Amore
(Philology W 296) 2007; 43:12 min.

  1. Samba e Amore [Samba e Amor] (Chico Buarque/Sergio Bardotti)
  2. Senza Paura [Sem Medo] (Toquinho/Vinicius de Moraes/Sergio Bardotti)
  3. Ritratto in Bianco e Nero [Retrato em Branco e Preto] (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Chico Buarque/Giorgio Calabrese)
  4. Stare Separati [Chega de Saudade] (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes/Giorgio Calabrese)
  5. Chi Dice Non Dà [Canto de Ossanha] (Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes/Giorgio Calabrese)
  6. Conversazione (Bruno Canfora/Antonio Amurri)
  7. Ragazzo di Ipanema [Garota de Ipanema] (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes/Giorgio Calabrese)
  8. Samba del Grande Amore [Samba do Grande Amor] (Chico Buarque/Sergio Bardotti)
  9. Accendi una Luna nel Cielo [Acende uma Lua no Céu] (Toquinho/Sergio Bardotti)
  10. Far Niente [Bom Tempo] (Chico Buarque/Sergio Bardotti)
  11. Samba della Rosa [Samba da Rosa] (Toquinho/Sergio Bardotti)
  12. La Canzone di Orfeo [Manhã de Carnaval] (Luiz Bonfá/Antônio Maria/Mario Panzeri)

Elisabetta Prodon: vocals
Flavio Brio: guitar, percussion & vocals
Eduardo Taufic: piano, keyboard & percussion
Paulo Oliveira: bass
Carlinhos Moreno, Ricardo Menezes: guitars
Cirleide Andrade: vocals
Renato Greco: guitar, percussion & vocals

Tracks 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12: Eduardo Taufic
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10: Renato Greco


Copyright © 2007–2008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.