This is the first page of Brazilian artists under the letter "D"
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
to contact me and make a suggestion.
(Produced by Rildo Hora)
A wonderful album by acoustic guitarist Manoel Da Conceicao, whose career as a samba player spans back to the early 1950s. His nickname, Mao De Vaca, or "Cow Hands" comes from his large, meaty hands, and from his strong, assured method of playing the guitar. This record (which was apparently his fourth solo album) radiates confidence and solidity, as well as a softness and subtle touch that makes it a delight from start to finish. There's some excellent guitar playing, with a warmth and individuality to it that makes it stand out, and also some gentle percussion and vocal backup that adds to its depth and appeal. Recommended!
Carlos Dafe "Pra Que Vou Recordar" (Warner, 1977)
Re-released on a single disc along with Dafe's 1978 album, Venha Matar Saudades.
Carlos Dafe "Venha Matar Saudades" (Warner, 1978)
Re-released on a single disc along with Dafe's 1977 album, Pra Que Vou Recordar.
The cover art is cool, but the album is surprisingly lame. This is a set of adequately-produced but unexciting samba-soul from a highly regarded 'Seventies scenester... The arrangements are uniformly static and flat, while Dafe's voice is remarkably limited and unexpressive. I don't get it. Then again, I suppose this does help put some of Gilberto Gil's middle-period work, and Djavan's early albums into a wider context. One things that's noteworthy, though, is that Dafe wrote or co-wrote all the songs on here, with the lone exception of a revamped version of Ary Barroso's "Folhas Mortas." One of the originals was written along with fellow "Black Rio" soulster Dom Mita...
Blehh. More of the same -- Dafe thrashing about amid slick, synthy modern soul arrangements... The music is in the Lionel Richie/Bobby Brown sphere, though Dafe hardly has the vocal finesse of those guys. Didn't do much for me, though fans of global soul might find it more compelling.
Carlos Dafe "O Trem Da Gente" (Acordo, 1992)
Carlos Dafe "Seu Jeito De Olhar" (Perfil Musical, 1996)
London trip-hop meets Brazilian-style easy listening in this sometimes seductive, sometimes soporific world beat mix. I have to admit, after an initial dismissal, this disc grew on me. The electronic input of two UK DJs (Chris Franck of Smoke City, and DJ Patrick Forge) is pretty subtle and pretty muted -- several tunes, such as the dreamy "Pra Manha" have a retro-fusion feel to them that recalls Milton Nascimento's best work during his Clube Do Esquina years, with a delicate keyboard straight out of the Beth Orton songbook. As Brazilian vocalists go, Liliana Chachian didn't strike me as very distinctive, but her voice fits the vibe pretty well. Also, the Brazilian elements and the ambient touches are given equal footing, so that neither style seems dominant or gratuitous, a balance that can be difficult to strike. The mix is pretty seamless and accomplished, and in general I think Braz-ambient crossovers are definitely the wave of the future. I wouldn't mind hearing more of this stuff, though a lot of it still strikes me as too goopy.
The follow-up to their first album is pretty disappointing, or at least less elusive and alluring. The delicate balancing act of the Songs From The Tin set here gives way to a simpler, more clear-cut world-beat dance sound, it's okay, but fairly mundane by comparison. More geared towards the electronica club music crowd, and almost entirely skewed towards African influences, with the languid Brazilian touches set aside, this album seems more workmanlike than innovative or inspired. It's okay, I guess, but I found it to be a bit dull.
Vanessa Da Mata "Vanessa Da Mata" (Sony Epic, 2004)
(Produced by Liminha)
If you like Marisa Monte, this gal might appeal to you as well. The approach is basically the same -- an easygoing mix of melodic rock, funk and electronica, fronted by pretty-sounding female vocals. Still, I'd have to say, Monte is still the master: Da Mata's voice is a little too blase for me, and the music production is a little flat and too-perfect. The poppiness is welcome, and the record is pleasant enough, but it seems more calculated and meticulously crafted than inspired or personal. A cut above, to be sure, and fun to listen to (other than a passage or two that goes overboard...) Worth checking out.
A dazzling all-instrumental album by a lightning-fast old-time guitar player from the northeastern state of Paraiba. This disc opens with several tour de force performances, full of astonishing dexterity and playful improvisation. Canhoto was 65 when he recorded this album, yet his playing had a facility and speed that few youngsters could hope to match. Fans of acoustic guitar work should find themselves wowed by this little gem. Recommended!
A fine set of pagode samba, from songwriter Noca Da Portela, of the Portela samba school, whose songs have been recorded by Elza Soares, Chico Da Silva and others. The album features Dino 7 Cordas and Manoel Da Coneicao on guitars, filling out a bright, joyful sound, as well as special participation from two bands, Som 7 and an edition of the Velha Guarda da Portela that features escola old-timers Argemiro Patrocino and Monarco... It's a fine, fun album, with lively performances of a dozen-plus of Da Portela's compositions. Recommended!
Noca Da Portela "Samba Verdadero" (RDS, 1999)
Bezerra Da Silva - see artist discography
Moreira Da Silva "Moreira Da Silva" (BMG-RCA, 2001)
An outstanding collection of classic material from one of the legends of the golden era of samba cancao. A Rio native, Antonio Moreira Da Silva pioneered the style known as samba de breque, filled with humorous asides and allusions to the zoot-suit-ish characters known as "malandros," or bad boys. This is a reissue of an album that originally came out in 1974, gathering together a dozen prime tracks from Da Silva's RCA years, 1933-34 and '40-41. If you're looking for the real-deal old stuff, as well as music that holds up well over the years, then check this out. Plus, you even get a song about Brazil's national obsession --soccer -- called "Doutor Em Futebol," from 1941. Just whip that one out when it's World Cup time!
Moreira Da Silva "O Ultimo Dos Mohicanos" (EMI Odeon, 1963)
I'm sure at the time, to those who still paid attention to the old samba cancao style, this album may have been a big disappointment. I've seen where other writers pan it as pop schmaltz, but other than the dopey title track (a novelty number that includes bang! pow! sound effects straight out of an old Western movie), this was a pretty decent disc. Sure, the arrangements were a little too perky and simplistic, but Da Silva was still a great singer, wrapping himself around those rapid-fire tounge-twisters, and belting them out like he was really having fun. It's worth a spin!
At this point officially a relic, Da Silva cranked through a series of novelty songs such as "O Rei Do Gatilho" and "Malandro Em Sinuca," malandro (gangster) songs complete with comedic recitations and gunshot sound effects, or "O Ultimo Dos Mohicanos," a song he had recorded years before. Most of the songs on Side One were written by Miguel Gustavo, who seemed to specialize in this sort of stuff; on Side Two, though, he settles down into a more relaxed mode, and sings in a style closer to the old-fashioned radio days samba cancao. I wouldn't hold this up as his best work -- the comedy material in particular is a little grating -- but he still has a way of winning you over, so by album's end you're back on board. Overall, though, this album is kind of negligible.
Another late period album from this samba old-timer... This time he's laying off on the novelty songs and playing it fairly straight, singing songs by Billy Blanco, Noel rosa and other classic samba composers, as well as a few of his own original tunes. His vocals are laid-back and the arrangements are fairly perfunctory, but the music is charming in a low-impact way, and easy on the ears. It's like listening to a Bing Crosby album of the same era: there's nothing wrong with it and he's still got some swing in him, it just isn't as great as the music he made when he was younger.
Da Silva was pretty long in the tooth when these 1979-81 recordings came out... His voice isn't as subtle or as limber as it was decades earlier, and he sounds a bit desperate to make a strong impression. The musical backup ranges from overly muscular and "modern" to somewhat perfunctory and indifferent. It's kind of interesting, I suppose, as a footnote to the classic samba-cancao era, but his older recordings are clearly more sensuous and rewarding.
Wilson Das Neves "Juventude 2000" (Parlophone, 1968)
Jazz drummer Das Neves with a kitschy, faux-psychedelic toss-off album, aimed at cashing in on the "jovem guarda" teenpop scene, but perhaps a few years behind the times. These goofy instrumental tracks are the type of things that loungecore buffs go wild over -- Brazilianized versions of Burt Bacharach songs, neutered renditions of early tropicalia hits (such as Gilberto Gil's "Domingo No Parque"), and the like. Composer Geraldo Vespar seems to have been the driving force behind this schmaltzfest, although it must be said that drummer Neves and his crew did a pretty good job with the material. The second half of the album picks up a lot of steam, particularly on tracks such as "Tem Do" and "Joao Belo," which are actually rather vigorous and fun.
A fabulous album! Half scholarly, ethno-musicological exposition, half butt-shakin' block party, this is a fab collection of instrumental tracks that run the gamut Brazilian dance styles, from thumping bass-heavy batucadas and slinky capoeira to sambas and proto-sambas like the maxixe, baiao and choro. Although true to the rhythms, Da Sousa's ensemble leans heavily towards the melody, which is just fine by me... The CD reissue features a half dozen or so extra tracks, separate from the original recordings with Da Souza's ensemble... they're a little less engaging, but certainly don't detract from the charm and vitality of the album. I love this disc!
Poppy soul music from Bahia, featuring smoothed-out, funky-drummered versions of songs by Carlinhos Brown, Caetano Veloso, and Jorge Ben. Gilberto Gil's guitarist, Celso Fonseca, plays throughout and provides several songs. When I first heard this album, I thought it was really cool hearing a Soul II Soul style mix em portuguese... But revisiting this album, I find it hasn't held up that well; now it sounds jittery and a little forced. One of the more compelling moments is her version of "Objeto Nao Identificao", a tropicalia era favorite of Gal Costa's.
Daude "Daude 2" (Natasha, 2000)
A disappointing follow-up to her slinky debut... Daude's funky side is engulfed by a light, frothy, slightly dancey pop sensibility. It's a pretty lightweight mix of hiphop-tronica and Brazilian-style pop, easy on the ears and full of positive lyrics about being black, female and Brazilian... But there's a treble-heavy perkiness that can be a bit grating. That being said, by the end of the album I was mostly on board with what she was doing. It's worth checking out, though you might also find it a bit too prefab.
Marcos Davi "Criacao" (Self-Released, 2004)
A self-released album of mellow, pretty-sounding acoustic guitar music. The set is less "Brazilian" than "new acoustic," in keeping with other solo guitar work across the globe by fancy pickers such as William Ackerman, et al, with maybe just a hint of hometown heros like Baden Powell or Laurindo Almeida. It's a little too much on the soft side for me, but quite nice if you like the style. (Available through the artist's website at: www.marcosdavi.com.br.)
Fine, low-key modern sambas from Luiz Carlos Da Vila, a well-respected songwriter for Cacique de Ramos, one of Rio's most prestigious samba schools, which also nurtured the talents of artists such as Jorge Aragao, Zeca Pagodinho, Almir Guineto and the band, Fundo Do Quintal. Working behind the scenes, Da Vila wrote many hits for the escola during the 1970s and '80s; this is his first solo album and while it is not as dynamic or technically polished as the albums of more popular pagode samba stars, there is a nice, relaxed, down home charm to it. Da Vila is a plainspoken, almost hesistant singer, but his lack of bravado is one of his most appealing traits -- instead, what you hear in his voice is his enthusiasm and emotional connection to the songs. All the musicians backing him up are samba school pros, along with MPB veterans such as guitarist Rosinha De Valenca, drummer Wilson Das Neves and samba star Martinho Da Vila, who produced the album, and sings one one song. Nice stuff...!! (The CD reissue includes two bonus tracks, taken from a single released around the same time)
Luiz Carlos Da Vila "Um Cantar De Vontade" (Musart)
Luiz Carlos Da Vila & Jorge Claudio "Matrizes"
Luiz Carlos Da Vila "A Luz Do Vencedor: Luiz Carlos Da Vila Canta Candeia" (CPC-Umes, 1999)
Martinho Da Vila - see artist discography
Paulinho Da Viola - see artist discography
Brazilian Music - More Letter "D"
Main Brazil Index
World Music Index