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Sivuca portrait Born Severino Dias de Oliveira, the accordionist known as Sivuca was a great popularizer of Brazilian forro and baiao music... In the 1950s he built his reputation as a recording artist and radio performer, closing the decade with an extended European tour, where he found great acclaim. Sivuca later moved to the United States, where he continued to work as an arranger and studio musician, although it was in Europe where he was most famous.


Sivuca "Eis, Sivuca!" (Copacabana, 1956)
Solo accordion performances with a mix of Brazilian oldies, pop standards ("Lover," by Rodgers & Hart) and a showboating performance of J.S. Bach's famed "Toccata In D Minor," as well as "The Flight Of The Bumblebee," both of which I bet were real showstoppers in his early repertoire... I have to confess that I'm not enough of an accordion freak to really be all that into this one, although I imagine more devoted fans of the instrument (and of Sivuca) will get a kick out of it. I did like his version of Ary Barroso's "Morena Boca De Ouro," which closes the album, but that was the only one that really drew me in.

Sivuca "Motivo Para Dancar" (Copacabana, 1956)

Sivuca "Motivo Para Dancar, v.2" (Copacabana, 1957)

Sivuca & Os Brasileiros "Os Brasileiros Na Europa" (Odeon, 1958)
A joyful, upbeat album by an all-star ensemble that was equally adept in samba, forro and choro. Trio Irakitan provide earnest vocals in front of a band that featured Abel Ferreira - clarinet, Sivuca on accordion, and solid samba rhythms by Pernambuco do Pandeiro and drummer Dimas, along with some percussion by the Irakitan crew. It's all really fun stuff; in some ways I prefer the instrumental numbers where Ferreira and Sivuca deftly meld choro and forro. This album documents one of the numerous tours of Brazilian artists in Europe, and inspired the group to record at least one other album. Be great to see this in digital reissue some day!

Sivuca "Ve Se Gostas: Gravado Na Europa" (Odeon, 1959)

Sivuca "Rendez-Vous A Rio" (Barclay, 1965)

Sivuca "Samba Nouvelle Vague" (Barclay/Sunnyside, 1965/2006)
A fine collection of material from Sivuca's albums on the French label, Barclay. This has all of 1965's Rendez-Vous A Rio, plus bonus five tracks... Includes Sivuca's interpretations of some of the biggest hits of the bossa nova era, standards by Johnny Alf, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, et al., and an oldie or two from the likes of Noel Rosa, as well as Sivuca's own "Rosinha."

Luiz Henrique "Barra Limpa" (Verve, 1967)
A sweet, sometimes goofy, album produced up the States well after the first flush of Braz-Jazz crossovers. Even though this was recorded under the auspices of Verve, it's a pretty straightforward set of bossa flavored acoustic troubadouring, with most songs sung in English with the same guilelessly awkward accent that Caetano Veloso sometimes employs... Most of the songs are written by Henrique, although he also does a quirky, thoroughly enjoyable, version of Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada." The sidemen are mostly North American, although accordionist Sivuca also plays thoughout. Apparently, this has recently been reissued on CD... it's not earthshakingly great, but it is very pleasant and sweet, and might be fun for you to check out.

Sivuca "Sivuca" (Inter-Disc, 1968)

Sivuca "Golden Bossa Nova Guitar" (RCA, 1968)

Sivuca "Sivuca" (Grammonfon AB Electra, 1969)

Sivuca "Putte Wickman & Sivuca" (Four Leaf, 1969)

Sivuca & Trio Sonora Musical "Joy" (RCA, 1970)
With Oscar Brown and Jean Pace.

Airto Moreira "Natural Feelings" (Buddah, 1970)

Airto Moreira "Seeds On The Ground" (Buddah, 1971)

Sivuca "Sivuca" (Copacabana/Vanguard, 1972)

Sivuca "Live At The Village Gate" (Copacabana/Vanguard, 1973)

Sivuca & Rosinha De Valenca "Gravado Ao Vivo" (RCA, 1977)
(Produced by Sergio Cabral)

A famed, fabled live performance featuring Sivuca alongside jazz guitarist Rosinha De Valenca, a veteran of the Sergio Mendes stable. Delves pretty deeply into regional styles such as forro, and some similarly challenging material.

Sivuca "Sivuca" (Copacabana, 1979)
(Produced by Talmo Scaranari; arrangements by Sivuca)

A sleek set with up-to-the-moment '70s stylings, overtones of disco and jazz-fusion as well as a Brazilian-style "samba-rock" vibe. It's a lot glossier and more pop-oriented than much of Sivuca's other work... Mostly pretty nice, though you might find a tune or two a little irritating. The second half of the album features several songs with vocals by Sivuca's wife, Gloria Gadelha, and these tracks tend to have a more folkloric, forro sound. A glitzy, poppy outing, and quite strong in the context of '70s MPB -- definitely worth checking out!

Sivuca "Cabelo De Milho" (Copacabana, 1980)

Sivuca "Forro E Frevo" (Copacabana, 1980)

Sivuca "Vou Vida Afora" (Copacabana, 1982)

Sivuca "Forro E Frevo, v.2" (Copacabana, 1982)

Sivuca "Forro E Frevo, v.3" (Copacabana, 1983)

Sivuca "Onca Caetana" (Copacabana, 1983)

Sivuca "Forro E Frevo, v.4" (Copacabana, 1984)

Sivuca "Sivuca & Chicuinho Do Accordeon" (Barclay, 1984)

Sivuca "Som Brasil" (Sonet, 1985)
An almost unreasonably cheesy instrumental album, recorded with Toots Thielmans, on a foray to Rio. Forro accordeon given a lite jazz fusion whirl... sort of like a "version" remix of some "Ebony and Ivory"-era Stevie Wonder tune. Negligible.

Sivuca & Toots Thielemans "Rendez-Vous In Rio" (Sonet, 1986)

Sivuca & Toots Thielemans "Chiko's Bar" (RGE, 1986)

Sivuca & Rildo Hora "Sanfona E Realejo" (Warner/East-West, 1987)
Energetic all-instrumental collaborations between avant accordionist Sivuca and samba-jazz producer/harmonica master Rildo Hora. The music is pretty cheesy -- the kind of jazz I really can't stand, but on the fast passages, Hora really kicks ass on the harmonica. I mean, seriously, he is technically quite amazing. It's kinda icky music, but your jaw will drop when you hear what this guy can do on the harp.

Sivuca & Guitars Unlimited "Let's Vamos" (RGE, 1987)

Sivuca "Um Pe No Asfalto, Um Pe Na Buraqueira" (Copacabana, 1990)
A fine album with modern production, but generally classy performances. Sivuca is in fine form, of course, playing dazzling leads, and while a few tunes are a bit too glossy (the frevo-flavored "Casa Amarela," for example), others are fun. Sivuca's wife, vocalist Gloria Gadelha, sings on a couple of songs, and has composer's credits on about half the album. Harmonicat Rildo Hora also guests on one track, "Arco-Iris," which is even more muzak-y than the others. Again, not really my cup of tea, but plenty of strong musicianship throughout.

Sivuca "Pau Doido" (Kuarup, 1993)

Sivuca "Enfim Solo" (Kuarup, 1997)

Sivuca "O Desmatelo Continua" (Somzoom, 2003)

Sivuca "...E Quinteto Uirapuru" (Kuarup, 2004)
A live album...

Sivuca/Dominguinhos/Oswaldinho "Cada Um Belisca Um Pouco" (Biscoito Fino, 2004)
Wow! Talk about your accordion music superfests! Three veteran forro stars team up for a giddy, propulsive set of classic forro and baiao instrumentals, all performed at a manic, lightning pace, with each artist adding his own layer to the dense, fast-paced mix. Rhythm piles on rhythm, creating sort of a hyper-syncopation that makes the music simply irresistible. I will readily confess that I often find forro music and (shhhh! don't tell anyone!) accordions themselves a bit monotonous at times, but this is an album that transcends the limitations of the style... It's a really fun, kinda wild little set... Well worth checking out!

Sivuca/Various Artists "Terra Esperanca" (Kuarup, 2006)
A live album...

Sivuca "Sinfonico" (2007)
A live album...


Sivuca "Crazy Groove" (Milan, 1993)

Sivuca "Norte Forte" (Tropical, 1994)
A best-of set that collects material recorded for Copacabana between 1975-84...

Sivuca & Putte Wickman "Swedish Groove" (P-Vine, 1997)
What would appear to be a boot-ish reissue of his 1969 outing with Swedish jazzman Putte Wickman... I haven't laid eyes on this disc myself, so I can't say for sure what material is included on it...

Sivuca "20 Sucessos" (EMI, 1998)
A retrospective covering several albums from 1974-1983. His disco-tinged lite pop-fusion spin on northeastern forro music is mildly interesting... but it's also just plain mild. More than anything else, this is one for the elevator music crowd.


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