A look on Brazil issues

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Which are the best Brazilian songs ever?

Posted by Nadiva Olivier on September 16, 2009

Which are the best Brazilian songs ever? I can say that seven among the 10 best were composed by Tom Jobim, according to a panel of experts. The big winner: his song Águas de Março.

More than 200 Brazilian journalists, musicians and cultural icons were asked to name their three favorite national tunes starting in 1917 when “Pelo Telefone” (On the Phone), the first Brazilian samba, was recorded by Donga. “Which is the all-time best Brazilian song?” was the question presented.

Voters were suposed to analyse: melody, lyrics, some historical reason, and even sentimental motives. Jobim’s “Águas de Março”, from 1972, was the champion, but his name was also remembered for “Chega de Saudade” (3rd place, from 1958), “Retrato em Branco e Preto” (6th place, 1968) and “Garota de Ipanema” (7th place, 1963). Jobim was again considered for “Corcovado” (1960) and “Desafinado” (1958, a tie in 9th place) and “Wave (Vou Te Contar)” (1967, 10th place). Tom Jobim had 32 of his songs cited!

Composer Chico Buarque de Hollanda had the same number of tunes remembered. Surprisingly, Jorge Ben came in second with 22 tunes mentioned. Only his 1963 song “Mas que Nada”, however, won enough votes to be included among the 10 most memorable songs.

Caetano Veloso had 20 compositions mentioned, which gave him the third place in this category.

In 1999, a search for the best Brazilian songs of all times promoted by Globo TV Network found that Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil” (“Brazil”) was the favorite. This time the results were less chauvinistic. Jobim, with a total of 110 mentions, came well ahead of the second most cited composer, Chico Buarque, who got 69 nods. Vinicius de Moraes (48 mentions) came in third for his collaborations with Jobim, Chico Buarque, Baden Powell, Carlos Lyra, Edu Lobo and Toquinho. Caetano Veloso and Jorge Ben tied in fourth place with 34 citations.

The fifth place went to Roberto and Erasmo Carlos, a duo famous for their romantic ballads. They were remembered 24 times by the illustrious panel of voters.

Interestingly enough, the most memorable “Águas de Março” interpretation, which serves as reference for all the other versions, is the one sung by the duet Elis & Tom. Elis Regina didn’t like Tom Jobim and didn’t hide her dislike for the maestro whom she called “a bore”, “dim-witted”, and “old fogey” in the backstage, in 1974, when the Elis & Tom LP was being recorded. Elis, however, needed to revitalize a career that was being derailed by bad press from critics who were demanding more sophistication from her. The partnership with old Tom made the trick for her. “Águas de Março” appeared on a super brief venture of alternative tabloid Pasquim into the music business. The nonconformist publication in 1972 decided to release simple compacts—a record with a song on each side of the old vinyl disc—to reveal new talents. To guarantee success for the record, their proposal was to release on the other side of the disc an unpublished tune by a famous composer. The new composers were rookies João Bosco and Aldir Blanc with “Agnus Dei”. Jobim became their godfather in the recording, with “Águas de Março”. There would be only one more release in the collection: that of Fagner being presented by Caetano Veloso.

Women were barely mentioned in this selection. Rita Lee is the first woman to show up in the list. The feisty rocker was mentioned 15 times what guaranteed her an 11th place together with samba composer Cartola. Besides Lee, only Chiquinha Gonzaga and Dolores Duran were remembered. They showed up at the bottom of the list with four mentions each. A big name like Maysa was never mentioned. More recent composers like Marisa Monte, Adriana Calcanhotto, and Zélia Duncan also were snubbed. Talking for her colleagues, Rita Lee offered some explanation for this oversight: “Women are quantitatively less present in several areas. Only recently we started appearing while patriarchy exists for centuries.

Chiquinha Gonzaga is from a time when men would say, “Music is man’s occupation”. Dolores Duran was from a time when guys would say, “Women who compose are whores.” I’m from a time when Tubby’s Boy’s Only Clubhouse used to say, “To make rock you ought to have balls.” Cássia Eller is from a time when people say, “You need to be a macho-woman to make music like a man.” My granddaughter will be from a time when they will say, “Only a woman could make such a good song.”

Ranking of the best: 1st “Águas de Março” (Tom Jobim) /2nd “Construção” (Chico Buarque) /3rd “Chega de Saudade” (Tom Jobim &Vinicius de Moraes)/4th “Carinhoso” (Pixinguinha & João de Barro) /5th “Aquarela do Brasil” (Ary Barroso) /6th “Detalhes” (Roberto Carlos & Erasmo Carlos) /”Retrato em Branco e Preto” (Tom Jobim & Chico Buarque) ” /As Rosas Não Falam” (Cartola) /7th “Asa Branca” (Luiz Gonzaga & Humberto Teixeira) /”Domingo no Parque” (Gilberto Gil) /”Garota de Ipanema” (Tom Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes) /8th “Mas Que Nada” (Jorge Ben) /”Sua Estupidez” (Roberto Carlos & Erasmo Carlos) /9th “Baby” (Caetano Veloso) /”Corcovado” (Tom Jobim) /”Desafinado” (Tom Jobim & Newton Mendonça) /”Panis et Circencis” (Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil) /”Pérola Negra” (Luiz Melodia) /”Três Apitos” (Noel Rosa) /”Tropicália” (Caetano Veloso) /10th “Beactress” (Edu Lobo & Chico Buarque) /”Dora” (Dorival Caymmi) /”Eu e a Brisa” (Johnny Alf) /”O Homem da Gravata Florida” (Jorge Ben) /”Inútil” (Roger Moreira) /”Ouro de Tolo” (Raul Seixas) /”Wave (Vou Te Contar)” (Tom Jobim).


If you like to listen any of them, tell me and I will send it to you.


Posted in Culture, General Comments | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Pavarotti, a sunny voice. A soul with a choice.

Posted by Nadiva Olivier on September 9, 2007

sunflowerSunflowers were his favourite ones. “Sa voix solaire” – as French used to say – made theathers full of light, touching hearts and souls very deep. A sunny man. Pavarotti was a plein human, full of all these beauties and pleasures humans are eager to taste since the very early years in life. Even if someone criticize his “Three Tenors` mega concerts, or call the attention for his allegedly passion for money, show, wine, pasta and other “pecadillos”, he has been a sunny man and lived a splendorous life as a human being among us. Pavarotti remembers me William Parrish (Anthony Hopkins), a media tycoon, talking to his daughter Susan Parrish (Claire Forlani) in the very first scenes of Meet Joe Black. Parrish describes her relationship with her fiancée: “ There’s not an ounce of excitement, not a… whisper of a thrill.” Pavarotti was the thriller himself. His thrilling voice enchanted us all, in each of his many performances.

You cannot know what is beyond death. But you can taste all the gifts that God gave us to live with, in this life, at this planet. Pope Benedict XVI´s telegram on Pavarotti´s death was perfect when wrote that he had “honored the divine gift of music through his extraordinary interpretative talent.” There are so many splendorous gifts for us, human beings, in this wonderful world.

Allow me to quote William Parrish again, when describing to the daughter what he wants for her concerning love: “I want you to get swept away out there. I want you to levitate. I want you to…sing with rapture and dance like a dervish… Be deliriously happy, or at least leave yourself open to be.” Meet Joe Black is a movie about Death (personified in a man´s body – Joe Black/Brad Pitt), itself, entering Parrish life and home, to take him away just when he is about to celebrate his 65th birthday, living a fantastic life. Pavarotti would celebrate his 72nd birthday in October 12th. Joe Black is curious about Life on earth. He lets Parrish live a little more time in exchange of a tour into the human´s life. Joe starts tasting Life´s joy and, as a consequence, falls in love with Parrish´s daughter.

An applause to Pavarotti in his death for his joy of life. He sang and lived like a dervish. It does not matter his attitudes in his private life. What matters is that millions of persons were deeply touched with his songs and will be flying and dancing “ like dervixes” when listening to him. What matters is that he is a symbol that makes Modenna better, that fascinates poor and riches, that calls for the best of men and women in Japan, in New York and in all the countries he has been. His soul choose this planet´s human life and lived along the edge. A real Sun in our lives.

The death of this so human opera singer has to make us reflect of how gorgeous is this planet and all the aspects of our special life here. He died at 5 a.m. Just when the sun was coming to Modena… Like the last words of the great tenor aria from Puccini´s opera Turandot, “Nessun Dorma” (“None shall sleep”): “ Al alba vincero”!

Grazie, Maestro.

Posted in Coach, Culture | Leave a Comment »