Tag Archives: bossa nova

Exquisite, Timeless Jobim

Mario Adnet and Paulo Jobim – Jobim Orchestra & Guests (Adventure Music, 2017)

Jobim Orchestra & Guests celebrates the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim), one of the greatest composers of bossa nova and Brazilian popular music. This project is led by acclaimed composer and arranger Mario Adnet and Antônio Carlos Jobim’s son, composer Paulo Jobim.

In a previous project, symphonic Jobim, Mario and Paulo recreated Jobim’s material through a classical music perspective. On this new recording, Jobim Orchestra & Guests, the arrangers move towards bossa nova and orchestral jazz featuring a jazz ensemble and strings.

The album is based on a study by the Antônio Carlos Jobim Institute, a institution that holds the original manuscripts of musical scores and arrangements. Adnet wrote seven new arrangements and adapted four scores originally written by German conductor, composer and arranger Claus Ogerman.

Jobim Orchestra & Guests also includes two original arrangements and three original compositions by Paulo Jobim, two of which were recorded by Antônio Carlos Jobim in the 1970s.

The list of guest instrumentalists and vocalists is impressive, featuring some of the finest musicians in the Rio de Janeiro scene.

The album includes Jobim’s most iconic songs, including the all-time favorite Águas de Março, Desafinado, Chega de Saudade, Falando de Amor, and many more.

The lineup on Jobim Orchestra & Guests includes Yamandu Costa on 7-string guitar; Alfredo del Penho on guitar; Marcos Nimrichter on piano; Antonia Adnet on guitar and vocals; Mario Adnet on guitar; Paulo Jobim on guitar; Jorge Helder on bass; Antonio Neves on drums; Armando Marçal on percussion; Eduardo Neves on flute; Henrique Band on flute and baritone saxophone; Paulo Guimaraes on flute and alto flute; Cristiano Alves on clarinet and bass clarinet; Adalto Soares on French horn and trumpet; Aquiles Moraes on flugelhorn; Everson Moraes on trombone.

Vocals: Alice Caymmi; Alfredo del Penho; Luiz Pié; Júlia Vargas; Antonia Adnet; Paulo Jobim; Mario Adnet; Vicente Nucci; Dora Morelenbaum; Isabel Jobim; Maucha Adnet; and Isabella de Fonseca.

Strings section:

Violins: Claudio Cruz; Adonhiran Reis; Felipe Prazeres; Priscila Rato; Tomaz Soares; Luisa Neiva; Angélica Areias; Ricardo Amado; Gustavo Menezes; Fabio Peixoto; Thiago Teixeira; and Rudá Issa.
Violas: Gabriel Marin; Daniel Prazeres; Ricardo Taboada; and Thais Mendes.
Cellos: Alceu Reis; Marcus Ribeiro; Marcelo Salles; and Marie Bernard.
Basses: Rodrigo Fávaro; Larissa Coutrim.

Jobim Orchestra & Guests includes a DVD with interviews, masterfully-directed video versions of the songs and behind the scenes footage.

Jobim Orchestra & Guests is an exquisite recording that showcases outstanding recreations of the timeless, classic songs of Tom Jobim and the rich talent of the current Rio de Janeiro music scene.


Ive Mendes and the Bossa Nova Repertoire

Ive Mendes – Photo by Paulina Tendera


Music criticism does not derive from musical censorship; it is based on conventional rules. Ive Mendes performed in Krakow at a jazz festival; criticism, according to convention, is based on the fact that Ive does not sing a jazz; therefore, in accordance with the same neat convention, I assert that the organizers acted… unconventionally.

The world music scene, like many other spheres of culture and art, is created basically in one of two ways: bottom-up or top-down. The story of a typical bottom-up musician begins somewhere in the home, a school, a small town, a musical family, often poor and devoid of cultural roots; this is the story of many masters of jazz, as described in biographies and memoirs. The story of typical musicians whose careers are built top-down usually starts a little later, not in childhood but in early adulthood. Wherever a business, a manager, or ready-made material for a record appears, it’s only a question of finding someone to perform the material on stage.

About Ive Mendes, one thing can be stated with certainty: she is a typical product of the global policies of the music scene, the product of interventions by an entire staff of managers, arrangers, and other members of a “shadow cabinet” who stand proudly (not without reason!) behind her success. This time it was Kevin Armstrong, the producer of Mendes’s latest album, who was promoted to the head of this cabinet. Nothing like this is possible in the jazz field, where musicians make their choices strictly according to musical criteria, and a stage-managed career is an absolute contradiction in terms.

Ive possesses a powerfully crafted charm and grace in the visual sphere. It is precisely her superficiality that affirms the misleading conviction that she comes from Brazil, yet it is indeed difficult to perceive any connotations from the musical culture of the region from which she originated. The artist herself does not conceal her inspirations, mentioning a fairly wide range of essentially pop music styles: “… I learned that I have a natural facility for moving from bossa nova to smooth pop, drum & bass, and even alternative country. After all, I’m a farmer’s daughter.” [www.newsweek.pl]. Unfortunately, in the same breath she adds bossa nova to this eclectic mix. The problem is that even if we can (though we need not) think of smooth pop, drum & bass, or “alternative country”—whatever that is—as mere categories of arrangements, that is, for the creation of hybrid sound forms (as Ive basically has made use of these styles, though in a different way than, e.g., jazzmen do, using groovy or funk rhythms and R&B just for some kind of dance fun, likewise “ontic background” for improvisation, etc.), bossa nova itself cannot be treated so freely. Indeed, the concept of bossa nova encompasses a deeper philosophy. It is a unique combination of samba and jazz.

The self-proclaimed comparison of Ive to João Gilberto smacks—to put it politely—of immodesty. And indeed, if Ive actually had something in common with bossa nova—apart from “reciting” a few standards—it might salvage her image as an artist fit to share a stage with artists of improvisational music. This, however, is not the case. Ive, in essence, does not understand bossa nova at all.
These are not the only reasons why I state that Ive Mendes is largely a phenomenon of the modern music industry, in which vocal talent is exploited for the benefit of a mass audience. A mass audience at the Jazz Festival? This is, of course, possible, thanks to, among others, Ive. The boundaries of jazz in Poland are not clearly visible to a public which accepts a rather pop Kenny G performance, often with just as much satisfaction as it would Kenny Garret or Nigel Kennedy, and similar case with Ive Mendes vs Kurt Elling. The Polish, indeed European, and perhaps even global (in the era of globalization) mass audience, while occasionally needing to commune with elegance, is thoroughly democratic. And that is a shame, because democracy does not serve the cause of high art. Thus my criticism concerns not Ive Mendes herself, but her presence on a jazz stage.

As a vocal star, Ive obscures the musical potential of the songs with “literary” quality and linguistic content. I am not thinking here at all of the lyrics (which play a less essential role in jazz in any case) of the songs, but of her stage presence. That is, Ive greatly expands the entr’actes, I mean the never-ceasing patter between songs, which at times took the form of motivational coaching, gave the impression of being an integral part of the artistic performance, whereas the songs seemed merely to supplement her verbal tirades, which many of the ladies present in the hall received with blushes of embarrassment.


Ive Mendes – Photo by Paulina Tendera


Thus, Ive’s performance consists of, first and foremost, a kind of refined dance-calling; second, songs; and, in the background, arranging and musical potential, which usually remain strictly in the realm of the potential. For Ive, music seems to be effortless; it is not an area of great concern or creativity. Sounds, for her, are primarily a matter of a fixed esthetic framework of correctness in which her emotions occur (even if they are exploited extramusically). Ive sings safely within proven registers beyond which she consistently refuses to venture, avoids improvisation (or feigns it), while the band (and after all, Ive has a live band on stage: a smooth rhythm section, violin, cello, etc.), apart from the correct performance of sometimes arduously executed arrangements, is reduced to the role of a karaoke backing track.

There is no room here for improvisation and musical freedom; Ive does not play at all with her voice, with sounds, or with rhythm in the sense of musicality (as deeply understood). Instead, her show is reminiscent of harvest festivals, but obscured by a snobbish veil of supposedly higher culture, while deprived of the vibrancy and unpretentious naturalness of country bands. Ive’s performance is so smooth that she loses, in the correctness of the performances, a whole range of expressive musical possibilities, substituting non-musical stage theatricality, whereas the songs themselves, differing very little from studio recordings, are so safe that they sound like something played on a boombox in an adjoining room. I also have the compelling impression that Ive often sings out of tune, slightly below the correct note. Perhaps this is a question of wrong stage listening monitor setup, but the effect is permanent: she sings consistently sharp.

Ive, however, has several patented theatrical devices up her sleeve to exert a narcotic effect on the emotion-seeking audience. She possesses the ability to stimulate the emotions of a large crowd with two or three stage tricks. Undoubtedly, she also possesses an original voice, with a characteristically deep, rather low, vibrating, sensual color. There is a distant similarity to Sade, and, still more distant, to Cassandra Wilson, but without their musical consciousness, personality, or charisma. Other aspects which attract attention include her stage image, exotic beauty (probably the most authentic aspect of her Brazilian heritage), outfits, mysterious gestures, movements, dances, etc. This is essentially a good recipe for the conquest of the unsophisticated heart of a standardized, democratic listener.

In Krakow, the singer performed the repertoire from her latest album, Bossa Romantica, about which she says in one of many interviews: “This is music characterized by complex chords and rhythm guitar in a free samba rhythm. I made this music in the same way that João Gilberto created bossa nova: trying to create versions of American songs in a specific way, in a Brazilian atmosphere.” [www.polskatimes.pl]. The album was supposedly created under British (Ive recently obtained British citizenship) and Brazilian influence, which Mendes often mentions (although the comparison to Gilberto is lip service as well as an exaggeration) along with the musical inspiration of smooth jazz (or rather, perhaps, smooth pop), with which the singer is also identified. These were, I believe, her intentions, but their effect can be described simply as free eclecticism. Her album is not a very good example of World Music; no matter whether it draws from Brazil, England, or “smooth,” the esthetic and artistic effect of this album was a foregone conclusion before Ive entered the studio. It betrays her superficiality, the excessive esthetization of her style, idealized romanticism, and the renunciation of harsh or folk-derived elements.

Among other songs from the album Bossa Romantica, Ive performs covers like “The Girl from Ipanema.” This performance, however, blends in with the overall character of her music, blurring in places the expressive syncopation of bossa nova which we associate even with the singing of Astrud Gilberto. Freshness, lightness, and the aforementioned unpretentiousness are also lost. Another cover, “Killing Me Softly,” is played for no apparent reason, or, as already mentioned, as a sure-fire heartbreaker, completely devoid of expression or of any ideas.

In jazz, performing standards makes some sense, if only in terms of musicians making use of familiar themes for further musical exploitation. Themes are only pretexts, or gateways to great adventures on the verge of beginning. With Ive, everything starts and ends with the theme. This would make sense, of course, if the artist proved the value of her contribution to the work, if the listener at least discovered individual hallmarks of musical expression. With Ive, this never happens. This is not another beautiful rendition, as we hear with Perry Como, Roberta Flack, or even the pop Fugees. Instead, Ive turns it into hack work, potboiler gig, potboiler gig, a number trotted out for shows like The X Factor.



Ive Mendes says that her voice works in many styles. Certainly the concert at Krakow’s ICE Arena was a good showcase of her vocal abilities and her typical stage esthetics. Her emotions are expressed primarily extramusically; they are naively feminine, romantic … which means that her repertoire appeals to the taste of many—but not to fans of jazz, improvised music, or (as widely understood) world music.

Ive Mendes deserves a much more favorable review, on the condition that we evaluate her in terms of pop music, though here I am not referring to great pop music artists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, or female celebrities to which Mendes might be compared, such as Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, the quasi-Latino Shakira, or even Lady Gaga. She is not in that league, but rather in a class with festivals of the Eurovision type, connoisseurs of soap operas … in Poland, Ive can also count on fans with a sentimental attachment to the old Brazilian serial feature A escrava Isaura [Isaura the Slave Girl], whose main heroine recalls Ive to mind.

In the press there are many extremely passionate positive opinions about the work of Ive Mendes; thus the present critical opinion, expressed here with the conviction of its justice, may serve as a badly-needed counterbalance in contemporary reflections on music.


Sabrina Malheiros To Release Album in Summer of 2017

Sabrina Malheiros

Brazilian vocalist Sabrina Malheiros has announced the release of a new album. The recording will come out this summer and will feature her father Alex Malheiros, together with his Azymuth bandmate Kiko Continentino, Brazilian saxophone virtuoso Leo Gandleman, and British producer Daniel Maunick (Dokta Venom).

Her earlier recordings include Dreaming, Equilibria, Vibrasons and New Morning.


Ive Mendes, First of the World Music Stars Set to Perform in Krakow at the 22nd Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami

Brazilian vocalist Ive Mendes will perform at ICE Kraków with her band and string quartet on June 25, 2017. Mendes combines elements of smooth jazz and Brazilian bossa nova, resulting in an example of really great music. The critics praise Ive’s voice, whose color and warmth lend expression and romanticism to her music. We expect that during the Summer Festival we will hear all the songs from her new album, Bossa Romantica, which actually appeared first in Poland.

Bossa Romantica was recorded by Kevin Armstrong, known for his collaborations with, among others, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. One of the singles from this album, the song ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’, was mixed by Miles Walker, the legendary winner of several Grammys, in his studio in Atlanta.

The world music accent in the work of Ive Mendes has its source in the singer’s origins. Ive was born in Ceres, Brazil, in a farming family with mixed roots: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Brazilian. She also mentions her Indian heritage.

The music of Ive Mendes is perfect for a warm evening with a glass of wine or a great late dinner—the point being that it complements the sensual pleasures of life. The sensuality, depth, and moodiness of her voice will lead our thoughts along the paths of Spanish vineyards. We’ll hear the sounds of samba, jazz, soul, and chillout, guaranteed to awaken sensual passion and bring out life’s most delicious flavors.

Ive has the ability to move freely between bossa nova and modern influences, smooth jazz and pop, and her originality ensures that she is appreciated by listeners in the Asian and European markets, where she is known as the “Brazilian queen of smooth jazz.” Ive Mendes is one of very few Brazilian singers representing this cosmopolitan and open attitude to music. Her worldwide success is sustained by renowned, highly esteemed, intimate live performances, during which we are guaranteed to discover her charm, charisma, and hypnotic voice.

Ticket sales locations: eventim.pl, ticketpro.pl, biletywkrakowie, Punkt InfoKraków, ul. Św. Jana 2, and the organizers’ office at ul. Karmelicka 52/1, Kraków.

More information at: www.cracjazz.com


Electronic Edgy and Savagely Cool Luisa Maita

Luisa Maita – Fio da Memoria (Cumbancha, 2016)

Fans of the Brazilian songwriter and songstress Luisa Maita are set to be rewarded a big payout on their patience in waiting around for her follow-up recording to her 2010 hit recording Lero-Lero. It’s not like she hasn’t been busy with world touring, working with the electronic band Ladytron’s Daniel Hunt, recording with British group Da Lata and lending her voice to Rio’s Olympic Games opening ceremony. One listen to Ms. Maita’s Fio da Memoria or Thread of Memory, set for release on September 23rd on the Cumbancha music label, and one gets that this sleek, silky lushness isn’t something pounded out in an afternoon.

Teaming up DJ and electronic musician Tejo Damasceno and bass player and producer Ze Nigro, Ms. Maita has taken popular Brazilian musical constructs like the samba and bossa nova, along with pop music and the rich collection of Brazil’s female singers, and squeezed and condensed that sound through a filter of electronic and beat music. The effect is densely lush and cutting edge delicious.

Ms. Maita says of the recording, “It is a very subjective, personal and emotional record. I tried not to limit myself to a certain musical style, and in this diversity there is unity. I wanted to revisit the Brazilian rhythms and other sounds that I have heard growing up from a contemporary, electronic and urban perspective.”

Opening with a subterranean sultry on “Na Asa,” listener come up against the wonderfully seductive vocals of Ms. Maita against a backdrop of the hip sharpness of electronica conjured up on Fio da Memoria. And, it just gets better with an almost predatory combination of bass, guitar and percussion on the fierce “Around You.” Wrapped up in synthesizers, electronic beats, effects, Brazilian percussion and Ms. Maita’s tantalizing vocals, Fio da Memoria rides waves of electronic edgy and savagely cool.

The record is about what Brazil is today aesthetically, in this electronic age,” says Ms. Maita.

The deliciousness gets good with the meaty beat and razor sharp electronica on “Porão,” the kickass groove of title track “Fio da Memoria” and the guitar laced “Sutil” and the Brazilian percussion packed “Folia.” Perhaps my favorite track is the dreamy “Ela” with its lazy coolness punctuated by Ms. Maita’s sultry vocals and an easy and jazzy feel. Fio da Memoria closes with “Jump,” a lush listen to Ms. Maita’s layered solo vocals that is much too short but well worth a listen.

If this is what Brazil’s electronic age sounds like I’m all for it.

Buy Fio da Memoria in the Americas

Buy Fio da Memoria in Europe


Memorable Bossacucanova

Bossacucanova – The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records, 2016)

Brazilian music innovators Bossacucanova have put together some of their finest songs and instrumentals in a new album titled The Best of Bossacucanova.

This collection features Bossacucanova’s masterfully-crafted pieces that combine Brazilian rhythms as well as jazz, lounge, rock, and classic and new bossa nova melodies with irresistible electronic music beats. “We decided to choose songs featuring our best arrangements, most original beats, and top performances,” says Marcio Menescal.

The Best of Bossacucanova is the perfect soundtrack for the summer and to get you in the mood for the Rio Olympics. It’s a highly creative mix of tradition and forward-thinking electronic sounds that’s really accessible at the same time.

The collection includes Brazilian music classics along with original material by Bossacucanova and two new tracks.

Bossacucanova includes DJ Marcelinho DaLua on programming and scratch; Alexandre (Alex) Moreira on programming keyboards; and Marcio Menescal (son of acclaimed bossa nova pioneer Roberto Menescal) on programming and bass.

On each track, the Bossacucanova trio is joined by additional musicians on acoustic and electric instruments together with guest vocalists. The list of guests is impressive: folk band Os Cariocas, Silvio César, Wanda Sa, Wilson Simoninha, Leo Gandelman, Adriana Calcanhoto, Cris Delanho, Oscar Castro Neves, Emilio Santiago, Pedro Luis, and Orquestra Criola.

Video of Balança featured in The Best of Bossacucanova, originally released in Our Kind Of Bossa (2014).

The Best of Bossacucanova is a set of memorable songs and tunes that showcases the best of Brazilian music. The Best of Bossacucanova indeed.

Buy The Best of Bossacucanova in the Americas


Thalma de Freitas to perform at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles

Thalma de Freitas
Thalma de Freitas

Brazilian singer, songwriter, and actress Thalma de Freitas is set to perform on Thursday, August 4, at 8:00 PM at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Sunset Concerts. The Los Angeles-based artist performs a thrilling fusion of samba, jazz, and bossa nova.

Also known as the “maestro’s daughter,” de Freitas grew up in Rio de Janeiro under the musical tutelage of her father, acclaimed arranger, composer, pianist, and conductor Laércio de Freitas.

Since making her professional debut in a Brazilian production of Hair in 1992, de Freitas has starred in numerous Brazilian television shows and released her debut self-titled solo album in 2004.

In addition to singing with the carioca big band Orquestra Imperial, de Freitas also fronts an experimental sonic project called Serendipity Lab. Having performed at concerts and festivals in South America and Europe, de Freitas was honored to join Carlinhos Brown in representing Brazil in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-4500


Dreamy Harp Samba

Cristina Braga & Brandenburger Symphoniker – Whisper (Enja Records, 2016)

Brazilian samba and bossa nova appear in a conventional format, bringing together harp, a samba jazz quintet and a symphony orchestra in a captivating intercontinental collaboration.

At the forefront is harp player and vocalist Cristina Braga. She’s a virtuoso harpist with a soft and seductive singing style, where she nearly whispers accompanied by her harp. The result is truly mesmerizing.

Whisper contains a mix of laid back dreamy bossa nova pieces along with a couple of lively songs where there is plenty of room for the jazz quintet and orchestra.

On some songs Cristina sings duets with special guest Dado Vila-Lobos on vocals and guitar. Although most of the songs are in Portuguese, Braga shifts to English on two track.

This concert was recorded at the Great Hall of the Brandenburger Theatre in Germany. Cristina Braga was joined by the Modern Samba Quintet and the Brandenburger Symphoniker Orchestra.

Lineup on Whisper:

Cristina Braga on vocals and harp.

Modern Samba Quintet featuring Jesse Sadoc on trumpet; Arthur Dutra on vibraphone; Ricardo Medeiros on bass; Claudio Wilner on percussion; Mauro Martins on drums; and Marcelo Costa on additional percussion.

Brandenburger Symphoniker conducted by Tobias Volkman:

Andreas Preisser on violin; Chidori Sokooshi on violin; Klaus Hoyer on violin; Till Handrick on violin; Olivia Kucharska on violin; Katja Kulesza on violin; Uwe Kinderick on violin; Ralf Wittman on violin; Giulia Bellingeri on violin; Izabela Powichrowska on violin; Matthias Erbe on violin; Franca Rudolph on violin; Ralf Damming on violin; Ruth Gerner on violin; Friederike Dietz on violin; Meike Schirling on violin; Auret Botoi on violin.

Nikolai Nikolov on viola; Markeljan Kocibeli on viola; Geraldo Brandigi on viola; Demna Gigova on viola; Andreas Posch on viola.

Robert Friedrich on cello; Ute Doring on cello; Joachim Kohler on cello; Stefan Immel on cello.

Fabio Caggese on bass; Josif Schmuschkowitsch on bass; Rudiger Dierks on bass.

Susanne Pietrowski on flute; Martin Bosse-Platiere on flute.

Anje Thierbach on oboe; Benjamin Kahleyss on oboe.

Rico Wolff on clarinet; Marco Dommus on clarinet.

Sebastian Pietsch on bassoon; Rainer Walenta on bassoon.

Richard Mosthaf on horn; Henrik Moderegger on horn.

Frank Tietze on trumpet; Andreas Weitzer on trumpet; Martin Sander on trumpet.

Burkhard Gotze on trombone and Sören Fries on trombone.

Special guest: Dado Villa-Lobos on vocals and guitar.

Whisper is an album with immediate appeal, featuring tranquil and ear friendly Brazilian tropical music.


Reunion of Tropicalia Trailblazers

Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil – “Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live” (Nonesuch, 2016)

Singer-songwriters and guitarists Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are two of the most influential and popular musicians of their generation in Brazil. The Tropicalia movement pioneers are also good friends and have been collaborating since the early 1960s. The album “Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live” brings the two lifelong friends back together for a fabulous set of memorable acoustic bossa and samba songs mostly penned by Veloso and Gil.

The live album is a two-disc set that contains an entire live show recorded in 2015 for Brazilian TV, during the Dois Amigos tour.

“Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live” includes some of the artists’ most popular songs such as “Coração Vagabundo,” “Desde que o Samba é Samba,” “Expresso 2222,” “Esotérico,” “Drão.” Although most of the song are in Portuguese, the two songwriters have many fans abroad so they included additional languages to their repertoire: Tres Palabras” and “Tonada de Luna Llena” are in Spanish, Nine Out of Ten” in English,” and “Come Prima” in Italian. There is also a brand new song titled “As Camélias do Quilombo do Leblon.”

Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil have different vocal styles that work out perfectly. Caetano is known for his sweet, mellow voice, while Gilberto has a deeper voice. Even though both artists are now in their 70s, they still have their unmistakable voices.

“Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live” reveals the intimate side and musical beauty of two of the most important singer-songwriters in Brazil.

Buy the Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live 2-CD version.

There is also a DVD version featuring the performance captured on video and CD as well.


Gauche! / In Gouache ..

Zeca Baleiro
Zeca Baleiro

Given the news that we receive about Brazil daily, that the President will be impeached, that millions are sliding into poverty, that corruption is mining hope’s coal, a song could remind us of Brazil’s first commitment to leftist politics after years of dictatorships all the while also explaining us why Brazil is going through what it is going through. Which song? Brazilians produce many great musicians and songs but perhaps the very best song to tune to is Zeca Baleiro’s “Pastiche” and his singing that someone is told by an angel to stand “gauche!” or with the left but that this person was painted by life in gouache.

Baleiro’s song treats the fundamental contradiction that every citizen in every society has to live with: either doing the right thing or not and being reminded of when has or has not. It does it with lyrics that are resolutely urban and can mock a very sad situation that plagues most contemporary societies. Corruption is what is destroying Brazil and Baleiro sings us the corrupt, survival-obsessed, individual.

The song itself is the sort of samba that can be danced with one’s hands in the air or with each of one’s hands on one’s sides. He sings the song along with a woman’s voice (I can’t seem to find out who this woman is,) and the duo is incredible. The wind instruments are a great addition but it is the song’s rhythm that affects a listener the most. It is a song full of humor, though one should not forget that it is political humor and its reason for being is so that we treat the topic of contradicted and unproductive individualism seriously.

Listening to it will do wonders. It’ll put a fundamental contradiction to music. It’ll remind us that Bossa Nova was the sound of progress and that despite the pain that came after Bossa Nova, Brazilian musicians, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso have always kept hope alive through song. It’ll remind us that human societies both regress and progress but what remains the same is one’s ability to stand in solidarity with the right principles. It’ll also remind us that a political song can be beautifully written enough to read like a poem.

I like to write pastiches

I like to eat pistachios

In a past life I was a whirling dervish

Currently the life I lead is full of satire

An Angel came to me and said: ‘Gauche!’

Life came and painted me in gouache

I dance with a doll

Dressed in a Versace suit

I used to own a chop shop

And dress like an Apache during Carnival

I played a minor character in the movie “A Revanche”

Shared a scene or two with Irene Ravache

All great horses bray

Every scoundrel makes mistakes

I had a band but it had some umph

Nobody’ll step on me, I’m no doormat

I worked from Sunday to Sunday

I’m very fancy, I eat sushi and quiches

Though when I lived at Largo do Arouche

I only ate sandwiches

I became famous by starring in trash movies

It was a horrendous life, O God, o my!

Like everyone else, I do a dream

I’d like to be John Malkovich