All the artists chosen here, though, follow closely the more popular genres of the country’s traditional culture: soul, psychedelic, funk, Brazilian folk music and MPB. Most of the artist’s featured here are not well-known or famous musicians; nonetheless, they have careers with modest degrees of success, and all the albums chosen achieved some level of cult status within the underground counterculture communities, for their unique features, beauty, singular melodies and sagacious originality. Coincidentally, all the albums featured on this list were released in the seventies. Most of these artists are originally from the northeast region of the country, and the most relevant characteristic is the general conciseness prevalent in the records. None of these albums is too extensive. I sincerely hope you like them as much as I do.
Di Melo – Di Melo
Singer Di Melo – whose complete name is Roberto de Melo Santos – is sixty-nine years old. He released his second album, Sons, Sacações, Sambas e Tesões in 2014, thirty-nine years after the release of this masterpiece.
Quinteto Violado – Quinteto Violado
This group has a varied and large cast of musicians, being exceedingly active for almost fifty years, releasing in average one record per year, with a discography that comprises thirty-nine albums. The style of the group – which is profusely highlighted in this work – is characterized by deeply profound and authorial experimentalism, yet respecting the proverbial qualities of traditional northeast music, delivering a revolving, but cohesive and dynamic musical density, whose melodies liquefy at the tangential reverberation of proficient and flexible harmonious tonalities. This album in particular has marvelous passages of exceptional beauty, whose creative splendor trespasses genre boundaries, to create a more allegorical and impressionistic outlook on life.
Arnaud Rodrigues – Som do Paulinho
While never renouncing a gracious, but volatile simplicity, this album has a serene and humane tenderness, that revolves around a sensible quest for existential rapture. Coincidentally, Arnaud Rodrigues was born in Serra Talhada, a city located in the northeast state of Pernambuco, the same region where the two previous artists – Di Melo and Quinteto Violado – are from, though both are from another city, Recife, the state’s capital. Rodrigues released twelve albums, beginning in 1970, until 1998. He was also an actor. The singer died in 2010, at sixty-seven years old, in a boat accident.
Egberto Gismonti – Sonho 70
A prolific artist, Gismonti has released more than fifty albums, in a career that in the current year completes five decades. A deeply authorial and original artist – whose musical majesty can be confirmed in the beautiful melodies present in this glorious album – Gismonti knows how to perfectly create genuine and effective harmonies, that are wonderfully consecrated by the preciously visionary tendencies of his versatile, plural and expansive stylish dispositions.
Airto Moreira – Seeds on the Ground
A singular album that features a mixture of elements from jazz, jazz fusion, adult contemporary and Brazilian music, Seeds on the Ground – despite its beautiful melodies – distinguish itself by its exacerbated level of experimentalism. With genuinely fluid musical rhythms, and very flexible melodic overtones, the album reveals itself a majestic and proficient splendorous work, fulfilled by genuinely conceived creative sound tissues, that expands its mordacious serenity all the way through. Singer Flora Purim, Airto Moreira’s wife, sings on this album. Moreira has also enjoyed in the past a considerable degree of notoriety abroad, having participated in Bitches Brew, a 1969 album by Miles Davis.
Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho – Paêbirú: Caminho da Montanha do Sol
Another one of those precious achievements of Brazilian music, Paêbirú is an album that never conquered the level of exposition and recognition it deserves. Nevertheless, it’s dynamic and veracious versatility – as well as a marvelous sense of dynamic artistry – revolves between an expansive and gracefully abstract sound, whose main qualities are a convoluted, but flexible sense of spontaneous and invariable synergy. Despite some minor tedious passages, this album is a canonical work of cult status, whose elegant intensity has conceived an eccentric and exotic milestone, that proudly integrates the extraordinary legacy of the Brazilian national music scene.
Joyce – Passarinho Urbano
The tracks are in this exact order: 1) Joia (written by Caetano Veloso); 2) De Frente Pro Crime (written by Aldir Blanc and João Bosco); 3) Pesadelo (written by Paulo César Pinheiro and Maurício Tapajós); 4) Pelo Telefone (written by Mauro de Almeida and Donga); 5) Pede Passagem (written by Sidney Miller); 6) Marcha da Quarta-feira de Cinzas (written by Carlos Lyra and renowed poet and songwriter Vinicius de Moraes); 7) Opinião (written by Zé Keti); 8) Chora Doutor (written by O. Gazzaneo, J. Campos and J. Piedade); 9) Quatorze Anos (written by the legendary Paulinho da Viola); 10) A História do Samba (written by G. Figueiredo); 11) O Trem Atrasou (written by Pequito, A. Vilarinho and E. Silva); 12) Radiopatrulha (written by J. Diaz Luizinho, M. Ramos and S. de Oliveira); 13) Acorda Amor (written by Julinho da Adelaide); 14) Mudando de Conversa (written by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho and Maurício Tapajós); 15) Fado Tropical (written by Ruy Guerra and Chico Buarque); 16) Bodas (written by Ruy Guerra and Milton Nascimento); 17) Viola Fora de Moda (written by Capinan and Edu Lobo); 18) Passarinho (written by famous poet Mário Quintana and Joyce); an interesting and very exotic album, Passarinho Urbano sounds like a succession of sweet, serene and poetic cantilenas, that talks directly to the restless emptiness of the soul, that is eager to see the end of the day at the forefront of a graceful and exhilarating horizon. A tender, elusive and soft work, this placid record requires an indefinite moment of appreciation, that definitely transforms your musical perceptions into a majestic and expansive channel of innocent and energized sensitivity.
Sivuca – Sivuca
Originally from Paraíba – another state located in northeast Brazil, a region that is pulverized with the smaller states of the country – Sivuca had a long and prolific career, having released more than thirty albums. The musician died in December, 2006, at seventy-six years old.
Quinteto Armorial – Quinteto Armorial
While the band was somewhat short-lived, it is considered today one of the most important groups in Brazil to conceive a subgenre of chamber music basically influenced by popular regional rhythms, and their body of work comprises a respectable legacy that remains appreciated today in erudite circles.
Ave Sangria – Ave Sangria
Although the group’s style is direct, straight to the point and simple, Ave Sangria was an early exponent of the Brazilian psychedelic rock scene in the regional northeast scene, before achieving national notoriety. The colorful lyrics were exceedingly representative of popular music, and appealed greatly to younger audiences. The LP – at the time of its release – was the subject of controversy and censorship by the military government, due to the song Seu Waldir, whose lyrics contains satirical homosexual references. Today, the group is barely remembered, though their homonymous album remains appreciated by devoted enthusiasts and cult followers.
Flaviola e o Bando do Sol – Flaviola e o Bando do Sol
The vivaciousness present in most of the melodies – even in the apparently melancholic ones – is a witness to the restless life that reverberates in the creative microcosm of the artist, something that was visible in the regional scene from which this singer emerged, and that always had been a standalone quality in Brazilian folk music in general. While this album do feature some generic passages, most of the time its peculiar audacity and proverbial originality reveals an exotic contemporary fable of popular graciousness, that certainly qualifies as a hidden musical treasure that probably will never receive the level of attention it obviously deserves.
Recordando O Vale Das Maçãs – As Crianças da Nova Floresta
While the album was not too innovative nor excellent, As Crianças da Nova Floresta displays a beauty and a brilliance that delivers its own qualities with a virtuous, uninterested and salutary style, that justifies its moderate relevance in an underground level. Recordando O Vale Das Maçãs also contributed to a certain degree to popularize progressive rock among Brazilian audiences. Nevertheless, despite some ordinary grievances, this album has a lucid degree of artistry, that was efficient and competent enough to aggregate a new conjuncture of standards and habits to the national music scene as a whole.