It is a testament to the universality of Bossa Nova that Brazilian Days,
the new Living Music set from saxophonist Paul Winter and guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves,
began life in the loft of Winter’s rural Connecticut barn. It was there in the bright New
England spring that the two old friends and master musicians poured through a virtual
treasure trove of Bossa Nova classics, and began to shape the contours of what would
become their premiere duet album. The results are nothing less than a stunning rebirth of
one of the most influential popular music styles of the last fifty years.
Considering that Winter and Castro-Neves have been friends for more than thirty years,
and have collaborated on many prior projects, it’s a bit surprising that the two had never
recorded a duet album. "It’s been a long-standing dream of ours to do this,"
notes Winter. "Things really started to percolate when we were in Rio together for
the Earth Summit in 1992. We played a series of gigs then, and it was so gratifying, we
knew we simply had to make an album together." Castro-Neves later joined Winter at
his Connecticut home, where the two surveyed a definitive Bossa Nova collection compiled
by famed Brazilian Days music publisher Almir Chediak, jamming for several
days and working up arrangements of more than 150 incomparably beautiful songs.
"It was a lot of fun for me," recalls Castro-Neves of the experience.
"It was a way of looking back, of revisiting my past." As one of the true
pioneers of the Bossa Nova movement, Oscar speaks the truth. He was there in Rio de
Janeiro in the late 50’s when geniuses like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto first
blended the impressionistic harmonies of Ravel and Debussy with syncopated rhythms of
Brazilian music. Bossa Nova (Portuguese for "new touch") was born then, and it
changed the world of music forever. Winter and Castro-Neves took their time paring down
150 songs to a manageable number. In March of 1997, Paul and Oscar recorded demos of 50
favorites, and from there the final dozen were chosen. In September of last year, the pair
were joined in the studio by bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Paulo Braga, two seasoned
veterans of the Brazilian Days music scene both here and in Brazil. "It
was a natural match," says Oscar. "Both musically and personally, it was an
atmosphere of sharing." Adds Paul, "We wanted to be totally simple and totally
gentle in the original Bossa Nova tradition."
Paul then packed up the master tapes and took one of his heralded recording expeditions
to the Grand Canyon. He had previously recorded two albums in the pristine outdoor
environment of the canyon. "I had found a wonderful side canyon with amazing
acoustics in 1985," says Winter. "We called it Bach’s Canyon. Because I love how
it feels to play there, I wanted to do my sax parts for Brazilian Days there
too. We back-packed into the canyon in a pair of DA-88 8-track machines, solar power gear,
a mixing board, food and tents for a ten day stay. It was amazing to be this far from
civilization and to put on earphones and hear this exquisite Brazilian Days
music. I closed my eyes and was in heaven."
Most of the songs on Brazilian Days would likely be unfamiliar to North
American audiences, who may readily recall classics like "Girl From Ipanema" and
the theme from "Orpheus," but dont know the bulk of Bossa Nova standards.
"We made no concession to commercialism," says Paul. "We didn’t do the
hits. We wanted to make an album with something of the same ingenuous attitude that Jobim
and Gilberto had when they recorded their first albums in the 50’s."
Some of Bossa Nova’s greatest composers are represented on the new album, Jobim, Carlos
Lyra, Noel Rosa, Vinícius de Moraes, Edu Lobo and Luiz Eça among them. Songs include
"Aula de Matemática," "Coisa Mais Linda," "Feitio de
Oração," "Feio Não É Bonito," "Minha Namorada," "Também
Quem Mandou," "Ana Luíza," "Feitiço da Vila," "Canto
Triste," "Imagem," "Por Causa de Você," and "Se É Tarde me
Perdoa." All are performed with characteristic grace and serenity, with understated
eroticism and playfulness. Though the only non-Brazilian Days in the
quartet, Winter had long ago earned the admiration of his colleagues. "Paul has been
living this music for a long while," says Oscar. "When you listen to the album,
and hear his phrasing, his spirit, you see how well he understands the music."
Winter was one of the first American jazz musicians to go to Brazil and encounter Bossa
Nova first hand. The Pennsylvania-born Winter began studying sax at age nine. At
Northwestern University, he majored in English while absorbing jazz in local Chicago
nightclubs. In 1961, he formed the Paul Winter Sextet, which was soon signed by Columbia
Records. The next year, the group became the first student jazz group ever sent abroad in
a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour. Destination: South America. In June of 1962,
following the Sextets concert in Rio de Janeiro, Paul met a young Brazilian
guitarist named Oscar Castro-Neves. The music of Brazil so enthralled Winter that he
returned in 1964 for a linger visit, spending most of a year living in the Ipanema section
of Rio and recording with Brazilian musicians.
A jazz aficionado since his early teens, Oscar too was swept up in the creative energy
typified by the advent of Jobim and Gilberto. He went on to become one of his nation’s
leading jazz guitarists/composers/arrangers. A move to the United States in the late 60’s
helped him broaden his audience. His old friend Paul Winter enlisted him to join the
increasingly popular Consort, which earned legions of fans of all generations thanks to
albums like Road and Icarus (which was produced by the Beatles’ George Martin, who
described it as "the finest album I’ve ever made").
In 1980 Winter founded Living Music, his own label and home base, which blended Paul’s
love of music and his passion for the natural environments of the earth. The label went on
to release albums by Winter, Castro-Neves (Oscar in 1986), Pete Seeger, and even some that
included non-human voices such as Songs of the Humpback Whale and Earth: Voices of a
Planet. For more than twenty years, the two-time Grammy-winner has been a tireless
crusader to bring music, as well as spiritual and environmental awareness, to a vast
audience, having played in more than 30 countries over the course of his career.
Oscar, meanwhile has enjoyed an equally successful career. He recently teamed with Yo
Yo Ma on the cellist’s chart-topping Tango album, and he served as producer/arranger for
Otmar Leibert’s best-selling album. He tours frequently, and, for the last six summers,
has been the mastermind behind the annual Brazilian Days music night at the
Hollywood Bowl. This summer, in fact, he and Paul will appear to perform music from Brazilian
Days Days. Oscar also co-produced The Brasil Project and Chez Toots, the
most recent Toots Thielemans release on Windham Hill.
Even with their many diverse projects, both Paul and Oscar agree the time has come for
a resurgence of Bossa Nova. "It’s coming back, the same way the music of Parker,
Gillespie, and Coltrane is coming back," notes Castro-Neves. "For many people,
these are the roots of their musical world. Young people are looking for the
sources." Adds Paul, "In the 60’s, Bossa Nova was overcommercialized, and the
simple magic we knew in the beginning was lost. Other kinds of popular music took over.
The world was going too fast, and that quiet moment was trampled over. But this music is
as timely and vital now as it was then. It has stood the test of time."
Visit the Windham Hill website at http://www.windham.com
GUILHERME VERGUEIRO, Amazon Moon
Americans are used to those intrepid individuals who have earned the label of
"bi-coastal." But thats kids stuff for Brazilian
pianist/composer/arranger Guilherme Vergueiro: hes "bi-hemispheric,"
dividing his time between Los Angeles and his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. While racking up
the frequent flier miles, Guilherme has done as much as anyone to spread the gospel of
Brazilian music. Now, with his new Windham Hill Jazz album Amazon Moona
set of Mike Stoller compositions arranged and interpreted by Guilhermethe pianist
bridges two worlds while creating a rich tableau of passionate music.
Stoller and Vergueiro met while the latter was headlining a Hollywood club. The two
formed a fast friendship, nurtured by their mutual love of Brazilian music. The writer of
countless classic pop songs from "Jailhouse Rock" to "Is That All There
Is?," Stoller had long harbored a passion for Brazilian music, finally finding an
outlet through his association with Guilherme. The two teamed up to produce Amazon
Moon, with Guilherme performing and arranging the songs and assembling a
world-class ensemble of musicians. The results are enthralling, but not surprising, given
Guilhermes peerless pedigree in Brazilian music.
Born in São Paulo, Guilherme was the grandson of an acclaimed Brazilian classical
pianist who early on recognized the lads pianistic gift. "He trained me in the
classics," recalls Guilherme, "but my heart took me elsewhere." Instead, he
turned to samba and bossa nova (the music of his homeland) and jazz. As early as 1970, he
was leading his own groups in São Paulo and Rio, playing with such Brazilian legends as
Edison Machado, Agostinho dos Santos, and Leny Andrade.
In the mid 70s, Guilherme moved to New York, serving as musical director at
Cachca, the citys only club specializing in Brazilian music. In 1980, he made his
solo album debut, and from then on, he became one of the most in-demand arrangers,
pianists, touring musicians, and headliners in the genre. Over the years, he has worked
with such artists as Djavan, Don Menza, Chico Buarque and Hugh Masekela, and has toured
with his own group, featuring as special guests such renowned artists as Ron Carter, Wayne
Shorter, Robertinho Silva, and Wallace Rooney. His musical career has taken him to many
nations throughout the world including Denmark, Italy, Spain, France and of course the
U.S. and Brazil.
He has continued to record as well, releasing five solo albums here and in Brazil. In
1995, he founded Brazil On Line Publishing, an internet site dedicated to the celebration
of Brazilian culture. His own Mangotree Music Productions serves as his home base from
which Guilherme oversees his varied musical endeavors.
"Im a lucky man," says the artist. "Ive been all over the
world, and everywhere I go, the response to Brazilian music is marvelous. The music never
lets me, or my audiences, down." As for his special relationship with his instrument,
his words are echoed in his extraordinary playing. "The piano is so wonderful,"
notes Guilherme. "Theres always something new to discover. If you treat her
right, the piano always gives something back."
As the artistry on Amazon Moon makes evident, one can safely say the same
about Guilherme Vergueiro himself.
Visit the Windham Hill website at http://www.windham.com
Lani Hall first discovered her deep love for the exotic, indigenous rhythms and lilting
melodies of Brazilian Music in the late 60s and early 70s when she was lead singer with
Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66. After years of subsequent success as a solo artist
(culminating with a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance in 1986), she took a break
from the music business. Now, focused once more on her musical career, Hall is currently
re-exploring her earliest passions on her Windham Hill Jazz debut, Brasil Nativo,
which features fresh and unique arrangements of Brazilian songs, both classic and more
obscure, some sung in English, others in their native Portuguese.
Co-produced by Hall and husband/musician Herb Alpert, and co-arranged by Hall and
pianist/arranger Eddie del Barrio, Brasil Nativo is an intimate statement of
the way she hears and feels Brazilian music. For Hall, it also grew to be a richly
rewarding year and a half; researching the project and finding material was a true labor
"I am always looking to be inspired, and when I started listening to some of my
old Brazilian albums I felt the music waking up inside of me, moving and touching me on a
deeper level. With Herbs encouragement, I nursed the idea along and realized that
this project would be about finding my own voice once again through this unique and
"Once I had narrowed the selection down, arranging became a very personal
experience. Having the blank canvas of a song with so many possibilities, I had to dig
inside to find my interpretations without losing the integrity of the music. My intention
was to present these songs in a way that theyve never been heard before. Thats
where Eddie del Barrio was so selfless. He urges me to go within myself and use his vast
knowledge to help interpret how I heard the songs live and breathe from a different
Hall sang phonetically, in Portuguese, but two of the selections, the opening track,
"Três Curumins (Three Young Indians)" and the title song are sung in a native
Amazon Indian language. "Authenticity and emotion are very important to me," she
explains. "Singing and phrasing a translated English lyric can change the feeling and
intention of a song, and I find the sound of the Portuguese language very musical, earthy
and soulful. I know the meaning of the songs through English translations, but even if I
didnt, the music and sound of the language transcend intellectual meaning for me and
shoot straight to the heart. Each song is like a flower opening up, exposing new color and
fragrance, strength and fragility."
Legendary Brazilian singer/songwriter Dori Caymmi was featured on the album as well as
being an integral part in the recording, contributing three songs, three vocals and
playing his acoustic guitar on eight out of eleven tracks. Hall says, "I have known
Dori since the late 60s and I had sung some of this material with Brazil 66. His
music has always touched me and I wanted to include him in this album. He came to my home
and we played and sang together and it felt so natural and right. There is something about
the blend of our voices that just works."
Aside from Alperts trademark trumpet solos and Eddie del Barrios keyboards
and string arrangements, Brasil Nativo also features some of Los
Angeles top studio talent: bassists Jimmy Johnson, Nathan East and Chuck Domanico,
drummer Michael Shapiro (a later part of Mendes band), Heitor Pereira on additional
guitars and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa.
The rising rhythms behind Halls subtle yet urgent voice and Alperts wild,
driving trumpet solos on the opening track, "Três Curumins," describe the
important environmental theme of the song; Hall is singing to three Amazon Indian children
of a native tribe, telling them to leave their land before encroaching civilization
destroys their forests completely. After a wistful bossa nova duet with Dori singing in
English and Lani caressing in Portuguese on the Chaplin classic, "Smile," the
two engage their lush vocal harmonies over a driving baião rhythm on "Viola Fora De
Moda/Zanzibar," with Herbs muted trumpet dancing on the end. Hall sings of the
haunting loneliness and pain of lost love in Portuguese and her own English lyric on
"Velho Piano," ("No Place to Hide"). Lani and Herb vocally and
musically play off one another on the hypnotic title track, "Brasil Nativo,"
co-written by Doris brother, Danilo Caymmi.
Hall paints the well known "Mas Que Nada" into an exotic blend whose
landscape is intensified by her primitive/sacred interpretation, jungle percussion, moody
orchestral underscoring and the relentless heartbeat of the tracks primitive drum.
Dori and Lani then blend seamlessly on the tender "História Antiga," followed
by the beautiful Ivan Lins song, "Saudades De Casa," ("Meant to Be"),
to which Hall wrote the romantic English lyric that is dedicated to Herb.
"Varadero" slips around on sustaining bossa nova rhythms as Alperts smokey
flugel horn weaves in and out of Lanis sensuous vocal, sung in Portuguese and her
own English lyric. Closing the collection are the dramatic, prayer-like ballad "Amor
De Índio"- a powerful demonstration of Halls vast vocal range- and her deeply
poetic reading of Antonio Carlos Jobims classic, "Waters of March."
Lani was 19 years old, singing in an Old Town club on Wells Street in her native
Chicago when Sergio Mendes heard her and asked her to join his newly formed Brazil
66 ensemble. "Id been singing mostly folk rock and jazz," she
recalls. "When Stan Getz popularized Brazilian I became a huge fan. I remember the
first time I heard Sergio I said to myself, Oh thats the sound I love!"
When I joined the band, however, I had no clue that the music would vibrate in me so
The band was auditioning for A&M Records in 1966 when Hall met the labels
co-owner Herb Alpert. Brazil 66 became the opening act for Alpert and his Tijuana
Brass and wound up recording seven albums for A&M with Hall as the lead singerHerb
Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 (1966); Equinox and Look Around
(1967); Fool on the Hill (1968); Ye Me Le (1969); Crystal Illusions (1970);
and Stillness (1971).
In the 70s Hall launched a solo career, performing her brand of pop/folk/jazz around
the world and releasing seven solo albums from 1972 (Sundown Lady) through 1982 (Albany
Park). Her Collectibles recording in 1983 featured the title song for the
popular James Bond movie Never Say Never Again, which marked the re-emergence of
Sean Connery as 007. Hall recorded her first solo Brazilian album A Brasileira in
1981 before a very fruitful period exploring Latin music and recording in Spanish with
Latin superstars Jose Jose, Jose Feliciano, Camilo Sesto and Roberto Carlos. Her mid-80s
output also led to her most notable industry achievements to date, a Grammy nomination for
1982s Lani and a 1986 Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance (Es
A desire to leave the road, become a "normal" person, work on self-discovery
and to raise her and Alperts daughter led Hall to retire from active recording in
the mid-80s; during this period, however, she began writing fiction and learning about
video editing. She produced and edited a TV special, "The Very Best of Herb
Alpert," in the early 90s.
"Ultimately, it was the blend of primitive and classical influences in Brazilian
Music that led me back to recording," she says of her recent re-awakening. "To
me, the music is both holy and of the earth, lifting the spirit to a higher place yet at
the same time pulling you to its deeper roots. That juxtaposition thrill inspires me, and
that is what I wanted to capture. I started out wanting to be completely authentic but I
found that I couldnt help but carve my own American musical sensibility into the
songs and arrangements while also feeling a sense of loyalty and devotion to the high
integrity of the music."
The previous generation of world music lovers will remember Lani Hall quite fondly and
welcome her return. Younger fans of the music will no doubt also be fascinated at a new
discovery, the way she approaches these songs, her phrasing and emotional shifts. Like the
music she loves so well and has taken such great care with, Brasil Nativo is
a timeless testament to the rhythm of love and life itself.
Visit the Windham Hill website at http://www.windham.com
CDs or Books
by Keyword, Title or Author
By Brazzil Magazine
As seen in VIP magazine
Noel Rosa, one of Brazil’s most gifted composers will
soon have his life told on the big screen by director Ricardo Van Steen in the film Poeta
da Vila (Poet of Vila). Rosa was so called because he was from the Rio neighborhood of
Vila Isabel. The sambista, author of such classics as "Conversa de
Botequim" (Bar Talk) and "Com Que Roupa" (With Which Clothes), died in 1937
at the tender age of 27, a victim of tuberculosis. Van Steen hasn’t yet set his mind on
the actor who will play the composer, but he has already chosen the actress who will play
Lindaura, the poet’s wife.
She is the young model and rising TV star Camila Pitanga, who
became a household name in Brazil after appearing at Globo network miniseries Sex
Appeal (in English like that), which portrayed the life of models. That was the same
show that also revealed two other promising actresses: Luana Piovani and Carolina
Dieckman. She also appeared as Patrícia in the novela (soap opera) A Próxima
(The Next Victim) and then in another novela: Malhação
(Pumping Iron). Now, at 21, she is dedicating herself to the theater. She is one of the
rare young female beauty celebrities who has steadfastly refused a million-dollar offer to
disrobe for Brazilian Playboy and other skin publications. "This is a gift, a
big opportunity life has given me," said the grateful model and actress. "I am
starting with the right foot."
"Poeta da Vila," budgeted at $5 million, is based on
the biographic book written by Carlos Didier and João Máximo, but director Van Steen has
already warned that he will not be telling the story of Rosa or the samba: "I want to
talk about the love triangle formed by Noel, Lindaura, and Ceci."
The premature death of Leandro from the country-music duo
Leonardo and Leandro immersed Brazil in deep sorrow during a time when the seleção (the
national soccer team) was cause for some apprehension, but mainly for celebration to the
whole country. The intensity of the collective outpouring of grief was a surprise to
Brazilians themselves since the singer wasn’t a star and his music genre is snubbed by
most of the nation’s intelligentsia.
Leandro, whose real name was Luiz José Costa, was 36. He died
June 23 of multiple-organ failure caused by a giant and rare Askin tumor in his thorax.
Chemotherapy, two surgeries, nothing was able to deter the cancer, which took over
practically the whole right side of Leandro’s chest. It was April 20 and Leandro was
fishing in a farm in the state of Tocantins when he felt the pain that took him to the
hospital and the discovery of his cancer. It was too late though and the tumor was already
as big as an orange. Crowds had gathered outside the Hospital São Luiz in São Paulo’s
south zone, since he had returned to the hospital after a cardiac arrest at home.
On April 28, Leandro came to the U.S. At Baltimore’s Johns
Hopkins hospital he underwent a biopsy that confirmed his Brazilian doctors cancer
diagnostic. During his brief stay in the hospital Leandro used to sing the title song of
his just-released posthumous album. It was the favorite tune of his career he said.
Naively plain as all their songs, "Um Sonhador" (A Dreamer) brings now a
harrowing feeling of premonition:
Eu não sei para onde eu vou
pode até não dar em nada
minha vida segue o sol
no horizonte desta estrada.
I don’t know where I’m going
It might well amount to nothing
My life follows the sun
On this road’s horizon
The singer, who loved to dress well and to smile, appeared
balddue to the chemotherapyrolled into a Brazilian flag at his São Paulo
apartment balcony celebrating Brazil’ soccer victory over Scotland. The dramatic image
moved the country and even led President Cardoso to call the singer’s family to wish them
Leandro left three children: Tiago, 13; Lyandra, 3; and Leandro,
five months. He had been married and divorced twice. The mother of the two smaller
children is former model Andréa Motta from whom he had separated a short time before
knowing about his cancer.
During the 10-hour-long wake in São Paulo in the Palácio 9 de
Julho, the state assembly building, Leandro’s body was seen by a crowd of at least 20,000
people. Among the anonymous mob, who cried, prayed and sang some of the duo’s hits, there
were several celebrities and politicians. São Paulo state governor Mário Covas was there
and so was senator Eduardo Suplicy, São Paulo mayor Celso Pitta, and former Justice
Minister Íris Rezende.
Luciano, from another famed sertanejo duo, Zezé Di
Camargo e Luciano, fainted. Chitãozinho and Xororóstill another duo and
Roberta Miranda also came for the farewell. The Fire Department truck transported the
Brazilian-flag bedecked casket when it was time to take it to the Congonhas airport on its
way to Goiânia.
Close to 100,000 people, including Vice-President Marco Maciel
representing President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, followed the singer’s body to the Jardim
das Palmeiras cemetery for the burial on June 24. Said Maciel: "Leandro left a void
and examples of love to the people and the music."
In Campos, state of Rio, 17-year-old Lídia da Silva Lima, soon
after listening to the news of her idol’s death, placed the duo’s record with the cut
"Pense em Mim" (Think of Me) and drank rat poison. She died 15 minutes after
arriving at the hospital to where she was rushed.
Record TV network was rewarded for dropping its programmed world
cup games in favor of the singer’s death wall-to-wall live coverage. Record, which was
getting a ridiculous 1% rating in the games jumped to a up to 24% rating, what placed it
in first place among all TV channels. That’s what happened for example during the
broadcasting of Austria vs. Italy. So enthusiastic was Record with the instant feedback
given by Ibope, the Brazilian Nielsen, that it almost skipped the game of Brazil against
Reporters Silvana Silva and Célia Serafim ended up crying on the
air while showing the crowd emotions and Disk Record host Gilberto Barros seemed at times
more like a fire-and-brimstone preacher, screaming among other things: "Leandro did
not win the battle against death, but for us he became a national hero."
When the day games ended, the other networksGlobo,
Manchete, and SBTjoined in the mourning with news and specials about Leandro. The
next morning all of them covered live the funeral in Goiânia preempting the France vs.
Denmark world cup game.
The shock over Leandro’s death and the feeling of personal loss
seem to stem from the fulminating power of the crooner’s cancer. It took only two months
from the day he felt strong back pains to the day he died. Some analysts also pointed out
the agrarian origin of most of the population and a worldwide trend to value the simple
and the country style represented by the sertaneja music.
Leandro was born August 15, 1961, the third of eight children.
Their father, Avelino Virgulino, played viola (five-to-fourteen-string guitar) and
Leandro started to play the guitar as a child. He and his seven siblings didn’t have time
to school though. Very early in life they started to pick up tomatoes with their parents
who worked for a farmer in Goianápolis. To do their job the family had to wake up at 4 in
the morning and walk six miles to be at work at 6.
In 1980, Leandro started to sing by himself in Goianápolis bars,
after a day of work in the fields. It was 1983 when they decided to leave for Goiânia to
try the show business. "Don’t worry," said Carmen Divina, the mother. "If
it doesn’t work you’ll always have a home to come back to." They never had to.
Their first gig was at the Canta Viola (Sing, Viola) nightclub.
They would soon adopt the new moniker. Luís José and Emival Eterno became Leandro and
Leonardo. At the time, Leandro was making a living as a salesman in a clothes shop while
Leonardo worked in a pharmacy. They got the inspiration for their name from the twins
fathered by the pharmacist.
Their first record in 1983an independent
productionwas ignored. It was producer Moacir Machado, who that same year invited
them to record for the 3M label after listening to them on a tape. "Solidão"
(Loneliness) was their first regional hit, a song by Zezé Di Camargo, an unknown at the
time, who would also become a country music sensation. Brazilian sertaneja music
makes extensive use of duos. Leandro used to sing harmonies while his brother sang lead.
In 1985, their first CD, Leandro & Leonardo – Volume 1,
with "Contradições" (Contradictions), sold 150,000 copies. The second,
in 1987, containing "Solidão" (Loneliness) was a bigger success, selling
250,000 discs. In 1989, with their third album and the hit song "Entre Tapas e
Beiaw6kx," (Amid Slaps and Kisses), they sold 1.3 million records. That was the CD that
made them a national phenomenon. Except for the last album called Um Sonhador, all
their CDs had the same name. There were 11 Leandro & Leonardo discs, distinguished
from each other by a number.
They reached the top in 1990 with the release by the Continental
label of their fourth CD with "Pense em Mim" (Think of Me), a catchy and
saccharine tune about a man whose ladylove interest has eyes for another man. The tune
sold 2.9 million copies and hit a chord with the middle and upper middle class in the
South of the country. They were received by President Fernando Collor de Mello at Casa da
Dinda, the presidential residence at the time.
This closeness to power brought also some heartache to the
singing brothers. They were involved in a suit against Goiás governor, Agenor Resende,
who in 1994 was accused of misuse of public funds. In exchange for 30 shows they had a
runway and a lake built in their farm in Jussara, state of Goiás.
They had abandoned their cowboy outfits and adopted a dignified
suited look. "Our secret is to play music that people like to listen to and to not
complicate," Leandro told Brazilian Playboy. In 1991 they became the first sertanejo
artists to perform at Rio’s sophisticated pop music temple Canecão. It was their
A chorus of nouveaux riches, socialites and members of the
thinking elite sang "Pense em mim." By then, they were selling more records than
kid TV presenter Xuxa and romantic balladeer "King" Roberto Carlos, this one a
best-seller for decades. Unheard for a country group they got their own monthly program on
Globo network in 1992, the same year in which they also became cartoon characters.
Differently from their predecessor, the caipiras
(hillbilly)Leandro hated to be called a caipira singerwho sang about
cattle and farms, the sertanejo crooners talk about love, lust and sex in their
lyrics, as revealed in "Paz na Cama" (Peace in Bed):
Se de dia a gente briga
De noite a gente se ama
é que nossas diferenças
Acabam no quarto
Em cima da cama.
If we fight by day
By night we make love
Because our differences
End in the bedroom
On the top of the bed
Leandro and Leonardo have sold 20 million discs, including the
2.8 million for Pense em Mim, a record in the Brazilian music industry only broken
recently by the pagode group Só Pra Contrariar. With the difference that the sertanejo
duo sold their close-to-three-million when the record industry had only half the size it
Passed their prime they were selling about 500,000 of their
latest CDs. In their wake, other duos like Zezé Di Camargo & Luciano and João Paulo
& Daniel were able to be very successful. When Leandro fell sick, Leandro and Leonardo
were still very active and in demand doing two shows a week, charging a minimum of $45,000
for presentation. And with two "best of" CDs in Spanish they were poised to
conquer Latin America.
They signed with BMG Ariola in October 1997. Um Sonhador (A
Dreamer) was supposed to be the first of a series of new albums. Even though their records
didn’t sell more than 1 million copies since 1995, BMG on the strength of the tragedy has
released their last effort with an initial 1.5 million copies.
By Douglas Maio, Zé
Invés de você ficar pensando nele
Se lembre que eu
Think of Me
Instead of thinking of him
"All I want is to rest a little, my daughter," said
Lúcio Costa, 96, in his husky, almost-inaudible voice, after drinking in bed from the
coffee and milk cup offered by his daughter Maria Elisa who was sitting by his side, at
his modest Rio apartment. Then he covered his face with his hands and let his head fall to
the side. No pain, no prolonged disease. The man who created Brasília closed his eyes and
peacefully went away. It was about 9 AM, June 13. As a friend observed: "He died like
a little bird."
British urbanist William Holford, president of the jury that in
1957 chose Costa’s project as the winning entry in the competition for building Brasília,
commented: "His project is a work of genius and one of the greatest contributions to
What are your plans for the future, asked Ronaldo Brasiliense,
the reporter for Correio Braziliense, Brasília’s most respected daily.
"Simply to die," answered Lúcio Costa. "I dream with a tomb at the São
João Batista cemetery, which I’ve already bought." It was October 6, 1997, and
according to Correio, this was the last interview from the architect and urbanist
who created Brasília, Brazil’s modern capital. Costa was 95 then and received the
journalist in his apartment in Leblon, in the south zone of Rio. Lucid till the end, he
revealed that he would have done all exactly the same if he were offered another chance to
redo his plans for the creation of the Brazilian capital.
Costa got his wish to be buried at the São João Batista, in the
Botafogo neighborhood. Friends and relatives, though, complained about the little concern
Rio’s authorities showed for his death. State governor Marcello Alencar and Rio’s mayor
Luiz Paulo Conde didn’t show up at the burial.
Long-time friend filmmaker Luiz Carlos Barreto interpreted the
feelings of many others when he said: "This is a vexing and scandalous situation that
a man of such importance is not paid homage neither by City Hall nor by the state
government." Barreto thought that the authorities should have organized a public wake
at the Culture Ministry building, one of the architect’s many projects for the city.
Cristovam Buarque, the District Federal governor, however, came
from Brasília for the funeral. Buarque has presented legislator two proposals: to give
the name Lúcio Costa to the so-called eixo monumental (monumental axis) in the
center of Brasília and to erect a monument to the city’s creator.
The architect’s father was Joaquim Ribeiro da Costa, a naval
engineer from Bahia, and his mother, Alina Ferreira from the state of Amazonas. The
architect was born in Toulon, France, on February 27, 1902, and lived in England and
Switzerland. He was already 16 when he moved to Brazil in 1918. It was his father without
consulting him who enrolled the son at Escola Nacional de Belas-Artes (National School of
Fine Arts) setting the path that would make him famous worldwide. He graduated in
Costa had a collection of prestigious international titles and
memberships. He was a Doctor Honoris Causa by Harvard University since 1960, and member of
the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and
France’s Académie d’Architecture. French President Georges Pompidou awarded him in 1970
the country’s most prestigious medal, the Légion d’Honneur. Despite all the international
titles, however, he was never made a honorary citizen by Brasília, the city that he
created. "This does not bother me," he stated in his last interview.
"I am neither a capitalist nor a socialist, I am not a
religious or an atheist," he used to say to those willing to pin him down. He never
became wealthy and in the last years of his life he survived thanks to the $1.200 monthly
pension he received for his lifetime work as a public servant. In his rundown apartment
the blinders were rusting, the carpet worn down, and the sofa torn apart.
Costa always reminded people that he got the Brasília assignment
in 1957 in a public competition not as favor. The work was concluded in record time and
Brasília became Brazil’s new capital on April 21, 1960. He recalled in an interview that
he was on a ship going back to Brazil from the United States when he decided to apply for
a chance to build a new city. "All in Brasília was creation, it came from my head.
It wasn’t based in anything but my background as architect and urbanist," he said
The idea was to move Brazil’s capital from an overcrowded Rio to
a barren plateau in the geographic center of the country. It was President Juscelino
Kubitschek de Oliveira (1956-1960) wish that the creation of the new capital would spur
the development of Brazil’s hinterland. A monument to modern architecture, Brasília has
joined Venice and China’s Great Wall in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The city was conceived as a celebration and a reminder of the
balance of the three powers. The Supreme Court, Congress and the Presidential Palace are
side by side at the end of the east-west main axis while the ministerial and other
government buildings sit on both sides of the ample avenue. A second axis laid in a
north-south direction houses residential districts. Superquadras (superblocks) for
specific commerce and businesses were also created. Streets have no names, only number and
letters. The city has been called hostile to pedestrians by Brasilienses (Brasília
The explosive growth of Brasília always worried the Lúcio
Costa. In his plan the city would have 500,000 residents by the year 2,000. Brazil’s
capital, however, is close to reach 2 million people. Even though he had asked that the
city controlled its growth, Costa was proud of his creation. After one of his last visits
to the city he commented: "The truth is the dream was smaller than reality. And the
reality was bigger and more beautiful than the dream.”
The urbanist’s work was always overshadowed by that of Oscar
Niemeyer who was responsible for designing most of the important buildings in the new
capital. "I created Brasília, the project is mine," says Lúcio Costa when
asked if the paternity of the city should be shared with architect Oscar Niemeyer. He
recognizes, however, that many buildings, like the Alvorada Palace and the Cathedral,
created by Niemeyer became the striking post cards of the new capital.
It’s been constantly repeated that the so-called Plano Piloto
(Pilot Plan) for Brasília was inspired by the shape of a plane. "Nonsense,"
said Costa. "That is ridiculous. That’s an acceptable analogy, but it would be total
imbecility to make a city in the shape of an airplane. So it looks like a cross for those
who like a cross, dragonfly, spaceship or bow and arrow. Each one sees whatever he wishes
Which is the second best ad agency in the world? American giant
TBWA Chiat/Day that’s the one. The Yankee company got its runner-up prize during the
recent 45th Cannes International Advertising Festival. And who came in first getting the
Agency of the Year title? DM9DBB, the Brazilian ad agency which has the Microsoft account
in Brazil and is the fifth largest advertising company in the country, having earned $262
million in 1997.
The prestigious Cannes prize is awarded to agencies that sum the
most points in several categories including for nomination in all existing categories. The
Brazilian agency earned 10 points, for example, for getting the Grand Prix. Created a mere
9 years ago, DM9 has been romancing the first spot for some time. It came in third in 1997
and in second in 1993. The agency, which is responsible for the current reelection
campaign of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, is led by colorful adman Nizan Guanaes.
Doctor Enéas Carneiro, Brazilian presidential by diminutive
Prona (Partido da Reedificação da Ordem NacionalParty for the Rebuilding of the
National Order) might be short in chances for winningpolls give him less than 5% of
the votesbut he is certainly rich in promises. Among them he is vowing to end the
problem of the Brazilian street kids taking them all from the streets. As a guarantee that
he will stick to his promise he vows to renounce if the problem is not solved in six
months. In another front, the candidate and medical doctor, who is running for the second
time in a row, guarantees that he will build Brazil’s A-bomb "so the world will know
we are no illiterate Indians."
He was an ilumnist and one of the fathers of the Brazilian
intelligentsia. Almost single-handedly he created the social sciences library of modern
Brazil and for 40 years maintained and enriched it. Every student of humanities in Brazil
encountered in the books they studied his last name, which was also the name of his
publishing house. This man was publisher and editor Jorge Zahar, who died in Rio, on June
11 at age 78, during a surgery to change a mitral valve.
He was behind the Portuguese-version of such luminaries as
Sigmund Freud, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Wilhelm Reich, Melanie
Klein, Jean Piaget, Jacques Lacan, Rosa Luxemburg, and Leon Trotsky. He was also the one
who gave a literary presence, among others to Brazilian leftist thinkers like economist
Maria da Conceição and President Fernando Henrique in his pre-politician phase.
Fearless in his cultural pursuit, this intellectual dared to
publish Karl Marx in the late ’60s, the most repressive phase of Brazil’s military
dictatorship (1964-1985). Between 1965 and 1969 Zahar Editores published O Capital (Das
Kapital) and A Ideologia Alemã (German Ideology) by Karl Marx as well
as Literatura e Revolução (Literature and Revolution) by Trotsky and the
1848 Manifesto Comunista (Communist Manifesto), from 1848, besides several
works by French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. He specialized in publishing books that
most of his colleagues would not touch due to its political explosiveness and high
A self-made intellect, Zahar, who was born in Campos, state of
Rio de Janeiro, from a Lebanese father and French mother, never finished second grade.
This didn’t prevent him from being an avid reader and a true intellectual. "What
matters to me," he once said, "is not essentially the profit, but the bigger
pleasure of publishing works for college students and intellectuals."
One of the most successful works published by Zahar was Leo
Huberman’s A História da Riqueza do Homem (Man’s Worldly Goods). First
published in 1962, this work that became the vade mecum of Brazilian revolutionaries, has
already had more than 300,000 copies printed, a feat in a country where some bestsellers
sell as little as 3,000 copies.
It was in 1947 that Jorge Zahar and brothers Ernesto and Luciano
founded, in downtown Rio, Livraria Ler (Read Bookstore). Zahar Editores would appear 9
years later. Their first book: Manual de Sociologia (Sociology Manual) by Runney
and Meier, soon followed by Otto Maria Carpeaux’s Uma Nova História da Música (A
New History of Music). Along 40 years he would publish close to 2000 titles by foreign and
After selling his interest on Editora Zahar in 1983, the
publisher started Jorge Zahar Editor with his children Ana Cristina and Jorge Júnior with
the same philosophy of his old publishing house. He was the last of a generation of
publishing idealists that also included Alfredo Machado and Ênio Silveira. Zahar was
still a French wine lover and connoisseur and a movie buff, who started a film magazine in
the ’40s: Filme.
Zahar Main Titles:
Uma Nova História da Música by Otto Maria Carpeaux
História da Riqueza do Homem by Leo Huberman (1962)
O Eu Dividido by Ronald Laing (1963)
Psicopatologia da Vida Cotidiana by Sigmund Freud (1964)
As Fontes do Inconsciente by Melanie Klein (1964)
A Ideologia Alemã by Karl Marx (1965)
O Capital by Karl Marx (1967)
Análise Crítica da Teoria Marxista by Louis Althusser
Eros e Civilização by Herbert Marcuse (1968)
Revolução na Comunicação by Marshall McLuhan (1968)
Arte e Alienação by Herbert Head (1968)
Literatura e Revolução by Leon Trotsky (1969)
Reflexões de um Cineasta by Sergei Eisenstein (1969)
O Teatro Engajado by Eric Bentley (1969)
Vida e Obra de Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones (1970)
Dependência e Desenvolvimento na América Latina by
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1970)
Rebeldes Primitivos by Eric Hobsbawn (1970)
Capitalismo Dependente e Classes Sociais na América Latina by
Florestan Fernandes (1973)
O Seminário, Livro 1 by Jacques Lacan (1979)
Carnavais, Malandros e Heróis by Roberto Damatta (1979)
O Riso by Henri Bergson (1980)
O Suicídio by Emile Durkheim (1983)
Dicionário de Música Zahar (1984)
Os Anos de Autoritarismo with text by Paulo Francis, Paul
Singer, Yan Michalski and others (1985)
Dicionário do Pensamento Marxista by Tom Bottomore (1988)
Dicionário do Balé e Dança by A. J. Faro and Luiz Paulo
O Processo Civilizador (9 volumes) by Norbert Elias
(during the ’90s)
Sobre a Televisão by Pierre Bourdieu (1997)
Escritos by Jacques Lacan (1998)
One is a veteran from the state of Paraíba, the other a recent
revelation from Maranhão. The first is Zé Ramalho, the second Zeca Baleiro, two
musicians from two different generations representing the fertile northeastern poetry and
Together Zé and Zeca have recorded "Bienal" the
title refers to São Paulo international and traditional art biennial a satire
poking fun at the contemporary art world. The tune was written by Baleiro and will be one
of the cuts of the musicians eagerly waited second CD to be released in 1999. Irreverent
and cutting-edge, "Bienal" rhymes the Baiana (from Bahia) food vatapá
with New York graffiti artist Basquiat. "The tune might have as subtitle: The
struggle of the dematerialized matter," joked Zé Ramalho.
Says Baleiro: "People have always compared Zé Ramalho and
me. It happens that our source is the same: Bob Dylan and the repentistas (popular
improviser singers from the Northeast) ." Four years ago Zeca had already written
another song taunting modern art.
by Zeca Baleiro
Desmaterializando a obra de arte no fim do
Dematerializing the work of art of the end of the millenium
Next time around a civilian and a woman may have a chance, but
the first Brazilian astronaut will be a man, a pilot, and a military. Brazilian
authorities excused themselves telling that they didn’t have a say in the matter since
NASA, the American Space agency, warned that they have no time to train a lay person. The
man chosen to participate in the ambitious sixteen-country International Space Station
(ISS) is FAB’s (Força Aérea BrasileiraBrazilian Air Force) captain-aviator Marcos
César Pontes, 35, from Bauru, in the interior of São Paulo state.
Pontes must have the right stuff. He was picked among five
finalists all of who were scientists or engineers, had impeccable health, extensive
knowledge of English, at least 1,000 hours of flight as jet pilot, and had shown the
ability to work under pressure and stressful situations.
This graduate from world-class ITA (Instituto Tecnológico da
AeronáuticaAeronautic Technological Institute) in São José dos Campos (São Paulo
state) has already flown more than 1.700 hours in combat jets, including the Russian Mig
29 and the Yankee F-15, F-16, and F-18. In 1996 he concluded his postgraduate course in
naval engineering at the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His training at
NASA starts in August even though he is not scheduled to go into space before 2003.
The Brazilian monetary contribution to the project is negligible:
$120 million spread over three years. The $40 billion space-station program will cost $
2,1 billion a year to the participating nations. Brazil will also be in charge of building
a pressurized platform for the cargo bay. The device will serve for storing experiments.
Brazilians are already thinking about their second astronaut and
for that post Thais Russomano, 34, who has a doctorate in aerospace medicine, seems like a
natural candidate. She was the first South American to graduate from the NASA civilian
astronaut course taught at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio. For Russomano, the
news that AEB (Agência Espacial BrasileiraBrazilian Space Agency) had limited its
selection to military personnel was "a cold shower."
"I was very frustrated," she said, "because I had
prepared all my life for that." The doctor for five years had frequented NASA’s
installations in Houston and Cape Canaveral and endured and passed all the tests that war
pilot Pontes is now going to face. As for the new astronaut, he says that he intends to
prove that the dream is possible. He was only seven when in 1969 American Neil Armstrong
became the first man to walk on the moon surface. "I couldn’t believe it," he
said recently. "I thought that it was all a TV trick."
First Cancun and than the US. If everything works out as
plannedand if globalization is really a two-way streetAmericans soon will be
eating less hamburgers and more quibes (a meat croquette), esfihas
(meat-and-veggies-filled turnover) and other Middle-East-with-a-Brazilian-touch delicacies
from El Habib, a ten-year old Brazilian food franchise. After conquering BrazilEl
Habib has opened 105 restaurants across the countrythe fast-food chain plans to go
worldwide starting next year. The beach resort of Cancun was chosen as the first stop in
the expansion program due to its international tourist population. But Cancun should be
just the entrance door to the US and the rest of the world.
Brazilian consular officers in New York were expecting to move
into spacious new installations on Avenue of the America close to the district known as
Little Brazil. They became homeless instead and were forced by the US to take all of its
belongings and personnel to a cramped office on Fifth Avenue already being used by the
Brazilian government trade office.
After 50 years in the traditional Rockefeller Center, the
Brazilian consulate needed to save some money and at the same time find larger quarters in
which to house several offices now spread all over town. With a signed lease they
communicated their new address to the US State Department sure that it would be a mere
formality. Surprise. The answer was no. There would be no move before the Brazilian
government agrees to heed an old Yankee revendication : exemption of the social security
debt that the US has in Brazil. Without this the American government cannot sell the
properties it bought in Rio when the city was still the capital of Brazil.
Washington argues that the Vienna Convention exempts diplomatic
representation from tributes in the host country. Brasília counter-argues that it cannot
do anything for the US without changing the law. For the record, as of December 1997, only
seven of 87 foreign diplomatic representations in Brazil were paying their social security
dues. With the US reprisal, the tax discussion that had been dragging its feet for more
than one year now is getting the fast track.
The Brazilian IRS has discovered recently that among its
contributors there are 200,000 people who are older than 100. It also found out that more
than 2.500 haven’s yet celebrated their first birthday. In brief, from the 104 million
names on its list, the federal revenue service (Receita Federal) believes that 64 million
shouldn’t be there. Many of them are dead, others have been registered more than once,
don’t exist or are too young.
To clean its database, the Receita is starting from scratch and
asking every single contributor to reapply for a new number. People will have a second
chance next year. Then, by 2000 who hasn’t re-applied will have its CPF (Cadastro de
Pessoa FísicaNatural Person Register) canceled, and become unable to do things like
getting a job, opening a bank account or buying a car. Brazilians living overseas who want
to keep their old CPF may use the Receita’s address in the Internet: http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br
For the renewal people are asked to give their CPF number, birth
date, voting registration (título de eleitor) number and information on
properties, cars, and bank accounts they might have.
Is passion on the wane in Rio? In the last three years at least
15 motelsin Brazil they are synonym for love nesthave closed their doors and
their movement has fallen by 30% in recent months. Blame it on lack of money and not lack
of hormones, says Rio’s Sindicato dos Hotéis, Bares and Similares (Hotels, Bars and
Alike). To deal with the crisis and draw clients the motels are reducing rates and
inventing other promotions.
Motel Panda in the south neighborhood of Botafogo, for example,
on weekends is allowing people to stay 12 hours for the price of six. Most of the motels,
in which mirrors on the walls and often on the ceiling are de rigueur, have posted signs
outside with promotions with hefty discounts. Couples are being able now to get suites
with sauna and swimming pool for less than $30 and a more modest suite for $15.
A videotape involving 25 girls between the ages of 14
and 18 engaged in hardcore sex became the box-office hit in recent weeks in Rio’s favelas
(shantytown). The girls shown on the tape say they were promised money and jobs and in
some cases were threatened with death to be part of the production. They were all from morro
(hill) de São Carlos.
Bar owners were charging $2 a piece for patrons willing to see
the homemade porno movie. The case became public only after a 15-year-old girl told her
mother that she had been raped. She went to the "authorities"drug dealers,
who are the ones who control many favelasand they brought an end to the
exhibitions. They were afraid real authorities would get involved drawing unnecessary
attention to their trade.
Justice has finally taken action issuing an order for the arrest
of Otávio Barros Filho and Roberto Apolônio. Both, who lived in the favela and
were accused of rape by the girl, disappeared. Barros was the driver of a van who drove
people downtown and Apolônio was the community leader.
Writing for Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil, novelist Roberto
Drummond was the writer who best captured the poetry of the World Cup. Here’s a sample of
his poems in prose:
Não, não vos trago lágrimas, nem funeral.
Trago, brasileiros, esperança e vos convoco para a
Guardai vossas lágrimas, meus irmãos e minhas
Os sonhos são como os rios: não caminham em linha
( ) Não, não é hora de culpar ninguém.
Não é hora de crucificar ninguém.
Que eles nos sirvam de lição.
) Não, não perdemos o penta: estamos
Song of the Brazilian hope
No, I don’t bring you tears or funeral.
I bring, Brazilians, hope and I convoke you for the big march of
Keep your tears, my brothers and my sisters: remember 1966, on
Dreams are like rivers: they don’t walk straight.
( ) No, this is no time to blame anyone.
This is no time to crucify anyone.
Were there mistakes?
May they serve us as a lesson.
) No, we didn’t lose the penta: we are simply
After having created the most inventive front page
during the World Cupthe CBD (Confederação Brasileira de DesportosBrazilian
Confederation of Sports) coat of arms with four and a half stars, the fifth one just half
sewed, taking the entirety of the coverto celebrate the victory against the
Netherlands, Brasília’s daily Correio Brasiliense didn’t scrap the page it had
prepared to celebrate de final victory. Brasil É Penta (Brazil Is Champion for the Fifth
Time) it wrote beside a drawing of Ronaldinho holding the trophy.
And in small letters came the explanation: "This front page
was aborted against the will of millions of Brazilians. It didn’t arrive whole to your
hands because it was barred by the most unhappy and simple question: the Brazilian Seleção
(national team) decided not to enter the field yesterday."
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