You’ve Got to Hear Eduarda Fadini, Heir to the Best Voice Brazil Has to Offer

Eduarda FadiniWhen I hear Eduarda Fadini singing, it comes to my mind that Brazil is not only a storehouse of great soccer players, but also a country that produces great female singers, inexhaustible. Eduarda is an example of it.

Carioca (from Rio de Janeiro), niece of one of the members of the famous bossa nova vocal group Os Cariocas, she appeared on the music scenery as a talented singer and songwriter in the late 90’s.

In 2008, she brought us an amazing work, beautiful and sensitive, Volta, reinterpreting thirteen songs of Lupicínio Rodrigues (1914-1974), one of the great composers of the Brazilian music in the 40’s / 50’s.

With distinctive voice and jazzy style, Volta is a beautiful album, produced by this new crop of Brazilian singers, bringing us beautiful reinterpretations from this brilliant singer: Eduarda Fadini.

In this interview she tells us about her work, influences, her involvement with theater and especially her music.

What does singing means to you?

To exist.

What portrays more, technique or emotion?

Emotion sings loud, emotion with technique sings louder, better and longer.

When did your passion for the music and theater start?

I always knew I would become a singer, singing as a child, my mother use to say I started singing in the crib, friends at school asked me to sing during recess, at the age 16 singing professionally was very natural to me. I wouldn’t be happy doing something else. Also, there is a tradition in the family, I am Valdir Viviani’s niece, who was the first soloist of “The Cariocas”, the most important vocal ensemble of the Bossa Nova era.

I grew up listening to my uncle singing and playing guitar, I was fascinated by him. He used to call me “My Duduca”, I think I became a singer because of him … the theater came little by little in my life, the first acting in which I participated was in college while studying music, was the “3 Penny Opera”, of Brecht and since then acting completes me. It is a great pleasure.

What are the spices for your musicality?

Brazilian music and jazz.

In the end, are you an actress that sings or a singer that acts?

I am an artist who needs the music and theater to express myself. I am an actress when I sing and a singer when I act, the two work together. The theater gave me a deeper significance as a performer, making me go beyond the singer, and the music gave me an understanding of melodic text, allowing me to enjoy the nuances of the words and to find in the vocal technique a fundamental support to perform as an actress.

First of all, let’s talk a little bit about your background, was it important for you to have the Bachelor’s Degree in music from UNI-RIO?

UNI-RIO was very important for my formation, not only because of the academic life that serves to enrich the artist’s vision, chiseled the technique, and amplifying the perspective on humanistic issues, such as the exchange with other artists, teachers and students who are in search for more depth in their work. You start having a much more critical vision on what making art is after spending years of your life in a school of art.

How was your contact with the director of theater José Celso Martinez? And how was it working with the director Sergio Britto?

José Celso always makes an impact wherever he goes and that wasn’t different with me when I attended his workshops. He is an amazing man and his passion for the theater makes everything seem possible. I came out from this experience even more convinced that the only way to make art is investing in what is most essential to its existence as an artist. No matter what they say, if you believe, if it’s genuine, do it. That’s what I learned from Zé Celso.

Sérgio Britto is, perhaps, the most important person in my career, because he believed in me even before I believed in myself. I learned a lot from him, discipline, exhaustive work, the tireless persistence and also the pleasure, generosity and respect for the work and the companions of the stage. Sergio took me by the hand on my debut in professional theater and I’ll always owe a part of who I am to this great artist, who is now a living legend of Brazilian theater.

How was it to participate on the release of Ivan Lins’ Songbook?

It was incredible! I was planning to recording an album with Jesus Chediak, of Lumiar and he invited me to sing at the launch of the Ivan’s Songbook. The Lumiar always makes the release of songbooks with the presence of big names of Brazilian music and the invitation showed their trust in me. I sang “Aos Nossos Filhos”, Ivan’s song, whose lyrics and melody are a very special beauty. I always get emotional when I sing this song and suddenly I found myself there, in front of Ivan himself, singing his song for him … I do not know for sure, but I got into a sort of trance, looking at him and singing, to be awakened by the applause from the packed house. It was very exciting.

You have recorded four albums. Could you tell us a little about the first three? (Calendário / Eduarda Fadini / Lounge MPB)? Was it difficult to start?

The first three CDs were made with pride and I had no structure to do so. The CDs are completely independently designed by Roberto Bahal, pianist, arranger, producer and partner and myself. We had no label, distributor, nothing, it was all on us! We always had incredible musicians at our side who are still with me these days and they bet on my work with their talent and friendship.

Calendário was a work of MPB, with a footprint on the pop, where I let out all the sounds present in my life. It was a very contemporary, even daring, urban music, resounding. They were my compositions and Bahal’s with rewriting and the repertoire choice had much to do with what I meant at that time.

Eduarda Fadini, was the work where I put it the composer, poet and the interpreter next to my main partner, the pianist Roberto Bahal. It is an album with voice and piano where we let all the musical intimacy, gained over many years of work, flow and you can hear that we breathe together all the time. Five of the eleven tracks, are our compositions. The other six songs are very well known, but we gave it a new look.

There are songs that surprise, such as the ” Paralelas”, by Belchior, who for many years was my “flagship”. Gê Alves Pinto, who made the cover of “Volta”,by Lupicínio, once heard my version of “Toda Forma de Poder”, by Humberto Gessinger, an Engenheiros do Havaí member, and since they are friends he also sent him by e-mail. The answer came quickly and touching: “Beautiful… really beautiful! I felt at the 70’s when there were composers, performers and arrangers … each one lighting a corner HG.”

MPB Lounge was a very pleasant work, we were able to reinterpret classics of Brazilian music using features of electronic music, mixed with acoustic instruments, without losing sight of the essence of the Brazilian music, but with a pop-jazz hint. I explored many variations of tone in my voice, it was a very rich research in relation to vocal technique. My favorite of this work is “Bonita”, by Tom Jobim and Ray Gilbert.

This work was aimed to reach the markets of Europe and Japan. But, unfortunately, it no longer exists in the market, it is difficult for an independent artist, producing, pressing and distributing their own work without support. I hope to circulate these CDs again . Who knows if someday, they will appear as a cult phase of my career.

In Lupicínio Volta, your fourth album, you have chosen to sing the work of Lupicínio Rodrigues, carrying his music to a flawless jazz interpretation. How did this all happen? Why Lupicínio?

“Lupicínio Volta”, is actually considered my debut album, being my first market CD. It was released by Lumiar, a respected seal on behalf of the entire trajectory of Almir Chediak, who created the Songbooks representing nowadays a quality brand of Brazilian music around the world. The media received me very well, I received great compliments for this work.

The arrangements were designed by Roberto Bahal, a pianist who has been by my side since the beginning of my career. I no longer have to tell him what I want, he simply makes the arrangements that I imagine. But we talk a lot during the process of choosing the repertoire, I researched all the work of Lupicínio and we decided that the CD would have a personal brand, the jazz was that mark.

I always sang jazz, I grew up listening to jazz, and we wanted to make a more contemporary take to Lupicínio’s. Jazz is timeless, never gets dated. Many people find Lupicínio Rodrigues corny, because of the broken heart, the drama of the lyrics and melodies and we wanted to change that. I sought for an interpretation that would give the dramatic tone of the letters, but without any exaggeration, where each note was the right blend of each emotion.

Do you consider yourself a jazz singer?

Yes and no.

Yes, because I grew up listening to jazz, always sang jazz, learned a lot from jazz singers, I had a jazz teacher who taught me a lot. I started singing bossa nova, which goes hand in hand with jazz. I can say that I found my voice through jazz. Singing jazz I can use everything I studied all my life without limitation, the jazz is the perfect environment for any musician, even more to a singer …

Singing jazz is simply to power everything! The voice reaches all the limits, of tone, dynamics, rhythm … On the other hand I always loved MPB, mainly the poetry, by virtue of our language that is very rich. But if you’re listening to Tom Jobim, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Ivan Lins, you will see that the jazz is present there, on the sophisticated melodies, on the dissonant harmonies …

No, because I’m not a typical jazz singer, I am not a Bebop singer, I am not given to great improvisation, I prefer the subtle, the changes in the details, and I don’t sing Jazz exclusively. I love singing samba, for example! And singing samba also has a science as jazz does.

You have to know how to deal with the syncope, have to have the swing, you have to know the African-Brazilian rhythms, must have the voice of sadness and joy that only the samba has. I love to sing boleros, with all the suffering and pain. And most of all, what I consider really important is the interpretation, the word, the emotion and everything to make this sprouts, nothing better than the MPB, with its incomparable poets, their songs and all the influences…

Which female singers do you admire?

All the major ones … The great voices, the great performers … Elis Regina, which Brazilian singer wasn’t influenced by her? Elizeth Cardoso, The Divine. “As Cantoras do Rádio”, Dalva de Oliveira, Nora Ney, Isaurinha Garcia, Linda and Dircinha Batista … Aracy de Almeida, a strange voice tone, with a unique personality! Angela Maria, “The Sapoti”, wonderful, wonderful!

Maria Bethânia, owner of an incredible interpretation, always barefoot, a force of nature, a spiritual entity … The unique voice tone of Nana Caymmi. The delicacy of Gal Costa. The northeastern strength of Elba Ramalho. The generous voice of Clara Nunes. The pleasant samba of Beth Carvalho. The dark and sad voice of Maysa Matarazzo.

The crazed swing by Elza Soares, a kamikaze to the music, she is capable of everything on stage! And a singer who I always kiss the hands when I sing, Leny Andrade, a genius, which unites the intelligence of jazz to the thrill of Brazilian music, incomparable… Brazil is a country of female singers… and good ones!

Great Divas of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, perfection, Sarah Vaughan, versatility, Billie Holiday, suffering, Diane Schuur, virtuosity, Shirley Horn, elegance, Dinah Washington, surprise … and Dionne Warwick, who owns one of the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard, and, what an interpreter! I could talk for hours about singers.

Do you have plans to follow an international career, as many Brazilian singers of the genre do; recording in Japan, for example?

Yes, of course! I am looking for a producer who can make that bridge between Brazil and Japan. The Japanese market is very good for Brazilian music. The point is, there are few people who have these contacts and who has don’t tell anyone … So if a producer is interested, just call, we are here!

How do you see the Brazilian phonographic market and its own current musical production for the music that you sing?

The Brazilian music market is very complicated … It has many good people making beautiful CDs, but it is very difficult to make all that material reach the general public. You now have the major singers occupying all spaces in radios and TV, whose artists fill the concert houses and gain national impact.

Also, there is a very serious issue, called jabá (payola) – radios/TVs charge the artist or label in order to promote/expose their material – that is a practice widely discussed today, but very difficult to identify. And there’s another side, the market with small independent labels or artists who strive so much to have a recurrence of the media and keep their work in specific niches.

Community radio and public TV still are vehicles of very positive exposure for independent artists. The Internet today is an important way to disseminate, the artist who knows how to handle this tool can greatly expand their audience. But the Internet can give a false sense of “success”. Often the work is known in a particular segment of the network, then you think that an artist is out and about and then find out it has a lot of people do not even know it exists.

It is very complex, this ratio of virtual reality as opposed to real life. But in my opinion, nothing can replace direct contact with the public, show your face, have lots of concerts here and there, but this is not always simple too … Rio de Janeiro, unfortunately, nowadays is a difficult place to work …

If you do not sing samba, then things get even more complicated. Some event clubs now have the bad taste to charge the artists so they can play; this is a role reversal, incomprehensible to me. There is also the piano issue. “Ah … Rio de Janeiro is a city without pianos!” Tom Jobim once said that in the 80’s, imagine what he must be thinking now, up there…

You participated in a project called The Music in the Art of Seduction. How is music a vehicle of sensuality, is it a natural thing, thought, or sometimes you do not even realize it?

This project was beautiful! I ended the São Paulo CCBB season with a concert entirely devoted to the Music American cinema from the 30s to the 60s. The songs were linked to major scenes of divas like Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, as the strip-tease scene in which Gilda Rita sings “Put the Blame on Mame” and “Diamonds are a Girl Best Friend”, where Marilyn sings wearing the famous pink dress. The arrangements, as always, were Roberto Bahal’s, the scene direction and light were the actor José Mauro Brant’s and the production and design of the project were Pablo Castellar’s.

Music has always been involved with the seduction, from the songs of minstrels of the Renaissance that spoke of love, the ditties Brazilian from XIX Century, the songs of the courtesans of Venice of XVI and XVII Century to reach the climax of glamour and seduction in the American cinema. I’m crazy for musicals from Metro! I grew up watching musicals on the afternoon TV shows in Brazil. So I can say that my reference of femininity is totally vintage!

I think sensuality is always present in women who step on the stage, is an exhibition that leads to it, each artist has their dose of seduction and their way of expressing themselves. But what is beautiful to see is the natural sensuality that rises through the voice that spreads into the gestures subtly, elegantly. Women of the 40’s knew this very well and did everything so thoroughly studied, but without the slightest trace of vulgarity. I like that!

How did you come in contact with the cartoonist Ziraldo, who has a special participation in Volta, and Caruso who also participates on the same CD in addition to working with you on the show’s record?

It’s a long story, but let’s summarize … I’m friends with Marcia Martin, producer, married to Ziraldo, who does not need presentations. She was my student, was having singing lessons with me. We were common friends with Jesus Chediak, who now heads the Lumiar. We were already trying to make a record together, and Marcia was the bind of it all.

Meanwhile Chediak one day called me and said: ” …Lupicínio Rodrigues! Are you up to it?”. Of course I accepted the offer right there! Lupicínio is an important composer of the Brazilian music, has a vast work and has been a little forgotten … It was perfect, the repertoire that every singer would love to interpret!

He had the idea to invite Ziraldo, who has always loved singing but never recorded, for a participation on the albums. Ziraldo is an incredible personality, well liked by everyone in Brazil and abroad, it is part of the childhood imagination of several generations, including mine, so it was a pleasure to have him in this process.

Chico Caruso, also, besides being a great cartoonist is a great singer and an expert on Lupicínio Rodrigues. One day we were having dinner, Marcia, Ziraldo and I, and Chico was introduced to me by Marcia who said: “This is Eduarda Fadini, a singer, she will record an album in tribute to Lupicínio and you’ll sing with her! He replied: Me? When? And we’ve been great friends since then. Marcia started to produce me and manage the business, and orchestrated everything so that the CD was a success. She was present in every detail, from the choice of repertoire to the costumes, the cover, the recordings, the album release concert… It was amazing!

Chico Caruso, was a very close friend and even invited me to sing with him at a concert he called “Lupicínio and Bergman – Scenes from a Marriage”, a spectacle of music and humor that tells the misadventures of a couple Lupicínio Rodrigues’ music. Our partnership went very well; we have a great timing and is always a pleasure to be with Chico on scene! This show is already in the second year in theaters, making a huge success! And besides Chico, we have another cartoonist playing sax with us, the Aroeira, which is a great musician too! These cartoonists are all musicians! Awesome!

Palavra de Mulher (Woman’s Word) is a work, a project that you developed, mixing poetry, music and theater. How did this project happened and on what stage are you now?

Palavra de Mulher is a project developed long ago. I always wanted to unite music, poetry and drama in a more stripped way, as it always was in my life. I would not call “Palavra de Mulher” a musical, not a show, or a performance; it is like an intimate moment shared with the public. I had to get away from everything to conceive this spectacle.

I packed my bags, loaded a ton of books and went into the woods to be alone. I needed this silence, this time to let loose all that I had to say and had to wear it out, I stood on the riverbank in Mauá, feeling the smells, listening to the nature and my own silences that always told me so much…

It was a vital moment, it was everything or nothing. I had to do this spectacle to make me feel complete … After I debuted, the public’s reaction has given me more and more certainty that I did the main task of the artist, staging its own truth, shamelessly without any kind of barrier …

In this spectacle I do talk about the women’s condition, about the need of love, on how we miss being in love and how much it will give us back when we find love. I speak of love and all its side effects, where there is no need to escape the pain, but where the pain is not bitterness. It is a celebration of women, femininity. Starting on January 10th, 2010, a season at Teatro Café Pequeno, Leblon, on Sundays, at 5 p.m.

I would say that the time scheduled is delicately feminine, the tea time that our grandmas cultivated. Perfect for a meeting like this! Men are welcome, of course! Even many men come to thank me for clarifying the nuances of women. I’ve been told that Palavra de Mulher serves as a label of female emotions! I found this a great comment!

This year you gave continuity to your tour with the “Lupicínio Volta”; is there a possibility of a presentation here in Miami?

This year was a year full of very striking events to me, because of personal issues that made me revise professional and artistic issues… Anyway … It was a fruitful year, I did many shows with Chico Caruso, sang a lot Lupicínio Rodrigues, played the Word of Women for beautiful audiences, I am resuming my jazz work and started singing with Pascoal Meirelles, great Brazilian drummer, internationally famous.

I have good prospects for 2010 and I intend to travel more. I am in contact with producers outside of Brazil to allow an international tour this year. Perhaps, why not starting from Miami, which is known as the most Brazilian of U.S. cities? It will be a pleasure, certainly I will feel at home!

Paul “Brazil” Constantinides is a photographer, poet, songwriter and Portuguese teacher. He was born in San Diego, California, and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. He has lived in South Florida for nine years. You can get in touch with him writing to Constantinides blogs on Brazilian music in Portuguese – and English –


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