I always find it rather strange that artists who are idolatrized in certain parts of the world get no consideration in some others. Maria Rita Camargo (stage name Maria Rita) is one of those cases but with the aggravating circumstance that she’s the only Elis Regina’s daughter, also very known around here for her “Aguas de Março” by Jobim (translated in Italian and sang by many artists, among whom Mina).
Elis died from an overdose in 1982 leaving her little Maria Rita the heavy inheritance of being a legend. Brazilian artists have to work harder than American ones in order to be fully appreciated in the rest of the world for they can’t rely on an extremely wide vocal range – which would be drawing much more attention from the general public audience – but count on content, on rhythm and on the sweetness of the melody (think about how many different way a guitar can play a particular chord). The Brazilian music should be approached with much more attention in terms of listening in order to catch the nuances of the “saudade” (an untranslatable word, halfway between melancholy and nostalgia), the Brazilian dance philosophy and the ethnic and social phenomenon which is described by that music. This particular cd we are about to present is the first one by Maria Rita, which already sold one million copies, achieved 3 platinum disks, 2 Latin Grammy Awards, by now a myth in the Brazilian music. The cd has been distributed around 20 countries including Italy, but at least here with a little echo (some airplays on radio stations for the track “Cara Valente”). In terms of music everything is rather essential, almost as a club gig: double bass, drums, guitar, percussions, piano with some Rodhes interventions and accordion. In some tracks strings show up. Maria Rita brings back some part of the auteurs music rearranging songs like “A festa” (The party) by Milton Nascimento of traditional Latin flavor, with an accordion on the background, or “Agora so falta voce” (It’s only you that I miss now) by the Brazilian rockstar Rita Lee, with a softer rock rendition, almost pop. A sensual and engaging rhythm leads us towards the heart of the cd with “A meninha do portao” (The girl from the gate), a love song with a Rhodes piano on the background and a double bass adding a jazz flavor to it. The Rhythm slows down, a brushed snare opens up the following “Nao vale a pena” (It’s not worth it) about the end of a love affair. “Dos Gardenias” (two gardenias), a slow rumba, featured by a particular contamination about the language where verses that start in Portuguese end in Spanish, in a natural way and with no twisting at all.
“Cara Valente” (Grin and bear it) breaks the hushed tones which has brought us up to this point, opening a samba which celebrates the release from a romance, closing it with words that say “ele não é de nada” (he is worthless). “Santa chuva” (holy rain) is a conversation between a man and a woman, where he is the cheater asking for a forgiveness which would be strongly rejected. An accordion adds a touch of pathos. Rain on one hand is a metaphor for tears as well as on the other hand it is water that purifies and frees from a tainted love. This track not only shows duality in terms of concept but also from a musical point of view: the second part, when the woman rejects him, shows an unexpected verve which breaks the sweetness conveyed in the first one. “Menina da lua” (Moon girl) is the most lyrical track on the album, a fond declaration of love sung just with piano accompaniment almost the whole track through and then some strings to close it. A separate discussion must be reserved for “Encontros e Despedidas” (Encounters and Farewells), Milton Nascimento, where the station is a metaphor for life in which every train that arrives is the same one that leaves”, “they’re only two aspects of the same journey”, “the meeting hour is also the farewell”. The rhythm is lilting almost like the rate of motion of a train. Also the arrangement is different from the rest of the album for here it’s almost orchestral with a strong presence of strings from the start. The cd steps up the beat again with “Pagu”, a ballad by Rita Lee with onomatopoeic phrases (“Ratatá! Ratatá! Ratatá!”) which gives a certain cheerfulness to the track. This track is dedicated to the authoress Patrícia Rehder Galvão (known as Pagu, died before her time in 1962). The rhythm increases, starting over again with the berimbau playing samba in “Lavandeira Do Rio” (The laundress of the river) written by Lenine, a famous Brazilian author and singer (a Latin Grammy Award in 2005).
For the third time on the album Maria Rita sings a song written by Marcelo Carmelo, this time a slow samba of the saudade but not sad “Veja bem meu bem” (Be careful, my son). An interesting result is the replacing the double bass on the first section of the song with a dry and tilting bass from the piano. The album closes off with a ballad, “Cupido” (Cupid), where the only synth on the album can be heard, creating a peculiar electronic atmosphere for the story of a love at first sight.
CD Title: MARIA RITA
Author: Maria Rita
1. A Festa (Milton Nascimento)
2. Agora só Falta Você (Rita Lee/Luiz Sérgio)
3. Menininha do Portão (Nonato Buzar/Paulinho Tapajós)
4. Não Vale a Pena (Paulo Garfunkel/Jean Garfunkel)
5. Dos Gardenias (Isolina Carrillo)
6. Cara Valente (Marcelo Camelo)
7. Santa Chuva (Marcelo Camelo)
8. Menina da Lua (Renato Motha/Patricia Lobato)
9. Encontros e Despedidas (Fernando Brant/Nascimento)
10. Pagu (Zélia Duncan/Lee)
11. Lavadeira do Rio (Lenine/Braulio Tavares)
12. Veja Bem, Meu Bem (Camelo/Lenine/Tavares)
13. Cupido (Cláudio Lins)
An album to listen to again and again, Maria Rita is able to surprise and touch emotionally even after listening to the album for several times, she is capable of conveying emotions.
The video for “Encontros e Despedidas” (Encounters and Farewells)
Italian to English Translation: Umberto del Giudice ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
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