Brazil - Full Moon 48 - 09/13/00
Brazilian music for the new century is what you will hear in Fato's third album,
Oquelatá Quelateje. The album title, a made-up phrase with multiple meanings,
shows up front the proposition of this group from the southern Brazilian state of
Paraná. Innovation and tradition mix in a multicolored embroidery of sounds. The
alliance of various musical traditions add to the melting pot that Brazilian music represents.
Fato's music is most definitely unique, and that is precisely what the group had
envisioned and accomplished so well with this prodigious album.
Produced by Rodolfo Stroeter, who has also worked with Gilberto Gil and
Mônica Salmaso, Oquelatá Quelateje is the work of a dynamic group
of musicians. Their diverse backgrounds clearly exemplifies the richness of the music they make.
Their songs have world appeal and are also unequivocally Brazilian. The band is Grace
Torres (keyboards), Ulisses Galetto (bass), Zé Loureiro Neto (drums),
Gilson Hidetaka Fukushima (guitar), Babi Farah (voice), Alexandre Nero
(voice), and Priscila Graciano (percussion). Their music is a feast for your ears and
mind. Intricate harmonies are the background for elaborate lyrics.
The album opens with the overwhelming Valadares, a song about an island off the coast
of Paraná. Composed by band bassist Ulisses Galetto, that track is most likely the
essence of the album. It grabs you instantly with the introductory "rabeca" sampler.
That countryside feeling suddenly gives way to electric guitars and the sound of handclapping
and foot stomping. Your senses are now in total ecstasy. You are experiencing the old
Paraná tradition known as "fandango." Fandango is a dance of Spanish origin
and influenced by the Brazilian native Carijós. Using wooden clogs to keep the beat of
the song and adding handclapping along with fiddles and "violas," the result is
stunningly breathtaking. The fandango theme is again elaborated in the next track, Encharque.
Linking different threads of Brazilian history and culture - slavery, dance, rhythm,
"candomblé," and "capoeira" - Encharque once again
reverberates with rhythmic pulsation. This odyssey of images and sounds continues track after
track. With the polyphonous Vozes, Fato takes us to a time that is yet to come,
a time of harmony and world peace conceptualized in music. The addition of a Balinese chorus is
all very entrancing. With Kismet, the sound of Brazilian "tamborins" is sharp
and stimulating. The lyrics argue about what is normal is unequal. The last verse is a summary
of life's quest: what can you do in order to live?
Oquelatá Quelateje is an experience that goes beyond the music. The words are
deep and rich in meaning, a true reflection of life. Whether conjecturing about human lives or
one's destiny, Fato delivers its message with jubilation. For more information about
this group, please visit its multilingual home page and enjoy
Copyright © 2000 Egídio Leitão