Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Brazil - Full Moon 47 - 08/15/00

Various Artists
Songbook Chico Buarque
Lumiar Discos

The music of Chico Buarque received a masterful treatment with some arrangements destined to become definitive recordings. With over 7 hours of music in 8 CD's, Songbook Chico Buarque is nothing short of spectacular. Musically, Songbook Chico Buarque elevates Buarque's music to new heights. Chico Buarque is one of the most renowned Brazilian songwriters of this century. Besides being one of the greatest Brazilian Popular Music (MPB, Música Popular Brasileira) composers, Buarque also writes music for the theater and the movies, and he has also published several novels. He co-wrote songs with just about everyone from Tom Jobim to Caetano Veloso. It is difficult to select what is best in his impressive collection. Nearly all he has written is of utmost quality.

This 8-CD collection is a magnificent portrait of Chico Buarque's music. From the first track in Songbook 1, Nana Caymmi singing Olhos nos Olhos (Eyes in the Eyes), the only word that comes to mind to fully describe the impact of Buarque's music in Caymmi's rendition is outstanding. Ney Matogrosso follows with Carolina, a song he had not included in his own Buarque tribute Um Brasileiro of a few years ago. There is Zélia Duncan and Marco Pereira with the beautiful Fado Tropical. Duncan's voice is perfect for the longing presented in the lyrics, and the arrangement is dreamy. When Beth Carvalho sings Apesar de Você (In Spite of You), she shows unequaled vitality and enthusiasm. The A-list of Brazilian music parades on and on for your enjoyment.

In Songbook 2, Zizi Possi starts off with Beatriz and is followed by Caetano Veloso performing the movie theme of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, O Que Será (What Will It Be). A Brazilian living legend, Ângela Maria creates the definitive version of Bastidores (Backstage) in one of those rare moments when you realize a song should have been written for that specific performer. She is phenomenal. Another outstanding recording is Emílio Santiago and Joyce's Sem Fantasia (Without a Costume). Joyce, especially, conveys the anguish in those lyrics like no other singer has done previously. When her voice trembles just a little in one verse, it's perfection you hear. These three tracks with Caetano Veloso, Ângela Maria, and Emílio Santiago and Joyce are back to back. Can we take more? Your answer better be yes. There is a whole lot more.

Only producer Almir Chediak can assemble such a cast of performers for such a project. He even gets another Brazilian legendary singer, Marlene, to perform Não Existe Pecado ao Sul do Equador (There is no Sin Below the Equator). Chediak's ability to foresee what a song would sound like performed by a certain singer is unique. Who else could think of Zeca Pagodinho and Almir Guineto having a blast in Feijoada Completa (Black Beans with all the Ingredients)? They bring out the fun in Buarque's intelligent lyrics. Another magnificent touch of a genius is found in Cauby Peixoto's Viver do Amor (Living of Love). Peixoto incorporates this music in his repertoire with ease and majesty. In a rare appearance, song writer Sueli Costa sings Buarque's poetry of Soneto (Sonnet). When you get to the last CD, more surprises will continue to amaze you. Maria Bethânia sings Sobre Todas as Coisas (Above All Things), Mílton Nascimento brings his incredible voice to Olha Maria (Listen Maria), and Zizi Possi enchants you with Com Açúcar, Com Afeto (With Sugar, With Affection). No words are enough to describe the powerful music of Chico Buarque. This collection is truly some of the best Brazilian music ever written.

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