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Back in the '80s, Vinicius Cantuaria wrote the lullaby-like "Leaozinho, which became a major hit for Caetano Veloso and prompted him to embark on a solo career as a sophisticated pop musician. Although the gamble didn't quite work in Brazil, he found an audience here for his bossa nova-inflected tunes. Today, like many other of his fellow expatriate musicians (Bebel Gilberto and Flora Purim come to mind), his talents are more recognized abroad than in his native land.
On Silva, which is the most common surname in Brazil and also part of Cantuaria's own name, he collaborates with legendary percussionist Arto Lindsay, who co-wrote several of the original tunes on the album, venturing even further into his bossa roots and emerging with a very personal view of the genre, looking back whilst managing to move forward at the same time. On "The Bridge, he claims that "Everyone says that bossa nova is this/bossa nova is that/it just is what you want to be, and he backs that by adding elements of Northeastern Brazilian and electronic sounds. In "Pena de Mim" ("Pity on Me"), he begs an estranged lover to feel for him, for he cannot "suffer like this anymore. The instrumentation is sparse: a string quartet and subtle percussion backs Cantuaria's guitar.
The only cover on the album is "A Felicidade ("To Happiness"), a Jobim/Moraes composition originally featured in the movie Black Orpheus. Pay close attention to the English-language "Reentry, a semi-psychedelic tune about a love affair that is over but neither part wants to call it quits. Also very interesting is "Saudades de Você ("Longing For You"), in which Cantuaria reverts to the simplicity of the early days of bossa nova, a time when almost every lyric spoke of nothing but love, smiles and the blossoms of spring.
Track Listing: A Dor; Reentry; The Bridge; Pena de Mim; Saudades de Voce; Evening Rain; Paraguai; A Felicidade; Alegria; Nunca Mais; India.
Personnel: Vinicius Cantuaria: voice, guitar, percussion, loops, drums; sidinho: percussion; Chacal: percussion; Bernardo Bessler: violin; Michel Bessler: violin; Marie-Christine Springuel: viola; Hugo Vargas Pilger: cello; Jun Miyake: Fender Rhodes, flugehorn, samples; Michael Leonhart: trumpet.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.