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Category Archives: Samba

ARTIST – Cartola
ALBUM – Cartola
YEAR – 1976

An hommage to TCR – she loves this album, not more than I her, and the artist; we listen to this recording very often in her car. This is Angenor de Oliveira’s, a.k.a Cartola, second album and one of my favourites.

It is a beautifully arranged album, with popular songs that have made their mark on Brazilian music. I fancy this particular type of samba – what I consider to be real samba; not this shit you hear nowadays, all over the place. It’s a real pitty samba has drifted towards the “masses” and become bait for the superficially romantic – very sad, indeed…

What samba needs are more artists of this nature, of Cartola’s nature. His demeanor, in life, was simple, humble – he was a poor man, living in one of Rio’s most famous “hills” (morros), the Morro da Mangueira, a shantytown. Neverminding his humble beginnings he left his mark, definitively on Brazilian music, not just samba.

There’s a DVD of his I acquired a few years ago which is a register of a live recording session – splendid stuff. He talks and chats with the camera and his fellow “sambistas”. It has basically the same songs as on this LP. Most of the songs come from his mind, his pen. The rest are his rendering of other composers and writers.

So, let’s get to it. The album could not have gotten off to a better start. It recalls a poem by one of the greatest poets in Brazilian literature, Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s “Máquina do Mundo”. Cartola’s “O mundo é um moinho” is a melancholy piece of writing, about his daughter, who left home to try to figure her ways. Drummond’s poem, one of the all-time greatest, relates to a contemplation of life, unanswered questions and a somewhat absurd reasoning. Cartola may not have had writing skills like Drummond, but he knew what he was talking about. It’s a similar subject, the contemplation of life and its intricate meanings, where it can lead, through meandering corridors…

Ok, ok, ok… Too much??? Yeah, I guess so. So, let’s just allow the album to “speak” for itself. To seal this philosophical abstraction, I’ll only mention that my favourite song of all, from this album, unfortunatelly not written by Cartola, but by Candeia – another fabulous Brazilian composer -, is “Preciso me Encontrar”. “Rir pra não chorar”. Wow… Just grand.