21 Brazil Articles! – 22 Covers of “Brazil”! – 19 Brazilian Music Tracks! – Countless Brazil Photos!
When I started the Two-Fisted Touristing Brazil Series I did not anticipate that it would grow to 21 articles (including this final one) over four months. So, collected here are introductions and links to all of them (just click on the titles), the whole feijoida in other words (well, I can’t use “the whole enchilada”, that’s not a Brazilian dish; feijoada however is the national Brazilian dish – a delicious black bean stew with meat, rice and vegetables).
I will also collect here every version of the song “Brazil” I posted throughout the series, 21 in all, which constitutes just about every cover of “Brazil” you can find on Itunes (give or take a straggler or two). I’ll also include every recording of Brazilian music that I incorporated throughout the series. It’s all here. The Whole Feijoada!
The Brazil series officially started with a reposting of a visit to the amazing waterfalls of Foz do Iguaçu, with the added bonus of including the first of the “Brazil” recordings.
Brazil, where hearts were entertaining June
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured “someday soon”
We kissed and clung together
Except that the famous lyrics we associate with the song will not be heard yet in this first recording that originally spread the famous melody around the world thanks to the Disney movie “Saludos Amigos”. Here we hear the song as originally sung in Portuguese and known in Brazil as “Aquarela do Brasil”. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the famous English version, but I actually prefer the consistent holding of long notes on one syllable on the opening and ending notes of each line, rather than how in the original these notes are often doubled by two syllables.
Brazil – from the motion picture Saludos Amigos
The article about the fascinating divide of black and brown waters of the Amazon by Manaus was updated with new, more detailed images acquired a few weeks after the original posting when Ed and I returned to Manaus and got an even closer view of the divide than we had our first time in 2012.
Pink Martini gets the honors of being the first English language version of Brazil I share, not only because of her fine vocals, but also because she delicately captures both a slow ballad and dance-able uptempo approach to the song. And when the children sing “la la la” in the end it manages to be totally endearing rather than cheesy.
Brazil – Pink Martini
This post dives deeply into Piranha infested waters. But it’s not we who get bitten, it’s the piranhas who become our dinner. We also take our boat through the enchanting floating forests of the Amazon.
Michael Kamen’s arrangement of “Brazil”, for the soundtrack of Terry Gilliam’s classic movie “Brazil”, which has nothing to do with the country but is a dystopian satire literally named after the song, envelopes the tune in a sumptuous carnival atmosphere:
BRAZIL (Bachianos Brazil Samba) – Michael Kamen
Here is also where the (my mother will lament “only”) example of Brazil’s leading classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos is included. That I am so much more familiar with Brazil’s popular music than Villa-Lobos specifically or the country’s classical music in general is probably to my discredit. I will however declare that this piece of absolute loveliness towers above just about all of the other Brazil series recordings in the whole feijoada.
Bachianas Brasilieras No 5 (Aria) – Heitor Villa-Lobos (Vocal: Heidi Grant Murphy)
Here we go to Rio! The Ipanema and Copacabana beaches! The Sugarloaf! And to get into the fun spirit of it all, we’ll lay Old Blue Eye’s take on “Brazil” on the turntable:
Brazil – Frank Sinatra
The second Rio-centric piece wanders through the city streets, rich in religious, spiritual and mysterious significance, ending up with the most unusual way to experience Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue you are likely to find on the internet.
The Ritchie Family’s ridiculous Disco riff on Brazil (“You got me! You got me! YOU GOT ME!”) accompanies us along the way:
Brazil – Ritchie Family
Our excursion into the wondrous caves of Petar, in the southern corner of the state of São Paulo, is accompanied by Geoff Muldaur’s quirky take on “Brazil”, also featured on the soundtrack of the movie “Brazil”. Muldaur nicely includes the accompaniment figure most often associated with the song in the guitar part in the beginning, and whistles sweetly, before making some, ahem, adjustments to the melody here and there during his endearingly “drunken” vocals.
Brazil – Geoff Muldaur
Here is the first of two pieces featuring the expansive landscape and diverse wildlife of the Pantanal, the Brazilian “Everglades” by the Bolivian border. Plus another version of “Brazil” from the movie soundtrack of “Brazil”. Michael Kamen’s literally dreamy orchestrations support Kate Bush’s divinely ethereal vocals:
Brazil (Sam Lowry’s First Dream) – Michael Kamen / Kate Bush
This was the post where I included three tracks from one of Brazil’s most famous female vocalists, Bebel Gilberto. You will surely recognize the Summer Samba, if not all three sultry smooth jazz/pop tracks:
So Nice (Summer Samba)
Samba Da Bençao
More wild animal encounters and watery vistas of the fantastic Pantanal are accompanied by Django Reinhardt’s classic guitar acrobatics seasoning this cool clarinet led jazz combo version of “Brazil”.
Brazil – Django Reinhardt
The first of two posts exploring the awesome otherworldly Lençois – the white sand “Bedsheets” in the Northeast of Brazil – gets the old time band orchestra treatment of “Brazil”. You can easily imagine yourself dancing to this in a swanky ballroom, dressed to the nines. Note the crackling of the vinyl record in this recording.
Brazil – Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra
Two artsy “Lençois” recordings by Brazilian musicians are included here. One a modern jazz composition, the other a sultry art song:
Lençóis de Areia – Leonardo E. M. Cioglia
Lençóis – music by Fernando Brandão; lyrics by Pedro Lago
Spectacular aerial views of the Lençois receive another guitar-centered take on “Brazil”, recorded live way back when on the radio (you’ll even hear Les and Mary banter amiably with their musician pal Ed after the performance):
Brazil – Les Paul and Mary Ford
Our excursion up and down the multifaceted city of Salvador in the state of Bahia is introduced by the Coasters’ eccentric do-wop take on “Brazil”:
Brazil – The Coasters
Here is where perhaps Brazil’s most popular tune – yes, even more popular than “The Girl from Ipanema” I’ll declare – gets its due: “Mas Que Nada”. We’ll start with its most favored incarnation, in the high spirits of Sergio Mendes:
Mas Que Nada – Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66
Next we’ll indulge the “low” version of Luiz Henrique:
Mas Que Nada – Luiz Henrique
This excursion into the gorgeous historical town of Olinda features this mostly likeable cover of Brazil that nonetheless manages to rub me the wrong way with two crucial errors, singing “cling together” when it should be “clung together” and hitting the wrong notes at the end of “when twilight dims the skies above” (instrumentally as well as vocally incorrectly); and those are cheesy alternate notes, as in processed cheese cheesy, like turning fine Camembert into Velveeta. Yeesh.
Brazil – Spirit of Brazil
No one is likely to call São Paulo one of Brazil’s most beautiful cities, or even place it near the top five or even top ten of Brazil’s most aesthetically enticing places. However there are many exciting and engaging views to be found in the sprawling metropolis, and I hoped to capture some of that in this piece.
I also thought it made sense start the tour of São Paulo with this equally exciting and engaging version of “Brazil”, as sophisticated and wacky as the artists’ moniker:
BRAZIL – Lee Press-On and the Nails
The last two posts gave me good reason to include two defining songs by the Brazilian songwriter Caetano Veloso, “Sampa” about São Paulo, and my favorite Brazilian song “A Luz de Tieta”.
A Luz de Tieta
Our Very Close Encounters with caiman alligators, pink dolphins, one importuned tarantula, plus a clingy python and a clingy sloth, featured two Rosemary Clooney takes on “Brasil”: a world wary late career approach, and a criminally cornball early career duet with Bing Crosby (plus, on the late take, we get another fast bit of guitar virtuoso playing by John Pizzarelli; interesting how many “Brazil” recordings feature guitar acrobatics):
Brazil – Rosemary Clooney and John Pizzarelli
Brazil – Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby
This post also occasioned the pairing up of classy and cheesy contrasting recordings of related “Brazil” recordings, this time the classy dance hall orchestra stylings of Desi Arnaz and his orchestra and the polyester cheeseball trimmings of Ray Coniff and his orchestra.
Brazil – Desi Arnaz
Brazil – Ray Coniff and his Orchestra
But nothing is as mind alteringly cheeseball as Oktoberfest Schunkel Musik in Portuguese. Yet when Brazil’s town of Blumenau, founded by German immigrants, actually celebrates the second biggest Oktoberfest in the world in a specially built “German” theme park, that is the kind of “music” you will be exposed to. Careful, there is no vaccine, you may get the shakes:
Ein Prosit Blumenau – Cavalinho Branco – Oktoberfest
Literally driving down memory lane in the form of steep dirt roads looking for Ed’s old country home from the three years he spent in rural Pernambuco may make for an odd pairing with an electronica version of “Brazil”. But Cornelius includes actual country ambiance in both the natural sounds he includes and the synthecized crackles and whistles in the accompaniment. Although I enjoy the whimsical vocals (and the amusing nod to Geoff Muldaur on “thrills”), I do however lament the inexplicably inaccurate pitch on “June” in both the vocal and instrumental pass on the melody.
Brazil – Cornelius
One of the most famous songs about the Pernambuco is “Último Pau de Arara”. I shared three versions of the song, the first a lively traditional rendition, the second a stark torch singer version, and the third a guitar-centric instrumental.
Último Pau de Arara – Ary Lobo
Último Pau de Arara – Teca Calazans & Hector do Monte
Último Pau de Arara – Nestor da Viola, Vanuque
This post’s exploration of the fabulous coastline between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro finally gets us to a cover of “Brazil” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, arguably the most famous Brazilian musician. Very many of his recordings were shared in the course of my Brazil series. I’ll collect them all now here, starting with his unmistakably idiosyncratic take on “Brazil”, then coasting from the slinky “Waves”, the in-famous “The Girl from Ipanema”, to the introspective “Corvocado” and “Desafinado” and concluding with the playful duet “Águas do Março”.
Antonio Carlos Jobim:
Brazil (Alternate Take)
The Girl from Ipanema – vocal
Águas de Março – Antônio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina
Our discovery of the once celebrated now secluded sculpture garden of the nonagenerian artist Izulina Xavier was fittingly introduced by this wistful and earthy female jazz artist:
Brazil – Vérroneau
One final excursion in the Amazon, this time not into the waters but up the trees, really high up the trees, was introduced by Hamilton‘s original Aaron Burr, Leslie Odom Jr., singing the original “Aquarela do Brasil”, which musically takes us back to the beginning and Saludos Amigos…
Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil) – Leslie Odom, Jr.
Our goodbye to Brazil this August also constitutes the goodbye post of the Brazil Series (excluding this whole feijoida round-up of course). So it is fitting that the most epic, orchestrally adventurous take on “Brazil” by a large ensemble of native Brazilians would get the honors as the final musical word on the song. It’s seven minutes of sheer musical deliciousness that concludes with an outburst of utter extravagant exuberance:
Brazil – Brazil Choir / Brazil String Orchestra / Quatuor Ébène / Richard Héry