On his album SantaRio, Sebastião Tapajós consorts with three other famous colleagues of the Música Instrumental.
Featured on SantaRio is Altamiro Carrilho (74), probably the most recognised and accomplished flautist of the MPB, who has gained renown through his interpretations of Choros and Chorinhos, but has also earned himself a celebrated spot in the classical world.
Mauricio Einhorn (66), harmonica player from Rio, can be considered one of Sebastião Tapajós' oldest friends in the Cidade Maravilhosa. They used to live directly nearby to each other in Leme at the Copacabana, where Tapajós, along with the help of befriended musicians, was instrumental in obtaining Mauricio's own first LP-recording. It remained, however, Mauricio's only one. Nevertheless, he can be heard in a plentitude on hundreds of studio-productions ranging from Jazz to Pop.
Gilson Peranzzetta is the youngest amongst Tapajós friends featured on this record. He is one of the most sought after musicians in Brazil and moreover a very successful arranger and producer.
Music specialists of the MPB (likewise a musical term) immediately recognise the drumming of Robertinho Silva, who could be heard throughout the years of his musical career in the Milton Nascimentos Ensemble. In likewise fashion, performances by Marcelo Salazar, a very accomplished percussionist from Rio, can be heard on a multitude of LP-releases.
Their cultural heritage is nevertheless all the more richer: the poetry of the Literatura de Cordel and the travelling folk-singers, the dances of the Bumba-meu-Boi und hundreds of related variants enacted and recited during noted festive occasions such as Caboclinhos, Easter, Corpus Christi, Christmas and the various carnivals that are organised are testimony to Brazil's enchanting culture.
Sebastião Tapajós uses many sounds borrowed from this part of Brazil in his Lendas Amazonas (Amazonian legends) featuring among them, an imitation of the sound of the Viola Sertaneja (a type of guitar), and amongst the rhythms, the Carimbó drums.
Sebastião Tapajós grew up on his father's boat on the Amazon, and it is in such a boat that we will accompany him through the wetlands of Brazil. We will travel the many tributaries which flood the jungles (the Igapós), marvel at the indigenous trees (Maricarro's), plants (Vitoria Regia) and fruits (Tucuma). On some nights one can hear the call of a type of owl (Matinta Pereira) and tradition demands that whoever hears the song of the matinta from his house should say: "Matinta, tomorrow you can come and get some tobacco." According to the beliefs of the native Indians it is actually the sorcerer who for his ceremony transforms himself into this bird. These Feiticeiros, as they are called, spend a lot of their time working with the smoke of cigars and pipes.
In times where emperors still ruled, many black slaves lived in what became Rio de Janeiro (River of January), formerly known as Sao Cristovao, at the foot of the Sugar Loaf Mountain. With the manumission of slaves (1888) there came in droves, all at once, Blacks from the Afro-Brazilian centre and its former capital, Salvador, to the Bay of Guanabara. It is to the black musicians from Rio's Cidade Nova, and the settlements of blacks and refugees from the North Eastern districts, like Pixinginha (1898-1973) that the MPB owes for the essential impulses it obtained in the first half of our century.
Lamento (lamentation) appeared in 1962 with words by Vinicius de Moraes. Pixinguinha wrote Chorinho 1:0 together with the flautist Benedito Lacerda in 1946 in honour of the goal scored by the national footballer Artur Friedenreich in the match against Uruguay in 1919.
Choro is the music of Rio which Sebastião Tapajós from the very beginning took a warming to. For that reason his improvisations often belong essentially to this area of musical variation (with slight drifts towards Jazz). While black Sambas were adapted for the guitar in a never before achieved level of brilliance by Baden Powell, Tapajós has always alluded to the Sambas via the Bossa Nova or the Choro. If his endeavours carried with them somewhat of an academic touch, then it has to be said that as a soloist they made extremely interesting and stylish impressions. With their hit, Tico Tico no Fuba, the four Instrumental-All-Stars from Rio have sealed their own and Sao Paulo's world wide success and acclaim.
I used to think that it was his drive for discovery and adventure that led Sebastião Tapajós across Brazil, from Santarem to Rio, and from there to Sao Paulo and down to Curitiba, then back to Rio again and, in between, back again to Santarem. Meanwhile I have come to know, however, that it was the women who drew Tapajós deep down into the South. From there, as well, he brings us musical impressions of wetland domains. From the river Taia Çupeba (named after the Flamingo like bird, Taiacu = Heron, peba = big) and from the Barueri, whose banks are lined by trees of likewise appellation (Tupi-). On both rivers there have been built hydro-electric power stations (Estacoes).
SantaRio is more than just referential to Sebastião Tapajós' musical roots in the wetlands between Santarem on the Amazon and Rio de Janeiro on the Bay of Guanabara. It is a hommage paid to the waterscapes of Brazil, extending from the river sources, via the streams and finally into the sea, into life itself.
CLAUS SCHREINER (C) 1999 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Guests on Sebastião Tapajos - SantaRio
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CD Sebastião Tapajós - Xingu - Guitar & Percussion (68.907)
More info on Sebastião Tapajós