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Cristina Buarque portrait The younger sister of MPB composer Chico Buarque, Cristina Buarque made a name for herself as a preserver of traditional music -- samba and samba-cancao -- from years gone by. She has also been an interpreter of more modern material... Like her brother, Cristina has been closely associated with the Mangueira samba school, and has championed many of its composers and perfromers. Here's a quick look at her work.


Cristina Buarque "Cristina" (RCA, 1974)
(Produced by Fernando Faro; Arranged by Cesar Camargo Mariano)

Revivalist samba-cancao with a flawless repertoire and intriguing, innovative arrangements that go beyond mere nostalgia. However -- and this is probably just a personal failing of my own -- I have a hard time dealing with how badly out of tune she sings. There's intimacy, there's devotion and depth, but Jesus, she's always going so far off-key. Still, with a talent pool like this backing her up -- Paulinho da Viola, Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Epoca de Ouro, Mestre Marcal on the traditionalist side, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Cristovao Bastos, Claudio Bertrami and others representing the MPB jazz-modernists -- she clearly had the respect of her peers. Also impressive is the unhurried, deliberate feel of this album and it's powerful evocation of a bygone era -- Buarque sings songs by Lupicinio Rodrigues, Noel Rosa, Ismael Silva, Ivone Lara and others, but even as bandleader Cesar Camargo Mariano offers subtle avant touches to the arrangements, the sense of saudade and reverence is palpable and profound. She may get on your nerves, but the music is still sublime. That's Cristina.

Cristina Buarque "Prato E Faca" (RCA, 1976)
Chico Buarque's younger sister, Cristina delved deep into the cultural life of the Portela samba escola, recording numerous songs by lesser-known composers and helping maintain the Velha Guarda ensemble of older musicians. Here, she performs amid solid, understated accompaniment by a battery of samba school musicians. Milton Banana, Abel Ferrara and Monarco are among the celebrity performers, though the main band is made up of lesser-known locals. The songs are nice enough, although it's hard to get past how out of tune Cristina vocals are... Still, the material is quite nice and you may be won over by the album's end. Certainly worth checking out, though her voice may not be for everyone.

Cristina Buarque "Arrebem" (Continental, 1979) (LP)
A sweet, joyful album, well produced and musically rich, Tons of guest performers, including the velha guarda of the Portela samba school, and an impressive host of '70s sambistas and MPB stars (Monarco, Dino 7 Cordas, Copinha, Nelson Angelo, Francis Hime...) Miucha sings harmony on one song, and presumably the "Bebel" listed in the chorus is her daughter, Bebel Gilberto although you'd be hard pressed to pick her voice out from the crowd. Speaking of voices, although I cringed a bit hearing Cristina singing on the first few songs, by the album's end, I was won over. This is quite a fine record, definitely worth tracking down.

Cristina Buarque "Vejo Amanhecer" (Ariola, 1980) (LP)

Cristina Buarque "Cristina" (Ariola, 1981)

Cristina Buarque & Mauro Duarte "Cristina E Mauro Duarte" (Coomusa, 1985) (LP)

Cristina Buarque "Resgate" (Saci, 1994)

Cristina Buarque & Henrique Cazes "Sem Tostao... A Crise Nao E Botao: Cancoes De Noel Rosa" (Kuarup/Milan, 1995)
A tribute to samba-cancao legend Noel Rosa

Cristina Buarque "Ganha-Se Pouco, Mas E Divertido: Cristina Buarque Canta Wilson Batista" (Eldorado/Jam, 2000)
An homage to samba composer Wilston Batista.

Cristina Buarque & Henrique Cazes "Sem Tostao, v.2: A Crise Continua" (Kuarup, 2001)
More classics by Noel Rosa...

Cristina Buarque & Terreiro Grande "Ao Vivo" (Tratore, 2007)

Cristina Buarque "Banda Gloria Convida" (Tratore/Scubidu, 2008)

Cristina Buarque & Terreiro Grande "Canta Candeia" (Tratore, 2010)
A tribute to samba songwriter Antonio Candeia


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