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Joanna portrait Adriana Calcanhotto


Adriana Calcanhotto "Enguico" (Sony-CBS, 1990)
A strong debut from this native of Porto Alegre, mixing various styles and approaches... The opening number, "Enguico," is a brassy, Vegas-y big band number, with Calcanhotto -- a former cabaret singer -- belting out a swank MPB number (one of two Calcanhotto originals on this album...) A pronounced jazz sensibility lurks close under the surface of the rest of the album, along with a dash of bossa, rock and tenago.... Gradually she settles into a more standard-issue, classic MPB style, much in keeping with Gal Costa's work, which is appropriate given their vocal similarities. There's also a restlessness at work, a sense of Calcanhotto prowling about the confines of pop style like a tiger in a cage, ready to burst out. There's also a slight preciousness and somewhat florid production -- how you respond to this album will depend a lot on how you approach it. Those steeped in and appreciative of the 1970s school of MPB -- fans of Chico Buarque, et. al., -- will probably love it, while listeners who are looking for more rootsy music will find this hard to sit through. I heard after first exploring her later albums, and thought it was pretty fascinating, given the directions she took a few years later... Worth checking out, even if it is a bit on the glossy-poppy side.

Adriana Calcanhotto "Senhas" (Sony-Columbia, 1992)
(Produced by Adriana Calcanhotto & Ricardo Rente)

Adriana Calcanhotto "A Fabrica Do Poema" (Sony-Epic, 1994)
Calcanhotto's third album. Although this opens with a burst of BRock-derived pop ("Por Que Voce Faz Cinema?"), it quickly settles into more a sedate, reflective acoustic style. Her voice is beautiful, but the record becomes monotonous after a while. Calcanhotto's silken, Sade-ish side is only hinted at here... it's possible that if the delicate horn arrangements had been a little less artsy, I would have responded differently to this disc. Just seems a little stilted to me, somehow.

Adriana Calcanhotto "Maritmo" (Sony-Columbia, 1996)
Anyone enamored of Bebel Gilberto's bossa-electronica efforts owes it to themselves to check out this similarly experimental, similarly energetic stylistic whirlwind. If anything, Calcanhotto is more adventursome and varied than bossa's prodigal daughter: in addition to loping, clubby beats, Calcanhotto mixes in swirly guitars, angular artsy riffs, and even a whiff of Brazilian-style avant-jazz, courtesy of Hermeto Pascoal. This is one of the more accomplished Brazilian modern pop albums, on a par with Arto Lindsay, Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes... oh, yeah... and Bebel. She even covers one of Bebel's older tunes, "Maiz Feliz," co-written with '80s rocker Cazuza. Nice record, well worth checking out.

Adriana Calcanhotto "Publico" (BMG-Ariola, 2000)
A live album that is one of her most compelling and emphatic performances. The shrill cheers of the crowd can be a little distracting (welcome to the world of live albums!), but Calcanhotto's sweet voice and magnetic persona come through loud and clear. This is an interesting move for an artist best known as a hands-on, hi-tech, knob-twiddling self-produced auteur, but it works just fine. Recalling Gal Costa's fab 1971 album, A Todo Vapor, midway through the album transitions from solo acoustic into a stripped-down BRock style, all perky and bouncily melodic. Recommended!

Adriana Calcanhotto "Cantada" (BMG, 2002)

Adriana Calcanhotto "Adriana Partimpim" (BMG, 2004)
(Produced by Adriana Calcanhotto, De Palmeira & Sacha Amback)

A very fun and frequently very sweet set, envisioned as a children's record but easily accessible and rewarding for adults as well. Calcanhotto reimagines oldies from the golden era of samba-cancao ("Lig-Lig-Lig-Le") as well as classic songs from Baden Powell and Chico Buarque, along with an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Mock Turtle" poem, and newer material from avant-rockers such as Arnaldo Antunes, Paula Toller and Domenico Lancelotti, of +2 fame. Domenico and his cohorts Kassin and Moreno Veloso help shape the album's freewheeling, pop-oriented sound, along with Celso Fonseca, Jorge Helder, Pedro Sa and other innovative modernists. Most important is the music: playful, upbeat, gentle and seductive, with a simplicity underscored on a tune of two by a children's chorus, and one great song after another. If you liked, for example, Maria Monte's Tribalistas album, you might want to give this a chance as well.

Adriana Calcanhotto "Partimpim -- O Show" (BMG, 2005)

Adriana Calcanhotto "Mare" (Sony-BMG, 2008)

Adriana Calcanhotto "Perfil" (Som Livre, 2001)
A best-of set...


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