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Aracy De Almeida portrait Singer Aracy De Almeida (1914-1988) was one of the major stars of the samba-cancao era of the 1930s and '40s... She was also one of the handful of old-timers who successfully bridged their way into the modern era after the bossa nova came into fashion, recording several albums in the 1960s. She was one of the major early interpreters of the great songwriter Noel Rosa, and her classic recordings of his work are available in many forms. Here's a quick look at her work.


Aracy De Almeida/Cyro Monteiro "Sambistas De Fato" (Revivendo)
A delightful collection of prime oldies by two great romantic samba cancao vocalists. Evenly split between the two of them, with ten tracks apiece, this disc covers the years 1935-1948, and is chock full of wonderfully melodic choro- tinged material. Monteiro's 1945 novelty hit, "Boogie Woogie Na Favela," is a nice crossover tune, although the rest of the album is packed with straight-ahead samba. Great stuff -- highly recommended!

Aracy De Almeida/Noel Rosa "Noel Rosa" (Continental, 1968/Warner, 2002)
(Arrangements by Radames Gnattali)

A neat reissue of a neat reissue. This album first came out in 1950, as a 3-disc collection of 78s, then as an LP in 1968, gathering a dozen classic samba cancao tracks from the 1930s (and '40s?), and has been reissued on CD with five more songs. Although Noel Rosa's name is plastered across the album cover, I believe this is really a set of music by Aracy De Almeida, who was one of his major early interpreters. Classy, lacrymose stuff. (Also see my Noel Rosa discography.)

Aracy De Almeida "Cancoes De Nel Rosa Com Aracy De Almeida" (Continental, 1955)

Aracy De Almeida "Sucessos De Aracy De Almeida" (Elenco, 1966)

Aracy De Almeida "Samba Em Pessoa" (Polydor, 1958)

Aracy De Almeida "Samba" (Philips, 1960)

Aracy De Almeida/Various Artists "SAMBA PEDE PASSAGEM" (Polydor, 1966)
(Produced by Joao Das Neves & Armando Costa)
(Arranged by Maestro Gaya)

This free-flowing album draws on material from the live "show," Samba Pede Passagem, which was mounted by Grupo Opinao in December, 1965. Samba-cancao old-timers Aracy De Almeida and Ismael Silva are the central stars of the album, joined by the recently-founded vocal quartet, MPB-4 as well as flautist Carlos Poyares and various samba musicians. Highlights include Aracy and Ismael's recreation of the classic "polemica" song-battles of Wilson Batista and Noel Rosa, basically a Brazilian version of "doing the dozens," where the artists trade good-natured jibes while trying to outshine each other musically. Admittedly, these performances seem a bit tame in comparison to the originals and in general this album has kind of a languid, overly controlled feel, although it's still pretty cool. The best moments come from the samba and choro players, particularly a couple of tracks that highlight Poyares as a soloist. The album is notably an early showcase for MPB-4 and while I've never been a big fan, at least here they are relatively laid-back and not trying to do a bunch of vocal gymnastics. Fans of old-school samba-cancao and Nara Leao's early albums might wanna check this out. Also includes a couple of spoken-word tracks by Aracy, where she recalls some stories about Noel Rosa, back in the the old days.

Aracy De Almeida "Samba E Aracy De Almeida" (Elenco, 1966)
Although her career was well past its zenith when these mid-'60s recordings were made, this is still a pretty nice album. With producer Aloysio de Olivira pulling some strings to get her in the studio, and bandleader/arranger Roberto Menescal cutting loose and having fun on these old-school samba cancao tunes, this disc has a lightness and vivacity that many of the contemporary, cool, suave, bossa-era recordings had foregone. A couple of Noel Rosa compositions bookend the album, but she also tackles more modern material by folks such as Marcos Valle and Wilson Batista, along with a couple of Ary Barroso classics. She sounds like she's having a blast, and the band follows her lead. It's a nice record; worth checking out!

Aracy De Almeida/Billy Blanco/Sergio Porto "No Zum-Zum" (Elenco, 1966)

Aracy De Almeida "Ao Vivo E A Vontade" (Continental, 1988)

Aracy De Almeida "Mestres Da MPB, v.1" (Warner, 1996)

Aracy De Almeida "Mestres Da MPB, v.2" (Warner, 1996)

Aracy De Almeida "Warner 30 Anos" (Warner, 2008)
A swell set of samba-cancao oldies from Brazilian singer Aracy De Almeida, who was one of the major interpreters of songwriter Noel Rosa, back in the 1940s. This is old-school samba, from way, way, way before the bossa nova, and it's fun, antique stuff. If you like ancient pop music, you might want to give this disc a spin!


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