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Fafa De Belem portrait Singer Fafa De Belem is one of that great flock of utterly tacky MPB stars of the 1970s, those who took the eclectic innovations of pioneering composers and turned it all into boring drek. I honestly don't get her appeal, although I am curious to hear more of her early work. Anyone have any recommended records that might help me out?


Fafa De Belem "Tamba Taja" (Polydor, 1976)
To be blunt, Fafa de Belem is one of the blandest Brazilian pop stars imaginable, and yet her 1976 debut album -- made in the wake of the psychedelic tropicalia boom -- may come as a revelation to listeners more familiar with her subsequent ultra-horrible romantic pop albums. Here, there's a wide stylistic range, and practically all of it is earthier and more engaging than almost anything she's done since. Her debts to samba queen Clara Nunes and MPB diva Maria Bethania are particularly striking, as are numerous songs bouyed by heavy Afro-Brazilian percussion. Until I discovered this album, I'd never heard a Fafa record worth hanging onto; now I just scratch my head and wonder what went wrong. Recommended!

Fafa De Belem "Agua" (Phonogram, 1977) (LP)

Fafa De Belem "Banho De Cheiro" (Phonogram, 1978)
(Produced by Sergio De Carvalho & Paulinho Lima)

Straight-up, swanky 'Seventies MPB, in the classic style... This basically sounds like a Maria Bethania album of the same vintage -- lush, elegant, slow-paced, perhaps a little too classy. But it's not the kind of tacky pop she got into later, and it holds up well against similar albums of the time. No mystery why: arrangements and performances by Joao Donato, Francis Hime, Roberto Menescal and Wagner Tiso place this squarely in the MPB mainstream. Also notable is Octavio Burnier, who arranged one song and who sings backup and in the chorus along with his creative partner Claudio Cartier, which might be of interest to their fans. Overall, though, I wouldn't say this is a record I'd want to listen to recreationally -- it's a little too posh for my tastes.

Fafa De Belem "Estrela Radiante" (Polygram, 1979)

Fafa De Belem "Crenca" (Polygram, 1980)

Fafa De Belem "Essencial" (Polygram, 1982)

Fafa De Belem "Fafa De Belem" (Som Livre, 1983)

Fafa De Belem "Aprendizes Da Esperanca" (Som Livre, 1985)

Fafa De Belem "Atrevida" (Sigla, 1986)
I've heard several of Fafa's later album, and kept none of them. This is the only one I could remember the name of... and, lord, it's awful. Perpetually drenched in painful, retro disco-AOR overproduction, she's one of the few Brazilian pop artists that I can criticize or make fun of without any disagreement from Brazilian readers. Take my word for it: this is worse than you could possibly imagine.

Fafa De Belem "Grandes Amores" (Som Livre, 1987)

Fafa De Belem "Sozinha" (Polygram, 1988)

Fafa De Belem "Fafa" (BMG-Ariola, 1989)

Fafa De Belem "Doces Palavras" (BMG-Ariola, 1991)

Fafa De Belem "Meu Fado" (Som Livre, 1992)

Fafa De Belem "Do Fundo Do Meu Coracao" (BMG-Ariola, 1993)

Fafa De Belem "Cantiga Pra Ninar Meu Namorado" (Sony-Columbia, 1994)

Fafa De Belem "Ao Vivo" (Sony-Columbia/Globo, 1995)

Fafa De Belem "Passaro Sonhador" (Sony-Columbia, 1996)

Fafa De Belem "Coracao Brasileiro" (Warner, 1998)

Fafa De Belem "Apaixonada" (Columbia, 1999)

Fafa De Belem "Maria De Fatima Palha Figueiredo" (Warner, 2000)

Fafa De Belem "Dentro De Mim Mora Um Anjo" (Universal, 2001)

Fafa De Belem "Tanto Mar: Fafa De Belem Canta Chico Buarque" (Sony-BMG/Columbia, 2005)

Fafa De Belem "Ao Vivo" (EMI, 2007)


Fafa De Belem "Focus: O Essencial De Fafa De Belem" (BMG, 1999)
This best-of runs the length of Fafa's career, from 1977 to the 'Nineties, but there is only superficial variety between the songs. Mostly it's pretty poppy, garishly overproduced material. Some dips in nordeste material, but this seems more informed by mainstream Spanish-language pop than by anything else. I guess this collection is pretty representative of her work, and listenable in certain sense, but definitely not my bag.

Fafa De Belem "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 2002)

Fafa De Belem "I Love MPB" (Universal, 2004)

Fafa De Belem "Novo Millennium" (Universal-Mercury, 2005)

Fafa De Belem "A Arte De..." (Universal, 2006)


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