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Marisa portrait Marisa Gata Mansa (aka "Marisa") was a 1950s-era singer who made the transition into the modern, post-bossa MPB scene, and actually did some pretty cool stuff late in her career. Let's take a quick look...

Discography - Best-Ofs

Marisa "Serie Bis" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
Although most of these recordings come from the heyday of bossa nova (1959-62), the style is a holdover from the pre-bossa "radio singers" era -- semi-big bandish pop vocals with a slight Brazilian twist. This 2-CD set is a nice overview of Marisa's career, dipping lightly into a few mid-1970s albums that sound much like the older stuff. Not really my cup of tea, but for fans of older Brazilian pop, this might be a nice chance to hear some of the old stuff.

Discography - Albums

Marisa "Convite A Musica" (Copacabana, 1958)

Marisa "Convite A Musica, v.2" (Copacabana, 1958)

Marisa "A Suave Marisa" (Copacabana, 1959)

Marisa "Marisa Simplesmente" (Copacabana, 1960)

Marisa "Little Club Apresenta Marisa" (Copacabana, 1961)
This is a nice portrait of what an intimate cabaret set might have sounded like in bossa-era Brazil... I'm not convinced this album is actually a live recording, but I bet this is a good reflection of what her shows at the "Little Club" in Rio were like. Marisa's voice still has a youthful feel, particularly of "pop" material such as Gilbert Becaud's "Croquemitufle," which would almost fit into a jovem guarda-style "teen" sound; on other songs she adopts a huskier-toned bossa-diva approach, more typical of her later work. The backing trio is a little looser and more lounge-y than many of the stiff, clattering, jazz-oriented bossa trios of the era -- the pianist is the lead instrumentalist, and glides into some rich, plummy, romantic riffs, unabashedly corny and expressive, in welcome contrast to the driving style that took over the clubs around this time. If you're willing to throw yourself into some kitschy romanticism, this could be a very rewarding record.

Marisa "Marisa" (Equipe, 1971)

Marisa "Viagem" (EMI-Odeon, 1973)
An unexpectedly vigorous, challenging set by radio-days old-timer Marisa Gata Mansa... Some of this is standard stuff, restrained ballads, with Marisa in fine form, with a still-strong, quite expressive voice. But some songs get pretty wild, with wailing electric guitars and tropicalia-influenced arrangements. The album ends with a sedate medley of "Um Dia/Menino Do Bracana/Upa! Upa!" which initially seems a bit deflating, but picks up power as it ends -- the choice to end what is, essentially, an experimental album on such a quiet note just lends strength to the aesthetic choices made throughout. This album might not be for everyone, but for those who are receptive, it may hold some nice surprises. It's certainly not as square or as dreary as some of the other ballad-heavy radio-singer comeback records of the same era... worth checking out!

Marisa "Marisa" (EMI-Odeon, 1974)

Marisa "Marisa A Gata Mansa" (Copacabana, 1975)

Marisa "Encontro De Amor" (EMI-Odeon, 1976)

Marisa "Marisa Gata Mansa" (Coomusa, 1980)

Marisa "Leopardo" (Acai, 1982)

Marisa "Encontro Com Antonio Maria" (CID, 1997)


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