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Ney Matogrosso portrait Cabaret-glam rocker Ney Matogrosso was fey, feather-boa wearing male pop singer, and for a time in the early 1970s, Matogrosso pitched himself as sort of a Brazilian glam queen. He started out as a psychedelic rock'n'roller, but later became more of a synth-pop artist -- his contralto is not unlike hearing Gal Costa sing with a bad head cold. His work with the rock band Secos & Molhados is pretty cool, though, as are some of his earlier solo records. Here's a quick look at his work...


Secos & Molhados "Secos & Molhados" (MCA, 1973)
(Produced by Joao Ricardo & Moracy Do Val)

Psychedelic glam-folk from Sao Paulo, with convincingly androgyne vocals by Ney Matogrosso. Vocally, he sounds a lot like Rita Lee, and I mean that it the best way... Os Mutantes fans should really get off on these records, which build on the same nutty rocknroll eclecticism. What else can I say? This is cool. Some of the best Brazilian rock I've heard yet, with sly wisps of acoustic folk, forro and space rock skillfully woven together. Along with Matogrosso, the band included guitarists Conrad Gerson and Joao Ricardo... and fellow pop-rockster Ze Rodrix was also in on the fun, playing piano and synthesizer (although he was not offically part of the band...) Highly recommended!

Secos & Molhados "Secos & Molhados" (Continental, 1974)
(Produced by Joao Ricardo)

Another cool album from this groundbreaking band... Matogrosso continued on in the same vein for his first solo album...

Secos & Molhados "Secos & Molhados (1973)/Secos & Molhados (1973)" (Warner, 1999)
This 2-in-1 reissue collects the first two Secos albums...

Ney Matogrosso "Agua Do Ceu Passaro" (Continental, 1975)
Freaky Brazilian glam-tropicalia. This early solo album by Ney Matogrosso, formerly of the band Secos & Molhados, it a model of kookiness, eclecticism and theatricality. It opens with jungle sounds: toucans and monkeys straight out of a Tarzan movie; regional and indigenous Brazilian music is laced throughout the album, amid funky rock riffs and electrified cabaret songs. At the end of "Acucar Candy," Matogrosso moans and gasps through an aural-porn, in-studio orgasm that still sounds shocking and would put poor Yoko Ono to shame... There's actually a lot of good, provocative, engaging and inventive rock material on here; if you like weird, old, difficult Brazilian stuff but have only heard Matogrosso's later, disheartening pop albums, by all means check this record out. It's an oldie but a goodie.

Ney Matogrosso "Bandido" (Continental, 1976)

Ney Matogrosso "Pecado" (Continental, 1977)

Ney Matogrosso "Feitico" (Warner, 1978)
(Produced by Mazola)

Lavish, bombastic, glitzy, tacky pop, half disco/half AOR, horrible yet strangely compelling. Tolerable enough that I was able to space out on it and get some work done while it was on, although every once and a while I'd look up and my cats would be glaring at me disapprovingly, like, "Seriously dude? this is what you're listening to? I'm going to go puke in your shoes now." It's pretty embarrassing music, but it has some intriguing elements - his incorporation of tango and other non-Brazilian latin American styles is kind of cool, I guess. I honestly couldn't imagine listening to it more than once, though. One highlight is the closing track, "Tic Tac Do Meu Coracao," a Carmen Miranda-y number that's kind of a hoot.

Ney Matogrosso "Seu Tipo" (Elektra, 1979)
(Produced by Mazola)

This opens with a lounge-y, bluesy, big band-ish vibe, but branches out into different styles, such as the brisk, Andean-flavored "Ultimo Drama," and some folkish acoustic tunes. Sometimes he reminds me of Milton Nascimento and Lo Borges, with the same high-pitched, ethereal, falsetto vocal glide... It's not a sound I'm particularly fond of, but I will say that Matogrosso makes it more pleasant than others do. Irritating, yet seductive, like a lot of his stuff. Worth checking out.

Ney Matogrosso "Sujeito Estranho" (Warner, 1980)

Ney Matogrosso "Ney Matogrosso" (Ariola, 1981)

Ney Matogrosso "Mato Grosso" (Ariola, 1982)

Ney Matogrosso "Pois E" (Barclay, 1983)

Ney Matogrosso "Destino De Aventureiro" (Barclay, 1984)

Ney Matogrosso "Bugre" (Polygram, 1986)

Ney Matogrosso "Pescador De Perolas" (CBS, 1987)

Ney Matogrosso "Quem Nao Vive Tem Medo Da Morte" (CBS, 1988)

Ney Matogrosso "Ao Vivo" (CBS, 1989)

Ney Matogrosso & Rafael Rabello "A Flor De Pele" (Som Livre, 1990)

Ney Matogrosso "As Aparencias Enganam" (Polygram, 1993)

Ney Matogrosso "Estava Escrito" (Mercury-Polygram, 1994)

Ney Matogrosso "Um Brasileiro" (Polygram, 1996)

Ney Matogrosso "O Cair Da Tarde" (Polygram, 1997)

Ney Matogrosso "Olhas De Farol" (Polygram, 1999)

Ney Matogrosso "Vivo" (Universal, 1999)

Ney Matogrosso "Batuque" (Universal, 2001)

Ney Matogrosso "...Interpreta Cartola" (Universal, 2002)

Ney Matogrosso "Romantico" (Som Livre, 2002)

Ney Matogrosso & Pedro Luis E A Parade "Vagabundo" (Universal, 2004)

Ney Matogrosso & Pedro Luis E A Parade "Vagabundo Ao Vivo" (Universal, 2005)

Ney Matogrosso "Canto Em Qualquer Canto" (Universal, 2005)

Ney Matogrosso "Inclassificaveis" (2008)

Ney Matogrosso "Beijo Bandido" (EMI, 2009)


Ney Matogrosso "Sangue Latino" (Continental, 1982)
The title track was written by rocker Rita Lee, whhich is entirely appropriate since the casual listener would be hard pressed to tell the difference between her voice and Matogrosso's. Actually, this is one of his better albums, with kooky but uncluttered arrangements... It's playful and engaging; outlandish and a bit busy, perhaps, but still kind of fun. At least there aren't any big, crunching, bad rock riffs on here, just an odd and somewhat deft mix of pop, rock, fusion jazz and Latin American themes... Worth checking out; for what it's worth, this album is more engaging than a lot of stuff put out by several bigger Brazilian stars around the same time...

Ney Matogrosso "Personalidade" (Philips, 1987)
This best-of collection gives a pretty fair representation of his disco-tinged early-'80s work, which may be too mainstream for many, but it's not terrible. His work with the rock band Secos & Molhados is pretty cool, though.

Ney Matogrosso "Minha Historia" (Polygram, 1999)

Ney Matogrosso "Colecao Obras Primas" (Mercury/Polygram, 1995)
Buhllllllecch. This best-of collection covers several early-'80s albums, and some stuff done in 1993-94. It's all pretty uninspiring. Bland pop with tinkly keyboards that wouldn't be out of place on an evangelical Christian program, or a Toni Tennille solo album. Nothing I need to hear again.

Ney Matogrosso "Millennium" (Universal, 1999)

Ney Matogrosso "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 2002)

Ney Matogrosso "As Melhores" (Sony-BMG, 2004)

Ney Matogrosso "A Arte De Ney Matogrosso" (Universal-Mercury, 2005)
Rough going. Although there's a tinge of his rock'n'roll roots (on songs like the anthemic "America Do Sul," etc.), it doesn't take long for a cheesier pop-ballads style to dominate. And throughout it all, Matogrosso's thrilling, feminine voice pierces through... This is mostly made up of later work, from 1994-2003, although an old Secos & Molhados track or two are thrown in for good measure. Yucky, but representative of his work.


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