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Marlui Miranda "Olho D'Agua" (Warner/Continental, 1979)
(Produced by Solano Ribeiro, Arnaldo Saccomani & Manuel Barembein)

Marlui Miranda is certainly one of the most challenging Brazilian artists of the post-tropicalia era... Here is where her devotion to indigenous, Amazonian music is first made manifest, on a perplexingly dense, wildly creative, and sometimes quite irritating album. Bassist Zeca Assumpcao joins Miranda and album producer/multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti for a bewildering mix of native Brazilian styles and slick jazz fusion. You can definitely hear a lot of Gismonti's influence in this album, although these performances are a lot livelier than many of his own albums. To be sure, this may not be for everyone, but it's certainly an innovative tour-de-force, worth checking out if you're looking for something completely different. Folks familiar with her later albums, Ihu and Ihu II, (reviewed below) will find this disc of a piece with those albums.

Marlui Miranda "Revivencia" (Memoria, 1983) (LP)

Marlui Miranda "Rio Acima" (Memoria, 1986) (LP)

Pau Brasil "Babel" (Blue Jackel, 1995)
An old-fashioned jazz-fusion group, featuring bassist Rodolfo Stroeder and vocalist Marlui Miranda. Sounds a LOT like old Chick Corea, Return To Forever, etc. Distinctively Brazilian elements include compositions based on indigenous tribal music -- a theme which is explored better on Miranda's solo albums. My aversion to the soprano saxophone is one of the reasons I found this record hard to get into.

Marlui Miranda "Ihu: Todos Os Sons" (Blue Jackel/Pau Brasil, 1995)
A challenging figure on the world music landscape, Miranda's Ihu albums draw on the musical and oral traditions of Brazil's 200-plus native tribes. As she herself puts it, the project is "artistic, not ethnographic" -- she's sort of like a Brazilian Meredith Monk, crafting highly unusual vocal landscapes, presenting music from an astonishingly broad range of cultures, but all within a modern artistic framework. Gilberto Gil and Rodolfo Stroecher pitch in, and Miranda's vocal chorus hits harmonies which would make both Le Voix Mysterie Bulgares and the Monks of Santo Domingo stand around a while, just scratching their heads in wonder. Challenging, but cool.

Marlui Miranda "Ihu II: Kewere: Rezar: Prayer" (Blue Jackel/Pau Brasil, 1997)
Many listeners may find Ihu II much starker and less accessible.

Gilberto Gil "Sol De Oslo" (Blue Jackel, 1998)
A very pleasant surprise. This ranks up there as one of Gil's best records, and is very much in a mellow tone. The drifting, melodic dreamscape is largely defined by the ever-present, ever-subtle accordion of Toninho Ferragutti, who weaves throughout the record, playing half-forro, half-Piazolla. Guest vocals by Marlui Miranda are also a treat: on her own records she has chosen a stark, dark style, and hearing her sweetened harmonies on this disc is a revelation. Gilberto is in peak form, continuing to build on the focussed, less jittery, style of the last five years or so. A highly recommended album, and hopefully an indicator of more great things to come.

Marlui Miranda "Hans Staden" (1999)

Marlui Miranda & Ravi "Neuneneu Humanity: Fragments Of Indigenous Brazil" (2010)


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