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Silvinha Araujo portrait Silvinha (1951-2008) (aka Silvinha Araujo) was one of the grittiest and most hard-edged of the jovem guarda '60s rock singers... Oh, sure, she had her fair share of pretty-sounding teenybopper ballads, but what set her apart from her contemporaries (guys as well as gals) was her ability to cut loose and be a little less polite or tentative, to really grind her way into some soulful rock'n'roll vocals. She is often likened to Janis Joplin, though that comparison isn't quite accurate -- Grace Slick, maybe? Gillian Hills, if you're French? Anyway, Silvinha was pretty cool. She married another jovem guarda star, singer and record producer Eduardo Araujo, with whom she recorded a few records. Here's a quick look at her work...


Silvinha "Serie Bis - Jovem Guarda" (Odeon, 2000)
A 2-CD set covering her EMI-Odeon years, from 1967-1975. It's a goldmine of perky Brazilian jovem guarda rock, as well as a cautionary tale, once you dig deep enough. Silvinha's opening salvo was stunning: her '67 debut featured raw, lusty vocals, with a Wanda Jackson/Leslie Gore-ish vigor and verve; '68 was good, too, with a psychedelic/hard-rock flair that made her stuff even more fun. But the tracks after that -- from 1969, '70 and '71 -- showed that, like many artists, she was only as good as her producers allowed her to be, and when they steered her towards slower, more mainstream pop ballads, her work suffered. Uptempo material was really this gal's forte, and when they let her cut loose, that's when these discs come alive. Someone figured that out later on down the line: 1975's cover of Roberto Carlo's "Voce Ja Morreu" shows her ripping and roaring again, this time with a more modern, 'Seventies production style that reframes her almost as a Runaways/Joan Jett-style hard rocker. Heck, I even like the cheesy pop stuff now (I've been listening to too many of these jovem guarda records, I'm afraid) and so I gotta say, this collection is well worth tracking down.

Discography - Albums

Silvinha "Silvinha" (Odeon, 1967)

Silvinha "Silvinha" (Odeon, 1968)
(Produced by Tony Campello)

Better-than-average jovem guarda teenybopper rock from the late 1960s... Produced by joven guarda veteran Tony Campello, this album frames Silvinha's talents well; the arrangements aren't as hokey or slipshod as many contemprary JG recordings, but they also aren't so kooky that they drown her out or distract from her singing. And she does sound good, very much like a "girl group" singer from the U.S.A., thin-toned and feminine, but also sassy and savvy; fans of the Dixie Cups, Little Eva, or even France Gall could probably get into this album. The hippest, most fuzzed-out teen-tunes are the album's opener, "Professor Particular," and "Banho De Sorvete," as well as the half-clompy, half-ebullient "Aconteceu" (a cover of Holland/Dozier's "The Happening"). Covers of "Playboy" and "Tell Him" are also standouts... All in all, this is one of the better JG albums I've come across -- not earthshaking rock'n'roll, but certainly worth checking out. (Re-released in 2005 with extra tracks.)

Silvinha "Silvinha" (Odeon, 1971)
(Produced by Milton Miranda & Lindolfo Gaya)

This is a wild one! Silvinha was always a little more dynamic than the other jovem guarda "girl" singers, but here she really cuts loose on some raspy, shouting rock vocals, ala Tina Turner or Janis Joplin, an approach that works better on some tracks than on others. The album begins a little too conservatively, matching her throaty yelps with standard-issue Brazilian orchestral pop arrangements, which unfortunately accentuates her shortcomings instead of her strengths. But when matched with more aggressive, distorted electric guitars (as on her gnarly version of Luiz Gonzaga's "Paraiba" recast here as) or with funky soul-pop grooves ("Risque" and "Deixa A Cinza Deste Inverno Passar") she really starts gaining traction. There's some pretty cool stuff on here, you just have to dig a little to get there.

Silvinha "Silvinha" (Odeon, 1972)

Silvinha & Eduardo Araujo "Sou Filho Desse Chao" (Beverly, 1976) (LP)

Silvinha & Eduardo Araujo "Rebu Geral" (Fermata, 1981)
(Produced by Eduardo Araujo)

A fairly dreadful synth/pop/soul outing from this husband-wife team, with a sort of try-anything-see-what-sticks approach. The opening track finds Araujo reaching back to his Black Rio soul days, but this time in a duet with Silvinha that evokes Ashford & Simpson as much as Tim Maia. There are a lot of disco tunes on here, making this one of those Brazilian pop albums that try to copy American trends, but is two or three years behind the times. Silvinha subsumes herself on the altar of tacky, bright pop, sounding like a more soulful Rita Lee, or really more like a Brazilian Sylvie Vartan. Still, despite the drekky musical direction, there are glimmers of life: the relatively restrained soul ballad, "Sob O Ouro Desse Eterno Sol," she gives a nice, soft vocal performance (which quickly undercut by his Tim Maia/Cassiano-style vocals...) and the lightweight country-rock-pop of "Rancho Allegre" points out another path for Araujo to take. Mostly, though, this is pretty disappointing... If you're super-into Brazilian soul, this could be a "lost nugget" album, but most folks will be better off skipping this one.

Silvinha "Grita Coracao" (Pointer, 1984) (LP)

Silvinha "Kinema" (EAS, 1997)

Silvinha Araujo "Suave E Noite" (Ouver, 2000)
Recording under her full name, Silvinha (Araujo) makes a comeback, marking 35 years since her show-biz debut...


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