Trio Irakitan -- Edson Franca, Paulo Gilvan and Joaozinho -- were one of the most popular vocal groups of the "radio singers" era, and maintained their popularity when the bossa nova swept through Brazilian music. The trio met in the late 1940s, while working in other Latin American countries, where -- among other things -- they mastered the trio style popular in Mexico. They returned to Brazil formally adopted the Irakitan name and became a professional act a few years later, releasing their first 10" album in 1955. Trio Irakitan specialized in romantic boleros, but also recorded a number of genre-themed albums, devoted to sambas, bossa nova, boleros and Spanish ballads. Founding member Edson Franca died in 1965, but the group continued on for many years with new membership. Here's a quick look at their work...
Trio Irakitan "Colecao 10 Polegados: Tres Vozes Que Encantam/Lendas E Pregoes Do Brasil" (EMI, 2005)
This single-CD release combines two old EPs from the 1950s: Tres Vozes Que Encantam and Lendas E Pregoes Do Brasil, their first two records, both originally on the Odeon label.
Trio Irakitan "Meus Momentos" (EMI-Odeon, 1998)
Trio Irakitan "Serie Bis" (EMI, 2000)
Although the bolero was a musical style that come from outside of Brazil, it swept into the Brazilian mainstream in the 1940s and '50s, and was mastered by many groups of the "radio singers" era. One of the most notable groups to croon these tunes was the Trio Irakitan, who recorded prolifically during the 1950s and '60s. This 2-CD set is a great introduction to their work, gathering a wealth of their most famous recordings for the Odeon label.
Trio Irakitan "Malaguena: 22 Famous Latin Love Songs" (Ovacao, 1998)
A Spanish-language set... Not sure when these recordings were actually made...
Trio Irakitan "Serie Millennium" (Universal, 2007)
Trio Irakitan "20 Super Sucessos" (Sony, 1999)
Re-recorded versions of old hits...
Trio Irakitan "Tres Vozes Que Encantam" (Odeon, 1955)
Trio Irakitan "Lendas E Pregoes Do Brasil" (Odeon, 1956)
Trio Irakitan "As Vozes E O Ritmo" (Odeon, 1957)
Trio Irakitan "Os Sambas Que Gostamos De Cantar" (Odeon, 1957)
The trio specialized in romantic material, particularly boleros, but here they tackle the samba-cancao (song-samba) canon of the 1930s and '40s, including the work of classic composers such as Dorival Caymmi and Ary Barroso. Great stuff, in a corny kinda way. Features arrangements by Maestro Astor.
Trio Irakitan & Os Brasileiros "Os Brasileiros Na Europa" (Odeon, 1958)
A joyful, upbeat album by an all-star ensemble that was equally adept in samba, forro and choro. Trio Irakitan provide earnest vocals in front of a band that featured Abel Ferreira - clarinet, Sivuca on accordion, and solid samba rhythms by Pernambuco do Pandeiro and drummer Dimas, along with some percussion by the Irakitan crew. It's all really fun stuff; in some ways I prefer the instrumental numbers where Ferreira and Sivuca deftly meld choro and forro. This album documents one of the numerous tours of Brazilian artists in Europe, and inspired the group to record at least one other album. Be great to see this in digital reissue some day!
Trio Irakitan "Os Boleros Que Gostamos De Cantar" (Odeon, 1959)
Trio Irakitan "Outros Sambas Que Gostamos De Cantar" (Odeon, 1959)
Trio Irakitan "Sempre Alerta" (Odeon, 1960)
Trio Irakitan "A Bossa Que Gostamos Cantar" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan "Boleros Que Gostamos Cantar" (Odeon, 1961)
A selection of well-known romantic boleros, mostly sung in Spanish, but occasionally translated into Portuguese. Although this album -- mellow, sedate, safe -- is okay for what it is, there is practically no stylistic variation from song to song. The simple percussion and the rhythm are always the same, the, slow, dolorous vocals, the minimal instrumental accompaniment... is is all unchanging, and ultimately rather monotonous.
Trio Irakitan "Outros Boleros Que Gostamos Cantar" (Odeon, 1961)
There's a slight change in the tone of this album, compared to the first Boleros album, but not much. The production is a little brighter, there are some variation in tempo and the arrangements... But in essence this is the same formula, and it wears thin.
Trio Irakitan "Mais Sambas Que Gostamos Cantar" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan "Nossa Casa De Cha, Cha, Cha" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan "Nos Gostamos De Cantar Sambas" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan "Outros Boleros Que Gostamos Cantar" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan & Gregorio Barrios "Gregorio Barrios & Trio Irakitan" (Odeon, 1961)
Trio Irakitan "Mais Uma Vez Boleros" (Odeon, 1963)
Trio Irakitan "Trio Irakitan" (Odeon, 1963)
Trio Irakitan "Boleros E Vozes Que Agradam Milhoes" (Odeon, 1964)
Trio Irakitan "A Bossa Que Gostamos De Cantar" (Odeon, 1964)
Trio Irakitan "10 Anos De Sucessos" (Odeon, 1965)
Trio Irakitan "A Volta" (Odeon, 1967)
Trio Irakitan "Nuestros Boleros: Trio Irakitan En Castellano" (Odeon, 1968)
Trio Irakitan "Trio Irakitan" (Odeon, 1968)
Trio Irakitan "Tira Teima" (Odeon, 1968)
Trio Irakitan "Cancoes Para Criancas De 6 A 60!" (Imperial, 1969)
Trio Irakitan "Canta Sucessos" (Odeon, 1969)
Trio Irakitan "Sempre O Bolero" (Odeon, 1970)
Trio Irakitan "Carimbo: O Balanco Da Selva" (Continental, 1974)
Trio Irakitan "25 Anos De Sucessos" (Odeon, 1975)
Gregorio Barrios & Trio Irakitan "Gregorio Barrios & Trio Irakitan" (Odeon, 1961)
The trio sings with one of the most popular bolero singers of the 1950s, Spanish-born baritone Gregorio Barrios, who came to Brazil later in his career. Haven't heard it, but I bet it's pretty schmaltzy!!
Nat "King" Cole "A Mis Amigos" (Capitol, 1959/Collector's Choice, 2007)
This was one of three latin-themed albums pop crooner Nat "King" Cole recorded back in the Eisenhower era... and apparently Trio Irakitan backed him up on the vocal choruses. Although we'd hardly consider this "world music" today, this excursion was pretty hep back in the late 1950s, particularly since Cole flew down to Rio and recorded with the locals while on tour in South America. Unfortunately, the liner notes don't say just who was backing him here -- apparently bandleader Dave Cavanaugh went with him to help run the sessions -- but from the brassy tones one might imagine that jazz/gafieira bandleaders such as Astor Silva, Zaccarias or Radames Gnattali were involved. The flexibilty of Brazilian musical sensibilities is readily apparent since only a handful of these tunes were originally of Brazilian vintage -- most are tangos and boleros from elsewhere in Latin America, but the Brazilians breeze through them all without batting an eye. Cole's phonetically-based pronunciation is atrocious, moreso in Portuguese than in Spanish, but it also lends a kitschy, retro charm. I'm sure everyone appreciated the thought, anyway. This new edition greatly expands on the 1959 original, including several recordings that were previously only available on collector's records in Europe and Latin America, and in a couple of cases, only as singles in Brazil! It'll grow on you.
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