How My Love of Brazilian Jazz Started: Another Artist Worth Checking Out

It was late on Saturday night, March 29, 2008–

I had spent most of the evening watching CBS Sports when the North Carolina men’s basketball team edged out Louisville to win the East Regional championship 83-73 at Charlotte, North Carolina.

Shortly after tucking my grandmother to bed, I push the button to my bedside radio on and briefly scan the dial to the former longtime home of smooth jazz in Chicago, WNUA 95.5 FM (I will spare you from hearing their world famous jingle, if you are able to remember it–good for you).

It was sometime after 10:30 in the evening and I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard:

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Image courtesy of israbox.com

The artist I would later find out was Marcela Mangabeira, and the song was “Para Ti.”

The melodies, the beats, the rhythms all spoke a very cool language to me.  And from that night onward, my love of Brazilian jazz has blossomed to becoming one of the few and true Superfans from the North American continent (let alone the world over, if there are any online statistics proving that fact).

I will comment in a bit about how my love of most things bossa nova and samba have made me enjoy a slice of pure bliss each and every week.

But first, a review as promised of Marcela’s rookie effort called “Simples” (pronounced as if it was French, Sim Plays).

Marcela, like myself, is a Virgo–born August 31, 1981 originally from Mato Grasso in Brazil.  She spent her early years winning local singing contests before jetting off to Europe starting in 1998.   Touring with the group Bossacucanova (which I hope to highlight later this year), her European itinerary included the countries of Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.  In 2003, Marcela moved to Rio and recorded the album in 2004.

Throughout the pictures, she appears very happy and carefree.  Twisting around as if she was taking a page from the very outlandish fashions of Ivete Sangalo, Marcela’s voice comes off as very soothing and relaxing.  Even on Track 2, her version of Ivan Lins’ “Love Dance” is definitely worth savoring.  But the third track is the real highlight and I highly recommend adding this CD to your collection.  Other recognizable Brazilian pop tunes are sprinkled throughout–most namely “A Ra”, “Rio” and “Eu E A Brisa”, along with her compositions of “P’ruze” and “Pro Tom.”

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My, how time flies.  The first five years have simply been both incredible and amazing to hear all of the varied talents, past and present.  Most specifically, Marcela and other key female singers that love to put more than your mind at ease.  They convey in their very special way…something that is very deep, very inspirational, very motivating.

In the fantasy of my dreams, if I had to field a baseball/softball team regardless of position, this would be my batting order of all time great Brazilian female jazz singers of the early 21st century:

1. Patricia Talem

2. Marisa Monte

3. Marcela Mangabeira

4. Fabiana Passoni

5. Bebel Gilberto

6. Bianca Rossini

7. Basia

8. Gal Costa

9. Sabrina Malheiros

And I would have Marina Elali, Lisa Maroni and Liz Rosa as my first names off the bench.

Thank you so much ladies, for enriching my love of Brazilian jazz.

I can only imagine what the next five years and beyond will bring, and my goal is to highlight at least one artist every week.

I close out this anniversary blog with the song that started it all, here is “Para Ti” by Marcela Mangabeira:

Have a great and safe Easter holiday!

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