Artists Worth Checking Out: Wanda Sa still dazzles with superb vocals, but 1965 proved to be truly a magical year
Image courtesy of musicstack.com
When Wanda de Sah began learning guitar from Roberto Menescal, it was a very turbulent time in Brazil. Unlike in June 2013 with the constant protests surrounding poor working conditions leading up towards the 2014 FIFA World Cup of soccer (that is futbol to the rest of the globe that might be reading), then Brazilian President Joao Goulart was being ousted by a military takeover.
Oblivious to those inside Copacabana, according to the first paragraph on page 276 in Ruy Castro’s 2000 masterpiece of a book Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced The World–was a thing of beauty.
More on that album in a bit, but as the time Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’65 gained some modest airplay at Carnegie Hall in New York, the then 21 year old vocalist proved to do outstanding vocals on “So Nice”, “She’s A Carioca”, the soulful hit “Let Me”, and this memorable hit on Track 6 (song begins at around the 8 second mark):
On the “Softly” album, she blends in true romantic vibes with basic rhythms starting with “Reza”–then the lounge music slows down a bit with “Ho Ba La La”. The most memorable songs are back to back on Tracks 13 and 14 in this dual CD, “Sweet Happy Life” and a song made more famous later in the decade by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 with “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars.”
A very fast version of “So Danco Samba” (or “Jazz and Samba”) is also featured, along with the puzzling lyrics of “Who Knows” on Track 19, then the slower melodies close out the dual CD set “With Feeling” and “Aqua de Beber.”
When Eumir Deodato and Roberto Menescal teamed up for Wanda’s first album at age 19, nobody predicted how popular this album would become. Translated into English, Wanda Vaguely featured many different instruments and amidst a shutdown of public transportation due to a strike ordered by the General Workers’ Confederation.
Track 1 features the Portuguese version of “Adriana”. The next track featured what would become a wildly popular song mostly done with piano masterfully by Marcos Valle, “E Vem O Sol” (or “And Comes The Sun”). Track 5 sounded similar to entering your favorite church hearing the tranquil beats of “Mar Azul” (or “Blue Sea”). A few Antonio Carlos Jobim songs appear towards the end with “Vivo Sonhando” (or “Live Dreaming”) on Track 8 and “Intuil Paisagem” (or “Useless Landscape”), then the title track.
Perhaps it was best expressed in the original Alta Fidelidade label when Ronaldo Boscoli lavished lots of praise about the album and the then-prodigy of an artist, as translated from the original liner notes:
“For the curious voice Wanda experiences she has not (had) experiences (in) that (so), and ‘as well as’–it is just like a harpoon 2,000 (times over and) Wanda‘s voice says more than a song.
It is a voice that simply sings with no intention of messages very deep.
Wanda and above all consistently sing their world and the things that surround it.
A hint of sadness in his way of saying things.
And who do not have an explanation, at least in appearance.
And so beautiful.
His talent was discovered by the talent of his friends, musicians who accompany here: Tenorio, Eumir, Menescal, and Luiz Carlos.
As for me I had the opportunity, why wait so long.
Meet the voice of mocha singing (and) what I feel.
She appeared in “2 in Balanco” TV show at the time, I was producing alongside Miele. Hence the reason I am speaking of Wanda.
The modesty of this beautiful little girl, gave the title to this LP: Vaguely. Assure that the pun on the title of a music I made with Menescal (is merely only) an accident.
Wanda had been, at least among aquaintances who had the privilege to educate their sensibilities.
And for those that Wanda and sings.
Not (to) speak a line from the disc itself. More than a thousand words was not worth a note wound with exactitude how the girl can do (such an awesome job).
But it is in us.”
Yes, if I was able to translate this from very small print from the original LP liner notes, that alone is worth the price of this CD.
The problem is, this disk is extremely rare to find. At least, I will give you one major clue on what current label you could search for it.
Wanda Vagamente can be found under the RGE Classics label.
And with Wanda turning 69 on July 11, I hope that she continues to live life like a true Carioca should–albeit times in Brazil are extremely tense at the time this blog was posted.