Rare Gems: Bruna Caram refreshes with over a dozen cool songs

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Image courtesy of freecodesource.com

Bruna Caram was born on July 26, 1987 in Avare, which is part of the State of Sao Paolo.  Similar to Sabrina Malheiros, she caught the singing bug at a very early age and started playing piano by age 7.  Bruna would eventually go into play in major competitions and win some major awards along the way.

Her debut album from 2006 is a refreshing mix of bossa nova mixed up with some ballads, pop, along with some blues in between.  The title track which can be found on Track 7 received major airplay on Japanese radio, while the steady rhythms of Track 3, “Palavras do Coração (Words of the Heart)” has gotten steady airplay on Brazilian radio.

Other cool songs worth a listen include Track 4, “Cavaleiro Andaluz” (translated means Andlusian Horseman” and the last track on “Movimento”.

Since that time, Bruna has added two more albums to her credit:  “Feriado Pessoa (Personal Holiday)” in 2009 and in November 2012 went out of her comfort zone to produce “Sera Bem-Vidno Qualquer Sorriso (Will Welcome Any Smile)”.  Inbetween, she earned a degree in Music at 2010 from the São Paulo university (Unesp campus).

This album may be hard to find online, but if you do your research–you might stumble onto it and really enjoy this nice album.  Definitely gets high marks from me.  And of course, there are a handful of B&W images of her standing amidst various residential background places inside the liner notes.

Next week will be another cool rare gem to look up, but I wish to take some brief time to get on my virtual soapbox so-to speak.

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Hard To Believe, But Only Two Years Remain Until Rio Welcomes The World For The Summer Olympics–and Some Venues Are Still Not Ready

With the recent completion of the highly anticipated but mostly nerve wracking FIFA World Cup, most of the world could breathe a cool sigh of relief that only scattered reports of violence took place outside the stadiums.  The party atmosphere up and down Copacabana Beach was quite a spectacle for the ESPN cameras, and it appeared that Brazilian fans took the games in stride–feeling joyous and happy in their victories and feeling downtrodden and sad in their very disappointing loss to the eventual champions of Germany.

Soccer will of course have a few more matches to kick off the 2016 Summer Olympics.  However, it is the date of August 5, a Friday evening that the world will be focusing on the most.  Two years may seem like a long time for some people, but the way the world moves at warp speed–the NBC promos will be coming faster and more furious than the in-house teasers their former game show Deal or No Deal did during the late 2000’s.

According to Wikipedia, they quoted from a May 9 article published by the London Evening Standard as recent past venues with infrastructure and stadium completion had Athens in 2004 at “40 percent”, while London in 2012 had “60 percent”.

Rio, by comparsion, has only done 10 percent.

I am starting to have some doubts here and there, but with some of the venues not even close to presentable let alone competition worthy–I can see why the locals are concerned.  Even the New York Times has shown in their articles and especially in their photo essays how scathing portions of Rio are still deplorable and very downtrodden to look at.  Also, what Ashley Webster reported on Fox Business during the afternoon of July 9, Brazil’s hotel occupancy rate during the World Cup was down a staggering 43 percent.  This for a country who has around 7.2 million people who live on a very paltry $1.25 or less, and their overall bill spent on hosting the World Cup alone was $11.3 billion.  And yet, their rate of inflation still hovers above 6.5 percent.

That is only part of the picture.  For the purposes of this part of the blog, I am going to give out my thoughts on the key venues themselves with a letter grade and some general thoughts on what has been done and what could be done (literally and figuratively, but the way some venues are moving construction wise at more than a snail’s pace, the final two years before the Olympic flame arrives might get a bit more ugly as the weeks and months pass).

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange (Rio Olympic Stadium)

Athletics, key Track and Field events.

B, with past problems of their roof–they managed to stage some matches during the World Cup.  Nice lighting similar to what the future Ted Turner Field in Atlanta showcased during the 1996 Centennial Olympics.

Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã Stadium)

Opening and Closing Ceremonies, along with Soccer gold medal matches.

A, call this venue going “Back to the Future”.  The home also to the 1950 World Cup will be quite a backdrop for both ceremonies.  And based on what we all saw on July 13, will there be similar tense moments like Germany and Argentina gave the world in the FIFA World Cup final?

HSBC Arena

Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics, along with some Basketball and Trampoline Events.

A-, only the traffic surrounding that arena could be the only difficulty.  But in the pics that I have seen, most women watching in prime-time should be (hopefully) pleased.  And yes, they can firmly lay claim that they saw Derrick Rose in person play for the Chicago Bulls–albeit it was an exhibition game in October 2013 against the same team they would eventually lose to in the following spring’s playoffs from the Washington Wizards.

Sambadrome

Archery and the finish line to the Marathon.

A, I based this grade not only the proximity to major expressways, but also on the uniqueness of the venue itself.  The stands will be converted away from the usual late winter/early spring Carnaval setup to resemble several standing targets.  I wonder how Hollywood actor Geena Davis (herself a participant in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) would have reacted to this kind of setup.

The usual Carnaval setup should be quite a backdrop for the NBC cameras on the final Sunday of the Olympics.  Instead of having it end inside the stadium where the Closing Ceremonies will be taking place, this should definitely be a photographer’s dream come true.

Maria Lenk Aquatic Center

Diving, Water Polo, and Synchronized Swimming.

B, named after the former Brazilian swimmer who died in 2007 three months before this facility opened, we will have to see how the water reacts to the indoor heater inside the pool.  As for the regular swimming pool, we will see what happens down the road.

Maracanãzinho Gymnasium
Ginásio do Maracanãzinho, (Little Maracana)

Indoor Volleyball

A, looks on the inside similar to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the Jon Huntsman Center at the University of Utah campus.  Should be one of the hotly contested venues, and probably one of the loudest based largely on the boisterous fan reaction during Brazil’s 2012 impressive run to the women’s gold medal.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Rowing and Canoeing.

D-, the very murky water is beyond horrible.  Words alone could not describe the images seen in the November 2013 NYT photo essay.  It’s that sad.  But wait, it gets even worse.

Marina of Gloria

Sailing

F, before my favorite MPB artists think of throwing any type of virtual stones at their monitors or smartphones–let me explain.  The view with the skyscrapers in the background looks nice.  The area surrounding the decks and the surrounding parks looks cool.

I based my grade on the condition of the water itself.  Many sailors the world over could not believe how horrible the condition of the water is, and it may take decades for it to get to cleaner standards.  Two years may not be enough time.

But it is best to end with the best news of all…

Copacabana Beach

A+, to the former AVP pro beach volleyball venues, I have just one thing to say:

Take that, Manhattan Beach.

Same goes for Hermosa Beach and Seal Beach in California, Coney Island in New York, Cincinnati, and yes, even Oak Street Beach with the imposing John Hancock Building serving as quite a backdrop on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

The first time I saw pics of this pristine and simply gorgeous beach on the 2016 Rio Olympics website a few days after the 2012 Olympics ended in London, I instantly fell in love.

Words alone could fill an entire book on why this beach is going to be (hopefully) a near perfect backdrop not just for beach volleyball, but also other key sports like the triathlon and open water swimming will be taking place in other key spots.

That venue alone promises to be a video recorder’s dream come true.  That is, unless the media presumes that either London or (gasp) Madrid, Spain steps in as an emergency host–I hope Rio again can prove me wrong.

They proved me wrong on them staging a hugely popular sporting event with the FIFA World Cup, and the games themselves were amazing (I wonder if they read my blog going into Brazil’s opening match back in June).

But as I clearly said and it bears repeating…

The Olympic Games are a different animal.

Soccer (futbol) is only one sport.  The Olympics will have over three dozen sports, including the newest one in golf (wonder if Tiger Woods’ back won’t be flaring up on the plane ride there?  But kidding aside, the Golf Channel will probably be one non-stop party many years in the making.)

I wonder if the people in charge throughout Rio truly believe that the venues will be 100 percent ready come August 5, 2016.

As fast as these last five years have flown, the next two probably will go by in a heartbeat–especially with more great Brazilian jazz blogs and possible movie reviews to savor.

I just wonder how it will all come together.

And as Fabiana Passoni herself said in one of my first blogs, only one word comes to mind–

Jetinho, or having the knack.

Where is it?

And will it all get done in time?

Thank you for reading.

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