iaiá  - 2004



Iaiá - Mônica Salmaso

Considered by the critics and musicians to be the most representative voice of the new generation of popular music, Mônica Salmaso, from São Paulo, continues her impeccable discography with the CD, Iaiá, her first recording with Biscoito Fino and her fourth CD.

“Iaiá is a great coming together—of the musicians and composers, of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro—in a free way, sometimes simple, sometimes complex. Many songs were recorded live in the studio, and this makes this CD the most organic and most alive,” says Mônica.

The release of Iaiá comes out at a special moment in her career. “First, because this CD is my first one on the new label; second, because I haven´t recorded for four years, since I was doing shows outside of Brazil. I don´t know exactly how big my public is. I did a lot of shows sung with other people, and my work grew slowly. I think this CD could show a little of the size of the public I have up to now”.

Mônica has a sweet, penetrating voice with a unique and rare tone, and has the power to transform her interpretations into classics — a quality of great singers. She has a notable capacity to move easily from the erudite to the popular and not be limited to the label of a singer of only one genre.

In Iaiá, Mônica pays homage to Clementina de Jesus, with the song, Moro na Roça and most of the songs on the CD were taken from the repertoire of the project, Ponto in Comum, which she produced at SESC-SP in 2002 and 2003.

“There were eight different shows, all with invited artists and with a repertoire based on the work of these artists. In these encounters, I learned an incredible amount of music from the preparations until the final show”.

The new CD has a part with the musician, Rodolfo Stroeter, producer and musical co-director of the recording, with whom Mônica does four takes (Trampolim, Voadeira, Nem um Aí and Iaiá). “We work very well together. I think we see Brazil in a similar way and easily understand what each other is thinking about the work. It is very easy to work when there is such musical and creative affinity”.

In the repertoire, there are composers of different times, styles and regions, such as Dorival Caymmi, Maurício Carrilho, Paulo César Pinheiro, Jair do Cavaquinho, Xangô da Mangueira, Zagaia, Silvio Caldas, De Chocolat, Carusinho, Rodolfo Stroeter, Joyce, Vanessa da Mata, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, José Miguel Wisnik, Chico Buarque and Tom Zé.

And Mônica chose some of the best and most admired musicians to accompany her. They are Paulo Bellinati, Robertinho Silva, Benjamim Taubkin, Rodolfo Stroeter, Toninho Ferragutti, Ari Colares, Teco Cardoso, Lui Coimbra, Caíto Marcondes, André Mehmari, Luca Raele and the quintet, Sujeito a Guincho, Maurício Carrilho, Luciana Rabello, Pedo Amorim, Jorginho do Pandeiro and Nailor Proveta Azevedo.

“Singing with different musicians with different backgrounds is a characteristic of my career. It is how I learn and have fun.”

The Quintessential Voice of Brazil: Mônica Salmaso’s Sparse and Colorful Interpretations

Mônica Salmaso, best known as an interpreter of a wide range of Brazilian music, releases her new CD Iaiá on World Village on November 9, 2004. Salmaso pays tribute to a vast array of Brazilian legends and songwriters, stepping across eras deftly while simultaneously creating a contemporary yet gentle mood. The word “iaiá” is a shortened version of “sinhá,” which is the way Brazilian slaves pronounced “senhora” (which means “missus” or “lady”). The release is accompanied by concerts in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  

“Mônica Salmaso has a gorgeous, quintessentially Brazilian voice: quietly lustrous and sustained, suffusing each liquid note with languid secrets,” wrote Jon Pareles of The New York Times (1/15/2002). “She is primarily a ballad singer, offering kindly vignettes of rural Indians and Afro-Brazilian carnival celebrators, of faithful Christians and a legendary imp. Her melodies often have the symmetry of folk tunes, but Ms. Salmaso relocates them to sparse modern settings, the better to rediscover their nuances.”  

On a highlight of her latest album, these nuances and sparse settings are applied to “Meninas, Amanhã de Manhã,” a song by Tom Zé, the quirky and political songwriter who earned fame in America thanks to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. A comparison of the two versions instantly demonstrates how Salmaso’s “fluent and beautifully colored instrument” (Billboard) can transform a recognizable song into something new.  

On “Moro Na Roca,” Salmaso pays homage to Clementina de Jesus—the granddaughter of African slaves, a woman who began singing professionally late in life after serving as a housekeeper for over twenty years. Singing while washing clothes, this “rough diamond” of a singer preserved the lundus and jongos of the Angolan Bantu.  

African-rooted beliefs of Brazil show through on two other songs on the album. “Estrela de Oxum” tells of a girl who while singing near a river awakens Oxum, the Goddess of the river, according to the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. In contrast to the folkloric sound Salmaso brings to her rendition, the poem was originally faxed to her by author and album-producer Rodolfo Stroeter as soon as he wrote it. Candomblé’s Goddess of the sea, Iemanjá  is invoked in Dorival Caymmi’s “É Doce Morrer No Mar” (“It’s Sweet to Die in the Sea”), about the families who wait for their fishermen fathers and sons who never return from the powerful and mysterious ocean.  

Salmaso’s sweet sound traverses decades starting as early as the 1930s’ “Vinganca,” or “Revenge,’ a song about a musician whose wife leaves him for another singer and thus swears revenge on her. But upon finally discovering her at a party, he falls in love with her all over again and forgets his vengeance. “Cidade Lagoa”—which was made famous in the 1960s by Moreira da Silva—is a joke about the floods of Rio de Janeiro with the storyteller claiming he would boat to ferry beautiful women across the streets.  

Salmaso rose to fame in 1999 when she won the Visa-mastercard-Eldorado Prize for best singer in Brazil among 1200 contestants nationwide. After releasing Voadeira—an album that features many of the same musicians as Iaiá—Salmaso was also named “best singer” by the Associacão Paulista dos Críticos de Arte, the association of the Brazilian press.  

Whether putting her print on Tom Jobim songs—as she does on “Por Toda a Minha Vida” and “Sinhazinha,”—or on recent compositions like “Cabrochinha,” Mônica Salmaso’s tender interpretations leave us with a refreshed sense of Brazil’s musical history and yearning for more.  

“Just barely into her 30s, the São Paulo singer is already high on the list of her country’s vocal artists. Her velvet-toned sound, focused intonation and understated but tenaciously lively rhythms are the hallmarks of a gifted, natural performer. Salmaso could easily have used those gifts in a typically high-voltage Brazilian setting. But she chooses, instead, to work with only a trio for accompaniment… framing her songs in spare, musically insightful settings.”
—Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times (9/29/2003)
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1. MORO NA ROÇA D.P. adap. por Xangô da Mangueira e Zagaia
2. CABROCHINHA Maurício Carrilho / Paulo César Pinheiro
3.  ESTRELA DE OXUM Rodolfo Stroeter / Joyce
5. VINGANÇA Francisco Mattoso / José Maria de Abreu
6. POR TODA A MINHA VIDA Tom Jobim / Vinícius de Moraes
7. ASSUM BRANCO José Miguel Wisnik
8. CIDADE LAGOA Sebastião Fonseca / Cícero Nunes
9. DOCE NA FEIRA Jair do Cavaquinho / Altair
11. ONDE IR Vanessa da Mata
12. É DOCE MORRER NO MAR Dorival Caymmi
13. NA ALDEIA Silvio Caldas / De Chocolat / Carusinho

Comentários sobre as músicas:

English coments:

(Adapted from the public domain by Xangô da Mangueira and Zagaia)
7 string acoustic guitar: Mauricio Carrilho
Percussion: Robertinho Silva

This is a homage to a very important Brazilian singer: Clementina de Jesus.
She was discovered as a singer when she was 63. Because of her African grandparents (who went to Brazil as slaves) and her very Catholic mother, she knew by heart many songs from the African religious culture mixed with the Catholicism from the Portuguese.

Maurício Carrilho, Robertinho Silva and I recorded the first take alive in the studio, then Robertinho recorded his “percussion orquestra”.
The song style is Partido Alto. There is a refrain sung by many voices and some singers improvising the second session going back to the refrain.

(Maurício Carrilho / Paulo César Pinheiro)
7 string acoustic guitar and arrangement: Mauricio Carrilho
Cavaquinho: Luciana Rabello
Bandolim: Pedro Amorim
Cello: Iura Ranevsky
Pandeiro: Jorginho do Pandeiro
Tamborim: Celsinho Silva
Tamborim: Gordinho
Clarinet: Nailor "Proveta" Azevedo
Flute: Marcelo Bernardes

This song is a recent composition which has some elements of the old carioca samba ( the old jokes in the lyrics and the melodies) that remind us of the golden years of the good “malandro” carioca (an easy-going fast-talker from Rio de Janeiro) with his distinct character and bohemian lifestyle.

The lyrics talk about a classic malandro who won some money in the lottery and invited his girlfriend to a special dinner in a French restaurant. Once there, he realizes that he cannot understand the menu but, quickly, he starts trying to comunicate with the waiter using the French words that became part of the everyday Brazilian language and culture.

It was also a special opportunity and pleasure to record with the musicians of Acari Records – some of the best musicians of choro and samba from Rio de Janeiro.

(Rodolfo Stroeter / Joyce)
Acoustic guitar: Paulo Bellinati
Bass flute “the Fat” : Teco Cardoso
Acoustic bass: Rodolfo Stroeter
Percussion: Robertinho Silva

Rodolfo Stroeter sent me the poem by fax and sang it to me on the phone as soon as he had finished the song. I think my voice blends well with simplicity, maternalness and femininity found in the folkloric and traditional songs that I love so much.

We recorded the song without percussion in São Paulo. Later in Rio de Janeiro, Robertinho Silva brought to the song the atmosphere that he knows so well -“time” and “landscape.”

Oxum is the Goddess of the river in the Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomblé.
The song talks about a girl who starts singing near the river and Oxum, listening to her voice, wakes up and sings with her.

(Tom Zé / Perna)
Piano and arrangement: Benjamim Taubkin
Accordion and arrangement: Toninho Ferragutti
Flutes and Baritone Sax: Teco Cardoso
Acoustic guitar and cavaquinho: Webster Santos
Acoustic bass: Rodolfo Stroeter
Percussion: Ari Colares

One day, Rodolfo told me: “I remembered a song for you. Listen to the Tom Zé´s album Estudando o samba - 1975. The song is called Menina amanhã de manhã”.
I just fell in love with this song but I had many doubts about singing because Tom Zé has a very specific way of singing and I couldn’t imagine how I could do it my way. I tried to figure out something by playing my guitar with my very limited abilities but that shed no light on the dilemma.

When we were in the pre-production of Iaiá, I talked to Toninho Ferragutti about this song which I loved but I couldn’t find an appropriate arrangement nor musical structure. He listened to the music, also loved it and insisted that this would be really great!

So, Ferragutti, Benjamim Taubkin and I kept looking for a structural form to the song. They created the bridges, the melodic phrases that remind us of the rythyms from the north and northeast of Brasil, (its street music and military parade bands). At the studio, with the concept completed, the other musicians were invited to the “party” and all of us were totally in love with the song at the end of the session.

The lyrics say: “Dear girl, tomorrow morning when we wake up I will tell you that happiness will fall down over the humanity!” Not bad!

(Francisco Mattoso / José Maria de Abreu)
Accordion and arrangement: Toninho Ferragutti
Clarinet, alto sax (many thanks!!! to Tutty Moreno)
and woodwind arrangement: Nailor "Proveta" Azevedo

Toninho Ferragutti showed me a cassete with recordings of the 30s’ singer Gastão Formenti. We played Vingança as a Duo in two projects and concerts.

We recorded live voice and accordion and after, Nailor “Proveta” Azevedo, with his talent and his knowlege, created this conversation with sax and clarinet.

As he was recording - and I was listening to the voices together - I started to see images of a small city, the bandstand, the dance as a movie going by me.

Vingança means Revenge.
Talks about one viola player and singer who falls in love with a woman (the cabocla) and gets married. After that, she leaves home and runs away with a better singer and our narrator swears that he will find her for revenge.
After many years, he finally finds her in a party. When he saw her, she looked so beautiful, so beautiful, that he forgot his revenge.
It´s a lovely love story and the style is called toada.

(Tom Jobim / Vinícius de Moraes)
Acoustic guitar and arrangement: Paulo Bellinati

Bellinati has a solo video recording playing his arrangments for Jobin’s songs. When I invited him to record a musical TV show, we got the idea of playing this song together. It’s a very powerful song, incredibly beautiful.

We’ve worked together since the Afro Sambas and our duo is very important to my career.

I thought this could be a very good thing for the album.

(José Miguel Wisnik)
Acoustic guitar, percussions at the guitar
and arrangement: Paulo Bellinati
Acoustic bass: Rodolfo Stroeter
Cello: Lui Coimbra

When I heard this song for the first time, I was really touched by its delicacy and its complex and careful melodic construction. It´s like singing each note as if it were a precious stone, part of a necklace.

This song is a kind of “answer” to a famous composition by Luiz Gonzaga called Assum Preto (Black Bird) – the bird whose eyes are poked out to keep them in the birdcage singing beautifully.

I asked Bellinati to create with his percussion on the guitar an atmosphere of the Brazilian northeastern region - something that reminds us of the sound of people working rhythmically on their farm activities.

(Sebastião Fonseca / Cícero Nunes)
Quintet Sujeito a Guincho
Clarinets: Luca Raele, Edmilson Nery, Sergio Burgani
Bass clarinets: Luiz Afonso “Montanha” e Nivaldo Orsi
Arrangement: Luca Raele

This samba became famous when it was recorded by Moreira da Silva in the 60s’. It’s a joke about the floods in Rio de Janeiro. The protagonist said that he would buy a boat to cross the streets and give rides to the beautiful girls.

I’m so glad for having recorded this song with the quintet Sujeito a Guincho! We did a concert together - voice and clarinets - which was really amazing to me. For this concert, we chose some songs thinking about this intrumental color formation; one of them was Cidade Lagoa.

Luca Raele wrote this incredibly “descriptive arrangement”, as he said, and we had a good time playing together.

(Jair do Cavaquinho / Altair)
Piano: André Mehmari
Percussion: Ari Colares
Flute: Teco Cardoso

Altair and Jair do Cavaquinho are two important names of one of the greatest samba school from Rio de Janeiro: Portela.

Jair is about 80 now, and had many of his sambas recorded by other musicians, but his own first albun was just released in 2002. I got to know about his compositions by listening to the singer and composer Teresa Cristina. It was a great discovery to me.

This song, a samba-maxixe, was the first song by Jair do Cavaquinho I learned.

(Chico Buarque)
Piano and arrangement André Mehmari

This song was written by the Chico Buarque and Tom Jobim for the soudtrack of the movie “Para Viver Um Grande Amor”. Since the beginning of my carrer, I’ve sung some of its songs.

It is a wonderful mixture of time created by Chico Buarque. An old black slave woman (past) wakes up the little daughter of her owner (Sinhazinha) and tells her that it’s time to wake up and read the newspaper, go to the homeopath, watch a video, live her life, break her heart and, finally, drink white wine to forget the pains (present).

André Mehmari and I did our version, thinking about the melody and the voice alone and the free, creative and sophisticated piano arrangement commenting and coloring the poem.

(Vanessa da Mata)
Piano and arrangement: Benjamim Taubkin
Accordion and arrangement: Toninho Ferragutti
Flutes: Teco Cardoso
Acoustic guitar: Webster Santos
Eletric bass: Rodolfo Stroeter
Percussion: Ari Colares

I was so happy to have chosen a song by Vanessa da Mata because for me she has a “composers’ soul”. This arrangement was structured by Benjamim Taubkin and Toninho Ferragutti and then, created by the whole group in the studio.

The song talks about Life and the arrangement and recording atmosphere brought to us and to the cd this melancolic “after-the-rain” feeling.

(Dorival Caymmi)
Piano and arrangement: Benjamim Taubkin
Baritone Sax: Teco Cardoso
Acoustic bass: Rodolfo Stroeter
Percussion: Caito Marcondes

Dorival Caymmi is now 90. He is one of the most important and legendary composers of the Brazilian Popular Music. Many of his compositions were dedicated to describe the life, people and costumes of the Northeastern coast of Brazil.

É Doce Morrer no Mar (“It’s sweet to die in the sea”) describes the fishermen’s families who wait for their men, who went to sea and didn’t come back. It talks about the power and the mystery of the sea, with its Goddess of the Candombé religion, Iemanjá.

(Silvio Caldas / De Chocolat / Carusinho)
7 string acoustic guitar and arrangement: Mauricio Carrilho
Cavaquinho: Luciana Rabello
Bandolim: Pedro Amorim
Cello: Iura Ranevsky
Pandeiro: Jorginho do Pandeiro
Reco-reco: Celsinho Silva
Surdo: Gordinho
Prato e faca: Paulino
Clarinet: Nailor "Proveta" Azevedo
Vocals: Analimar, Ana Costa e Jurema de Cândia
Special guest: Teresa Cristina – appears cortesy of Deckdisc

I learned this song from the singer Cristina Buarque. She dedicated her career to the history of samba and she was so generous showing me songs, old sambas, old singers and old composers that she found.

I invited Teresa Cristina to sing with me as she (and Cristina Buarque,) had opened my mind to the samba from Rio de Janeiro.

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Ficha técnica

Produzido por Rodolfo Stroeter
Direção musical - Rodolfo Stroeter e Mônica Salmaso

Gravado nos estúdios - YB (Cidade Lagoa): engenheiros de som - Gustavo Lenza, Carlos Cacá Lima; MOSH: engenheiros de som - Alberto Ranellucci, Paulo Penov; COMEP (Sinhazinha): engenheiro de som - Homero Lolito; SARAPUÍ: engenheiro de som - Gabriel Pinheiro, assistentes - Fernando Prado e Lucas Ariel.

Mixado no estúdio SARAPUÍ por Gabriel Pinheiro, Mônica Salmaso e Rodolfo Stroeter
Masterizado no estúdio VISOM DIGITAL por Luis Tornaghi e Mônica Salmaso

Produção executiva - Pedro Seiler
Assistente de produção - Mila Freitas
Fotos - Marcílio Godoi
Projeto gráfico - Ruth Freihof (www.passaredo-design.com.br)
Designer assistente - Anderson Araújo

Direção geral - Kati Almeida Braga
Direção artística - Olivia Hime


BRASIL  -  Gravadora Biscoito Fino
USA - Harmonia Mundi
JAPÃO - King International
FRANÇA - DG Diffusion