This is a very small sample of our great favorites. All CDs donated to our site automatically become part of the Sheila Thomson Collection of Brazilian Culture at Florida International University in Miami. That's the main reason why we keep these pages on the site, since we don't update them as often as we used to.
If the small or independent labels are gone, try looking for the CD or the individual songs online...you never know!
Ah...Marcos Sacramento! We've sung his praises here before and we were never, ever, shy about it. He is, in our not-at-all modest opinion, the best singer Brazil has produced in a long time. Marcos and three amazing guitarists, and...not only samba; as you've realized by now his versatility knows no bounds...available from Biscoito Fino in Rio.
This is a reissue on Biscoito Fino of one of the finest CDs ever released in Brazil (1994): "A Modernidade da Tradição." It pairs THE singer, Marcos Sacramento, with two of the top musicians in Rio, guitarist/arranger Maurício Carrilho and percussionist Marcos Suzano. It's pure, distilled Brazilian music and you must run and get a copy! For more well-deserved praise (of the singer and the original recording), visit Daniella Thompson's site.
OK, he cut his gorgeous hair short, but we'll forgive him because he outdid himself—we didn't think it was possible after "Memorável Samba," see below—with "Sacramentos." As is customary for Marcos, an unbeatable selection of songs, with fine arrangements, and the cream of Rio instrumentalists. You can find it online at Biscoito Fino. If you ever have a chance to see him live...what a charismatic, charming performer! If anyone embodies the undying spirit, wit, and charm of samba with a capital "S," it's this irresistible, gifted, and savvy interpreter. To read more about this sensational samba singer, visit Daniella Thompson's website.
PS - The hair is growing back...
Don't know Marcos Sacramento? It's about time you did...he may not look the part of the samba singer, but this good-looking guy in dreadlocks is one of the best interpreters of the genre...He has recorded some of the most memorable sambas from the 1930s and 1940s on this gorgeous CD appropriately named "Memorável Samba..." another gem from Biscoito Fino in Rio...
Here is the first CD by a fantastic young group of sambistas we recently heard in Rio: Casuarina (fortunately, there's a never-ending supply of youngsters willing to embrace samba and choro...). It's a Biscoito Fino release.
"Paulinho da Viola, Meu Tempo é Hoje" on Biscoito Fino. He wrote two of my favorite sambas: "Para ver as meninas" and the samba-enredo that never was... "Foi um rio que passou em minha vida." Caetano and Gil will have to forgive me, but Paulinho's sambas really strike a chord (no pun intended) deep within me. This is the soundtrack to "Meu tempo é hoje, " the documentary about his life and music; released by Biscoito Fino in Rio.
Latin Grammy 2003 Nominee!!
"Home of Samba" on Universal Music. Samba duets recorded in Rio by Universal Music pairing Zeca Pagodinho with Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben with Ivete Sangalo...not-to-be-missed.
"Samba Social Club" on Universal Music. La crème de la crème of the genre...Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, and the unforgettable João Nogueira, among others.
"Samba Soul Groove" on Universal Music. I love the cover photograph of guys playing soccer on the beach at night...a familiar, nostalgic scene. The music inside is samba soul, the spiced up blend of Brazil's national rhythm and pop created by master Jorge Ben Jor. Included are versions of Chiclete com Banana, De Noite na Cama, Maracatu Atômico by the likes of Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tim Maia...Get ready to party!
These are older gems that may still be available; labels may have disappeared, but the songs are probably available online.
"Cartola" on Marcus Pereira. This is the original 1976 recording of the great master sambista from Mangueira. Some of our favorite sambas (O mundo é um moinho, Cordas de Aço) and a song that Marisa Monte recorded in her CD Mais (Ensaboa mulata). I saw Cartola in Rio, not too long after this record was released by MP. I had the feeling that was the closest I would ever be to one of the legendary figures of samba, so I was really glad my Brazilian friends took me along to the show.
"Cartola: Bate Outra Vez" on Som Livre, imported. Cartola's great classics by several artists: As rosas não falam in a beautiful version by Gal Costa; Acontece by Caetano Veloso and Cordas de Aço (Steel Strings) by Luiz Melodia. This is my favorite recording of this song, in which he so lovingly describes his instrument, the violão.
"No tom da Mangueira" on Saci. I'm sure you can guess this is a CD of songs about the great samba school Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro. It says on the back cover that it honors the composers, musicians and singers who have sung its glories over the years. Well, the glories of Mangueira are numerous, and so are these fabulous sambas. One of them is an original recording by Clementina de Jesus, remastered to add the voice of Ney Matogrosso and the guitar of Rafael Rabello...need we say more? And my favorite is here too, Folhas Secas, by Nelson Cavaquinho, with Zezé Gonzaga singing with the legendary Baden Powell on guitar. This song will always remind me of my friend Dennis in Boston. One winter day, I tuned in to his radio show and he was playing it. Of course, I started to cry..
"O talento de Paulinho da Viola" on EMI. I don't know why they call this CD The Talent of Paulinho da Viola...except that the man is synonymous with the word. His amazing classics Foi um rio que passou em minha vida and Dança da solidão (remember Marisa Monte's recording of this? It's goosebumps time, guys!) The man with the sweetest voice in Brazil also sings Nervos de aço by Lupicínio Rodrigues and when he plays his cavaquinho in a choro by Pixinguinha...you wish you were in Brazil. I'll tell ya...Also, don't miss Bebadosamba. It's another incredible CD by Paulinho.
"Casa da Mãe Joana" on Blue Jackel Entertainment. Masters of samba from Rio de Janeiro (Nelson Sargento, Monarco, Wilson Moreira) get together to play and sing...and we here at Maria-Brazil just want to dance! Great gift to yourself or someone who loves samba!
You can read about samba and samba schools on Music Roots 3
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