Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brazilian World Music on NML

The Naxos Music Library comes through again. As I've mentioned many times to people here in Red Deer (where my Public Library licenses NML for our customers) there's a wealth of non-classical music available from this service. I love their Jazz Legends and Nostalgia discs; you can't go wrong with Charlie Parker or Fred Astaire.

NML has always been strong in the World Music arena as well, but I hadn't paid much attention until I started listening to Brazilian discs from Nimbus, a recent addition to NML's large stable of independent labels.

I knew the four-disc set NI1741 Dance Music from Brazil (Choros & Forro). Included are great songs by masters like Pixinguinha, Nazareth, and Jacob do Bandolim. This is the music of the Chorões that Villa first heard as a young boy around the turn of the 20th century, and then had a chance to participate in himself as a young man (his nickname was "Classical Guitar").

NI5523 Modinhas Brasileiras (Songs from 19th Century Brazil) provides a window into an earlier period which also had an important influence on Villa-Lobos's music. Soprano Andrea Daltro is supported by a small chamber ensemble in an interesting mix of salon pieces and folk-songs from the late 1800s, some of them in arrangements by later composers like Hekel Tavares, Santoro, and (in the anonymous folk-song Viola quebrada) Villa-Lobos. A stand-out is the traditional tune Se esse rua fosse minha - I love the way Daltro whistles at the end. There are many other lovely pieces in this disc, and all are beautifully sung.

The disc NI5462 Quintetto Brassil plays Brazil (Brass Music from Northeast Brazil) includes three of Villa's Cirandas (originally written for piano), arranged for brass quintet. These little folksong-inspired pieces sound great in their new brass clothes.

I look forward to exploring more of the Nimbus catalogue, and also to broaden my horizons in Brazilian folk, instrumental, and world music in the Naxos Music Library.

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