Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gonzaguinha - Luiz Gonzaga Jr.. (1974)

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Gonazaguinha
"Luiz Gonzaga Jr."
Released 1974


01 É preciso
02 Piada infeliz
03 Meu coração é um pandeiro
04 Uma família qualquer
05 Pois é, seu Zé
06 Rabisco n'areia
07 Assum preto
08 Amanhã ou depois
09 Galope
10 Desesperadamente


Sidney Matos - acoustic and electric guitars, organ, electric piano, bass
Arnaldo Luis - bass, acoustic guitar
João Cortez - drums, percussion
Gonzaga Jr. - acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical direction / arrangements - Maestro Gaya
Production assistant: Renato Corrêa
Technical director - Z.J. Merky
Recording technician - Toninho / Nivaldo
Remix engineer - Nivaldo Duarte

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For the last few days I have been thinking of Egypt, how distant it all seems, and how the people around me seem largely unconscious, somnambulantly disinterested of the historical importance of what is going on there, and how it effects all of us. I'm sure I could have chosen to upload any number of more 'appropriate' albums but I have been listening to this one a lot lately and it was sitting here waiting for an upload.


Luiz Gonzaga Jr., o "Gonzaguinha", did not make music for throwing a good party. He could have made a career just off the simple fact that he was the son of the King of Baião, Luiz Gonzaga, and been a mediocre forró singer and still sold tons of albums just by that association. Instead, he chose a different path, that of a deeply-poetic composer more in the mold of the singer-songwriter archetype that became more common in the 1970s seemingly everywhere in the world, but in Brazil often had a directly proportional relationship to the political repression happening in the country. By the early 70s, the 'movimento estudantil' was in tatters, the UNE (the universities' student unions) officially dissolved by the military dicatorship, their meetings resulting in persecution, harassment, disappearances. As the 60s came to a close, the rather heavy-handed and preachy protest music of "música engajada" from the likes of Geraldo Vandre became more a thing of the past, as the optimism that protest music could change the situation and mobilize people faded, and Tropicália's confrontational iconoclasm challenged its musical and ontological premises. The increased censorship after 'Institutional Act 5" of 1968 shut down the Brazilian Congress and gave absolute power to the military resulted in a change of tactics for the socially-conscious activist-oriented songwriter. The usual example is Chico Buarque, who is famous for having his material censored during this period and would perfect the use of the quotidian metaphor as a vehicle for expressions of social unrest, creating more elusive, complex works that were consequently more difficult to challenge by the censorship boards.

But, obviously, there were other wordsmiths besides Chico that were adepts at this. Gonzaguinha is part of a post-68 generation of singer-songwriters that would also include Belchior and Fagner. These latter two were both from the northeastern state of Ceará; Gonzaguinha was born in Rio, but his father was basically a walking-talking-singing symbol of northeastern-ness, and born in Pernambuco. I always think of all three of them together for some reason, but Gonzaguinha's musical output precedes the other two slightly. They all their own styles of writing and performance, but shared a certain atmospheric vibe and themes in their early music.

This album is pretty much all down-beat, heavy, somber material. The album opens with the mind-blowing song "É preciso" which has become probably my favorite composition of his. Lyrically framing a scenario of (under-valued) domestic labor of a mother and the child by her side who accompanies her at home, in the streets, in the open street markets, the words seem to recount the memories of the singer/narrator of his own growing up and a remembered or imagined dialog with his mother as he reflects on his life. The couplet that is repeated and slightly rephrased throughout the song, "Labutar é preciso; lutar é preciso" (hard work/labor is necessary; to struggle is necessary) is sung first as wisdom imparted from mother to son while she works at washing laundry. Later it is sung back from son to mother as the son struggles to get by on his own as a young man. The parallels with the political oppression, the crushing of the labor and student movements, the clandestine groups working to overthrow or at least undermine the military dictatorship ... All of this runs like a subterranean undercurrent beneath the words sung in the plaintive voice of Luiz that grows more urgent and pleading as the song moves along.

The fastest tempo on the album is the song 'Galope' which is still manages to be dissonant and dark. All of the songs are originals except "Assum Preto" which is from Gonzagão (his dad) and Humberto Teixeira, and which Gonzaguinha makes almost unrecognizable from its original version, slowing it down and somewhat pulling it apart. The instrumentation and performances are all wonderful, impeccable musicianship that shines precisely because the musicians know when to hold back and let the song carry *them*, embellishing the music with occasional twists of avant garde post-psychedelic dissonance. The album is consistently great - "Piada infeliz", "Meu coração é um pandeiro", "Uma família qualquer", "Desesperadamente" - there is cinematic majesty and power in these songs, the key to which is their understatement and lack of histrionics.

So give this record a listen. While pockets of resistance in the Arab world try and reclaim their rights after decades of oligarchical tyranny and dictatorships sponsored by powerful allies in the United States and the European community, remember that these struggles have taken place elsewhere and will continue to take place until every last human is free from repression and political violence. Until that unlikely utopia comes about, "LUTAR É PRECISO."


in 320 kbs em pé tré

in FLAC LAWLESS AUDIO

the secret magickal code word is in the commentaries

14 comments:

  1. Hi Flabbergast. Since I'm a big, big fan of Plano De Voo from 1975, then I'm going to give this one a try. Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for this, great to hear it all ... I have "Galope" on a comp CD ... somewhere ... can never find things these days :)

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  3. I am wordless!!! this record is fantastic....after so many years of buying and listening music it is not simple to find a pearl like this one... I must THANK YOU for this gift...it is honey for my ears

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  4. What a brilliant artist. All his '70s albums are superb -- my favourite is the musically adventurous Começaria tudo outra vez. The 1973 album also called just Luiz Gonzaga Jr. also has some pretty powerful pieces of social commentary, like Comportamento Geral and the devastating Página 13, about a seemingly banal incident of domestic violence. Time to dig out the collection and delve in again!

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  5. I want to thank you for your bright, sensitive and kind commentary towards the situation in Egypt. i am not that bright, nor do i know anything about the situation, yet i refuse to give up on the idea that we could all be equally free, respected and afforded the same opportunities.

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  6. Wow.. I completely relate to your comments concerning some people's reaction to the situation in Egypt. I have been keeping a close eye on the situation. I have been virtually glued to Al Jazeera English all day, as well as checking Twitter updates from people on the ground at the protests.

    I've been planning a post dedicated to Egypt myself, but I believe that I will simply share a few albums from Egyptian musicians. I suppose that would be a better way to direct people's attention to what is going on there.

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  7. right on Zer0_II, and Darryl... Yeah, I thought of looking around my collection for some Egyptian tunes but I am pretty sure I have next to nothing handy. I think I have music from just about all their neighbors, oddly enough...

    After 10 days of massive manifestations, the newspapers in Pernambuco finally featured Egypt on the front page.... I have been bitching about this on Facebook for a while, but I should mention -- I don't own a TV, and it appears that TV coverage has actually been a bit better than the papers.

    I'm listening / watching Al Jazeera live online right this second.. machine gun fire in 'Liberation Square' is not a good sign...

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  8. Wow I have been flabbergasted by some of your recent drops. I dig the Bama and Outlaws, which I knew about. The Hyldon and the cool Tim albums are new and really fresh to my ears. I am really sorry that you are having to deal with crackheads and pushers on your block, I have been there. Hope you get a new place soon or better yet the bullshit on your block is put to a peaceful halt. It seems that someone or something is messing with your links too because a tried to check this one out because it looks real tasty the way you word describe it. Also I tried to get the Hyldon - Na Rua, Na Chuva, Na Fazenda (1975) after hearing the last Hyldon album and the Flac is broken too. Anyways keep up the positivity and PEACE and S.O.U.L. to you.
    malkire

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  9. thanks malkire!
    actually the pushers were on the corner where I lived in Chicago for years and years, and I never had any problems with them personally. Stayed out of their way, they stayed out of mine... Which isn't to say the place wasn't a bit intense with a couple shootings on my block over the course of the seven years I was in that particular house. But dude, in the space of one MONTH in this town of 30,000 (that would basically fit inside my old 'hood in Chicago) there have been three shootings all related to each other. It may be crack, it may be just the entropy of the human race. And poverty.

    Positivity is the only option.

    The links die slow deaths, that's what happens with blog thang. I've known about the first Hyldon album for a while and was planning on fixing it tonight (you aren't the first to ask for it lately), but I didn't realize this post was also acting up. Thanks for the tip.

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  10. Please re-up bro.

    Peace.

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  11. its been re'up'd. For a limited time only hwever

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  12. Merci beaucoup
    Been wantin to hear this one thanks.
    malkire

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  13. Good, i'm happy now.. thank's

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