Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Lost to the Waves: Dorival Caymmi- Caymmi e o Mar (1957)
"I have written 400 songs, and Caymmi 70. But Caymmi has 70 perfect songs, and I do not."
I am no great scholar of Brazilian music-- it doesn't help that I don't speak Portuguese-- but I do have a deep and abiding love for popular Brazilian music of the 30's-50's. As has been noted before, my own enthusiasm stems from the same source as that of many Americans-- especially those who fell under the spell during the Carmen Miranda-dominated heyday of Brazilian music in the US-- and that is Disney's exquisite 1944 masterpiece Three Caballeros, which you should watch immediately, if you haven't already. The inclusion in that film of Ary Barroso's "Na Baixa do Sapateiro" (also known simply as "Baia" "Bahia" or "Baixa")-- as well as an electrifying number from Carmen's sister, Aurora Miranda, augmented by some of the greatest animation, ever-- cemented in my heart, and the hearts of many people all over the world, a love for the lush romanticism and exotic pathos of this type of music. Dorival Caymmi, the subject of today's post, is a legend in this field.
Caymmi is an extremely major figure in Bahian popular music from this period, but his name has since fallen into a baffling shadow of some undeserved obscurity. So when I first heard his music, I had no idea who he was, or the degree of his importance. Just another Brazilian singer of many, as far as I knew-- but immediately I loved what I heard, and in that special way. I believe the song was the fantastic "O Mar," his angelic baritone and matchless melody sweeping me into an exotic dream like the ghost perfume of mist upon the sea, or the memory of a love lost to the waves.
So here is the LP, Caymmi e o Mar. It's gorgeous. I can't recall if I originally snagged this one from Loronix or Toque Musical (the latter being the wonderful Brazilian blog which seems to have recently gone private), so think kindly of both of them as you listen. This is a gorgeous record, my friends. The songs may well be perfect. Please listen deeply.
E O MAR (320)
And here's a really awesome compilation of various artists singing Caymmi's songs, that I definitely got from Toque Musical, way, way back. I don't really know anything about this one, except that the music is solid, and sounds like it dates pretty far back. There's a wonderful rendition of "O Mar"by Edy Pollo that I liked so much I had to put it on Grzimek Safari. Highly recommended.
DORIVAL CAYMMI (320)