Good Music We Can Know

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."
-Caetano Veloso

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.

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.



Feq'wah said...

Cayimmi is no unknown artist for anyone with a slight interest in Brazilian music of the era, i'd think...but perhaps wrongly.

That second compilation is pretty interesting too. None of the artist i have heard of before.

By the way, or by the river, you're writing skill is really good. It's not the first time i've noticed that. Have you ever considered writing as a profession? Or perhaps you already are?

Anyriver, it's really good :)

Feq'wah said...

Need to check that Three Caballeros movie, though.

Hot Dog Sam Man said...

Just wanted to take a break from sucking on a ding dong to say thanks for all you do. I absolutely LOVE the Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors sndtrck, that's huge. And digging your dub comps. And compelled to trust you on this one, though I usually avoid the soft stuff.

Flash Strap said...

Hot Dog: Thanks for saying so. Especially glad you like the Paradjanov stuff, that's a real personal passion of mine. Definitely dip your toe into some soft stuff, though-- it's not as soft as first it seems to be. Or rather, judged against the broader context from which some of these ol'softies emerge, their intentions are often revealed to be rather startlingly wild and/or tuff. I'd love to hear what you think, about this or any other un-hard piece of music, sometime.

Of course, it's hard to knock the
Velvet ding-dong out of any man's mouth once he's got a taste for that particularly brilliant brand of monstrosity. That's a jim-jim that sticks in the craw, forever.

Feq'wah: Oh, you really should watch it! It's one of my very very favorite films, and I have seen a vast multitude of great films. Truly a significant work of art. Holler at me if you ever see it, I'd love to get you take on it.

Thanks for the kind words, by the way. While I've considered plying as a trade my modest gift for scribblin', I seem to have chosen instead even less lucrative pursuits: Artist and Teacher.

However, if you-- or anyone out there, hello!-- might desire to hire a man who can write about a thing, by all means consider me interested.

Feq'wah said...

Not sure what's going on with the ding dong over there...

Anyway, i've seen The Three Caballeros this weekend.Okay, i should tell you i'm not a big fan of Disney animations, never been, except for that pink elephants on parade scene. This movie didn't changed it i'm afraid, though it has some really brilliant moment's, it certainly has. So yes, i'd agree, probably the best Disney. But the music is what i've enjoyed the most. Exquisite. Some Mexican music of which i had no idea it existed. Definitely need to delve into it a bit more...

My favourite: that Mexican flower girl (if i can name it that way).Best moment in the movie, but so damn short.

And yes, i'll keep that spontaneous solicitation of yours in mind, mr teacher. Though i'm not sure writing is more lucrative. Unless you happen to write a best seller of some sorts?
Being an artist: awesome! It's my dream to make a living out of it. Probably yours too?

Matt Nery said...

hi, i'm brazilian and i love this record, and also this blog. I would just like to suggest an album called "coisas" by Moacir Santos, i think you'll like it, it's one of the most fantastic music i've ever heard. The whole album is on youtube, and for starters i recommend "coisa No 9"

quietimpact said...

any possibility of a re-up? i recently found your blog and i diigg it! so good for getting to know the roots and history of music nowadays

Flash Strap said...

Quietimpact: reupped! and thanks for the heads up

quietimpact said...

appreciate it
keep luring people through that dusty door that hides all these treasures :)

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Martinz said...

Por favor reup!