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Memories, Chronicles & Declarations Of Love - Marisa Monte

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Genre: World Music - African / Artist: Marisa Monte / Audio CD released 2000-08-21 at Metro Blue

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      21.03.2009 21:59
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      Contemporary MPB album by Marisa Monte,

      I first remember hearing this album on a warm steamy tropical afternoon in 2003 whilst swinging in a hammock beside a riverbank. I'd kind of forgotten I still had the CD and have only recently started playing it again after rediscovering it at he bottom of my CD collection.

      It is all to easy to place Marisa Monte's music into the category of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira - Brazilian Popular Music) - a type of urban popular music that emerged in the 1970s with artists such as Chico Buarque, Maria Bethânia and Gal Costa. MPB evolved from the Bossa Nova period that dominated the 1960s and the subsequent 'Tropicália' movement led by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Like European and North American pop music, MPB combines many influences derived from contemporary folk and rock, but often borrows heavily from traditional Brazilian Samba styles.

      Marisa Monte comes from a classical music background having studied to be an opera singer in early adolescence and later taking her entrance exam for the National Music School in Brazil. Later she was to become influenced by early 1980s Brazilian rock and the samba rhythms of Rio de Janeiro, in particular the sounds of the Portela samba school. This is one reason why there is possibly more diversity to Marisa's music than many of her contemporary MPB artists. During the course of her musical career Marisa has worked with artists as diverse as Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Julieta Venegas. She has also recorded songs by Marvin Gaye and Lou Reed. As such, Marisa Monte makes use of a diverse musical repertoire consisting of a number of influences ranging from traditional jazz and blues, popular samba, soul, funk and rock.

      On 'Memórias, Crônicas e Declaraçoes de Amor', Marisa Monte collaborates with other artists in composing six of the tracks and has written one track herself (Gentileza). This is essentially an album of love songs on which influences from western popular music are probably more prevalent than those of traditional Brazilian music. The opening track 'Amor I Love You' was a major hit from the album and is a pleasant love ballad with a very catchy melody, but the English title phrase repeated in the chorus has always irritated me and for that reason it has never been one of my favourites. I'm not sure if it was ever used in such a way, but it's the kind of song that you could imagine being played during a trashy Brazilian TV Soap Opera. Other songs that are typically MPB on this album are 'O Que Me Importa' - another laid back love ballad that is gentle on the ear. 'Gentileza' is a more bouncy pop song whilst 'Tema de Amor' has some 1970s funk influences. The diversification of musical styles becomes evident on tracks such as 'Abololo' with its slow jazz piano and on the Jorge Ben cover 'Cinco Minutos' with its more up-tempo funk rock influence.

      The tracks that stand out for me though are those that incorporate more traditional Brazilian styles. Samba influences are certainly evident on the delightful 'Para Ver as Meninas' - probably my favourite track on this album. I love the way violin strings have been used to back up more traditional samba percussion instruments such as the surdo virado. 'Gotas de Luar' is a softer samba ballad with a slower rhythm and some delightful soothing bossa nova guitar. One of the most beautiful arranged compositions on the album is 'Sou Seu Sabia' - a Caetano Veloso ballad that brings the album to a dreamy close.

      Although it won the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Pop Album, 'Memories, Chronicles and Declarations of Love' is probably not Marisa Monte's strongest album. It doesn't quite reach the heights of the 'Rose & Charcoal (Verde Anil Amarelo Cor De Rosa E Carvão)' album released in 1994 and I certainly wouldn't go as far as some reviewers in describing this album as the "Pet Sounds" of Brazilian pop. Nevertheless, Marisa's suave expressive vocal combined with sumptuous accomplished musical arrangements and neat production by guitarist Arto Lindsay makes this an album very much worth listening to in any location.

      Tracks
      1. Amor I Love You
      2. Nao Va Embora
      3. O Que Me Importa
      4. Nao e Facil
      5. Perdao Voce
      6. Tema de Amor
      7. Abololo
      8. Para Ver as Meninas
      9. Cinco Minutos
      10. Gentileza
      11. Agua Tambem e Mar
      12. Gotas de Luar
      13. Sou Seu Sabia

      The CD is presently available on Amazon for £9.98.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Amor I Love You
      2 Nao Va Embora
      3 O Que Me Importa
      4 Nao E Facil
      5 Perdao Voce
      6 Tema De Amor
      7 Abolo
      8 Para Ver As Meninas
      9 Cinco Minutos
      10 Gentileza
      11 Agua Tambem E Mar
      12 Gotas De Luar
      13 Sou Seu Sabia