n° 256 - Ano 5 - n° 40
2 de outubro
Kirsten Weinoldt was born in Denmark and came to the U.S. in 1969. She fell in love with Brazil after seeing Black Orpheus many years ago and has lived immersed in Brazilian culture ever since.
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She Must Be Good
She Must Be Good
It was a magic night at Canecão in Rio. In the audience the likes of Caetano Veloso and Sônia Braga. On stage: Daúde. She started out with a segment of hard, driving rock, which set the audience on fire and soon she had the audience in the palm of her hand, following her every move and sound. There was a contagious aura about her, of mischief and playfulness as well as an obvious love for what she was doing.
The day was September 22, 1998. The place: Teatro Canecão in Rio de Janeiro where magical things happen, now as in days past when Tom Jobim and Noel Rosa contributed to making Rio a Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City is Rio's nickname). I had received an invitation from Natasha Records to attend this one-show engagement of Daúde. I must admit that I knew little about her, except for the times I had heard someone rave about her. Living in the U.S., one is handicapped by the lack of radio stations playing Brazilian music. It is necessary to read reviews and then go in search of the CDs that sound interesting.
I arrived at Canecão in the Botafogo district of Rio, not far from the famous Copacabana and introduced myself. I was given tickets on the first row of tables right in front of the stage, which gave me ample opportunity to see and take pictures. Looking around I saw screen star, Sônia Braga, arriving and being greeted by dignitaries, friends, and fans. Canecão is by no means an elegant place, but it is laid out in such a way that the audience can enjoy the show from anywhere in the multi-level room. I decided to go in search of my contact from Natasha Records, Júlio, whom I hadn't met yet, and went toward the exit where I ran into Caetano Veloso, who told me he had just arrived from the airport and was stopping by before going home. I began to feel the excitement and anticipation. If Caetano chose to go to Canecão rather than home after a grueling tour schedule, then I figured Daúde must be good.
I went back to my table without having found Júlio, just in time to see Caetano posing for photographers with Sônia Braga. I even managed to get a shot in, myself. One of the differences between an American and a Brazilian audience is that if a show here in the U.S. is scheduled to start at a particular time, the booing starts if the show has not begun five minutes after that designated time.
In Brazil, people are much more relaxed about something like that. A little more time gives people the chance to chat and have a drink, look about, and anticipate a little longer—even if it is a Tuesday night, and it's already after 11.
Finally, the lights dimmed, and a voice introduced the evening's attraction. The stage became enveloped in smoke, which was given an eerie, dream-like quality by changing, colored lighting. The group accompanying Daúde appeared. It consists of drums, percussion, electric guitar, keyboard, and two female dancers. And then—there she was—dressed in what appeared to be an ultra-short, silver hooded raincoat, which glittered in the light. Black knee-high patent leather boots hugged her long, shapely legs and made her entrance—strutting onto the stage—quite a sight.
The crowd roared. She started out with a segment of hard, driving rock, which set the audience on fire from the first note. The two dancers were beautifully choreographed to complement the singer. The first song brought back memories from my childhood in Europe. It was Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata," which created such a stir many years ago. The energy with which she began her show set the tone for the rest of the evening. The crowd was energized, and once, when I looked back, I saw that the fans on the upper levels were on their feet dancing along with the intoxicating music.
Later, the raincoat came off, revealing a charcoal, metallic, strapless, short dress which might have been painted on. Daúde can carry off that kind of dress, however, her slim, feminine body being the perfect vehicle for that kind of outfit. It appeared that with the change in dress came a change in the music she sang. The volume turned down a notch or two, her songs became soft, more romantic ones. "Vamos Fugir" (Let us Flee) by Gilberto Gil and "Objeto Não Identificado (Object Not Identified) by Caetano Veloso, were just two of them. And Daúde had the audience in the palm of her hand, following her every move and sound. There was a contagious aura about her, of mischief and playfulness as well as an obvious love for what she was doing. And when her musicians played solo, she respectfully stood aside to let them enjoy the spotlight. Her voice is crisp and sexy, and her demeanor is mischievous and teasing at the same time that it is romantic and vulnerable.
And then, suddenly, it was over in what seemed like an instant—an instant, which, as it turned out, had lasted roughly an hour and a half. It was 1 o'clock when I checked. It was a little like awakening from a fantasy-filled dream.
Paula Lavigne, wife of Caetano and partner in Natasha Records, invited us backstage to meet Daúde. It was her birthday, now that it was the 23rd of September, and she was greeted by well-wishers and friends, and "Happy Birthday" was sung accompanied by many hugs and kisses. Now dressed in a simple, white shirt and pants, she looked just as beautiful and a little bit to my surprise, sweet and warm. The playfulness was now mixed with a shyness not present on stage. I was introduced, and we agreed that backstage at Canecão was neither the time nor the place for an interview.
The time and place came a few days later at the office of Natasha Records where they gave me copies of her CDs Daúde and Daúde #2. A word about Natasha's office is necessary. Located in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio, one must have a mountain-worthy car, climbing narrow, winding, cobble-stoned streets to the top of a steep hill to get there. Then, upon being admitted by a buzzer, there is a dozen or so steep steps down to the entrance with a breath-taking view of Rio's Pão de Açúcar, Sugarloaf Mountain, and much more.
Daúde was not able to meet us there, so the interview took place over the phone, something that made me just the slightest bit nervous, my Portuguese being a lot less than perfect. But my first instinct about the lady was correct. She was nice and warm and very patient with me.
Daúde was born on September 23rd, 36 years ago in Salvador, but she could tell you she was 26, and you would believe her.
Brazzil: Your father was a musician, wasn't he? What did he play, and what was his influence on your own music?
Daúde: He played clarinet and saxophone. And there was always music in my house, classical, big band music, and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira—Brazilian Popular Music).
Brazzil: For my readers, many of whom are Americans, how would you speak of your music?
Daúde: It is music for everybody, for all races in all countries.
Brazzil: Speak of your tour to Europe.
Daúde: Yes, in October we are starting a tour that goes to Norway, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Denmark. There will be Bossa Nova, folkloric music and much more in the tour.
Brazzil: What do you find to be the difference between Brazilian and European audiences?
Daúde: They are actually more alike than different. I am touched by the warmth and respect I feel coming from both.
Brazzil: You have just released your second CD. When will it be out in the U.S.?
Daúde: I'm afraid that we haven't found a distributor yet, so I can't tell you when it will be out.
Brazzil: But when it does come out, you will do a tour promoting it?
Daúde: Yes, I'm looking forward to that.
Brazzil: Tell me about the songs on the CD and in the show. Who chose them, and are there songs with special significance for you?
Daúde: First, I choose my own material. It's difficult to say if there are songs with special significance, but I can say this, that all my material is chosen by the same criterion. It must be emotional music.
Brazzil: The CD has special participation by Djavan, Carlinhos Brown, Herbert Vianna, and Nelson Sargento. How do they contribute to the quality of the work?
Daúde: Each one of them contributes to making a better CD because of their own love for singing as well as for emotional music. Each one puts his personality into the work.
Brazzil: What are your plans for the future?
Daúde: I want to work a lot. I love to sing, and I hope my career will grow.
Brazzil: Do you have a personal philosophy on the business of being a singer?
Daúde: I try not to be blinded or too impressed with being a performer. I learned growing up that respect is the most important thing—the respect I give others as well as the respect I receive in return.
Telephone interviews are always difficult in that they provide no visual impressions, one of the other, and therefore end up being shorter. So I did a little research to get a few more answers about Maria Waldelurdes Costa Santana, which is Daúde's real name.
She was born in the Candeal neighborhood of Salvador, Bahia, the neighborhood Carlinhos Brown calls his own, and where the musical tradition is strong. (Carlinhos Brown runs a school for music in Candeal).
Her father, who was in the military, was transferred to Rio when she was 10. Her little brother could not pronounce Waldelurdes, and Daúde was born. In addition to the music she heard at home, she studied lyrical song with Paulo Fortes and did musical theater with the directors Luiz Mendonça and Luiz Antônio Martinez Corrêa (Mahogany), and MPB shows with Maurício Tapajós.
Will Mowatt, the English producer, known for his work with the group Soul II Soul, says of Daúde's diverse taste in music," The key word to understanding Daúde's music is fusion." Together with Celso Fonseca he produced Daúde's second CD, Daúde #2. He wanted to explore the singer's many facets. "Daúde herself selected all the songs. Celso and I merely sought to give it a contemporaneous package. The result is pop and very Brazilian. It mixes MPB with techno, Carlinhos Brown with South Africa. Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata" has participation by Carlinhos Brown and the baianargentino, Argentine from Bahia, percussionist, Ramiro Mussotto.
Other recreations on the CD are "Vamos Fugir" by Gilberto Gil and Liminha with participation by Djavan as well as the samba by Nelson Sargento "Idioma Esquisito," (Strange Language). The other cuts on the CD are new. These are "Chanson Triste" (Sad Song) by Herbert Vianna; "Quase" (Almost) by Caetano Veloso and Antônio Cícero; "Romena" by Luís Capucho and Suely Mesquita, and "Boca" (Mouth) by Paulinho Moska and George Israel.
After recording in Rio, Daúde and Will went to London to put the finishing touches on the CD. "I think," says Will, "that this is a CD well suited for playing on the radio as well as for dancing, with songs that people can sing and whistle. And Daúde's personality comes shining through on all the cuts."
The first CD is still selling around the world, and some of the cuts have been included in collections—one in Israel and one on David Byrne's "Beleza Tropical 2," and by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. It seems as if the world of popular music is opening its doors to the Bahian singer.
"Daúde expresses a new reality for Brazil, one of youth that is proud of the country's culture but not afraid of mixing it with the rhythm and technology from the outside," says Will Mowatt. "It's something I perceived in the work people like Carlinhos Brown, Chico Science, Fernanda Abreu, and Herbert Vianna. Herbert, by the way, is like David Bowie and Peter Gabriel in that he is apt to reinvent himself. He heard the CD and was impressed with what we had done.
Sitting at Canecão, I tried for a moment to separate myself from the invitation and front row table and the job ahead of writing about this singer. I pictured her on a North American stage and asked myself, "Would an American audience get as excited as this audience was?" And the only answer that came to me was "Yes, yes!"