Too Tasty Martinho

    Too Tasty Martinho

    A poll by Berlin-based Transparency International with
    international businessmen from around the world has shown Brazil among
    the 15 most corrupt nations in the world. As often as they can get away
    with it, Brazilian politicians — many of them anyway — use the machine
    of the state to advance their own business and help friends and relatives.
    And despite several efforts to clean the air, bribes, embezzlement, and
    nepotism are still too common and accepted by society in general as the
    price of doing business.
    By Brazzil Magazine

    Never before has Martinho da Vila made a recording whose title was so
    strong an indicator of what awaited the listener. Coming at a time when
    many were beginning to think that Martinho’s time had passed, Tá
    Delícia, Tá Gostoso (It’s Delicious, It’s Tasty) climbed
    the charts with the same trajectory of his greatest hits. Competing side
    by side with the new artists of sambanejo (Raça Negra-like
    groups), Martinho had been all but forgotten by the public, as were other
    artists faithful to the rhythm and instrumentation of traditional samba:
    Paulinho da Viola, João Nogueira, Beth Carvalho, and Grupo Fundo
    de Quintal.

    Lacking the philosophy, poetry, and harmony of "real samba,"
    the visionless invasion of sambanejo had been a thorn in the side
    of samba for some time. Leader of the group Raça Negra, Luiz Carlos,
    stated recently that Martinho’s problem was that he talked too much about
    politics. Martinho has for many years demonstrated his empathy for African
    culture and its origins, often denouncing the situation of Blacks in Brazil.
    Carlos felt that it was time for Martinho to come back to the theme of
    a woman, the constant theme in the music of Raça Negra.

    Martinho’s long-awaited reaction to that lineage of samba was resoundingly
    celebrated by his fans and colleagues at his bar, "Butiquim do Martinho,"
    in Rio’s Vila Isabel neighborhood. Tá Delícia, Tá
    Gostoso is expected to sell over a million and a half copies and guarantee
    the sambista a Duplo de Platina (Double Platinum). Sales like these are
    unprecedented for traditional samba today, a genre that had been retired
    from the best selling lists. The recording is a milestone to be celebrated
    by all lovers of samba.

    This 12 track synthesis of Martinho’s work is sheer joy. Vivid cover
    art by Elifas Andreato once again delights the eye and sets the tempo for
    what lies inside the jewel case.All tunes flaunt the type of instrumentation
    preferred by those who oppose sambanejo. There is a profusion of percussion
    and string instruments, but just a hint of keyboards -the favorite refuge
    of those who play sambanejo. The arrangements, clear and with little elaboration,
    were crafted by the band members themselves.

    And Martinho’s choice of musicians was not accidental. We find him surrounded
    by familiar friends and family. Rildo Hora, one of Brazil’s top samba producers
    is on board again as are other Martinho regulars like Claudio Jorge, violão;
    Alceu Maia, cavaquinho; Gordinho, Ovídio, and Paulinho da Aba, percussion.
    The backing vocalists are noteworthy not only for their collective cohesion
    and their individual contributions, but also because three of the singers
    are Martinho’s gifted children from his first marriage to Anália:
    Martinho Antônio, 33; Analimar, 30; and Mart’nália, 26. Mart’nália
    and Tunico Ferreira also perform with the bateria. There is no nepotism
    here; all are formidable musicians.

    The plum, however, is the presence of João de Aquino. Aquino’s
    violão playing reflects the intelligent absorption of a variety
    of influences. He has been one of the lesser known but more influential
    players, composers, and arrangers on the fringe of the big time for some
    years and is a familiar and welcome figure at the most demanding recording
    sessions. It is no small feat to synthesize Martinho in 12 tracks, and
    long-time fans may argue that some of the forms, rhythms, and sounds Martinho
    has been identified with for years: samba-enredo, vibrant African influences,
    and his familiar signature, the samba de partido alto (a type of
    samba with short, light refrains that the singer follows with improvised
    verses) are missing. Yet the relaxed warmth of Martinho’s voice, the very
    tight arrangements, and the high caliber of musicianship that gives the
    entire project its unruffled, solid groove, establish Tá Delícia,
    Tá Gostoso as a pinnacle for traditional samba and Martinho
    as a permanent resident of the best seller’s charts.

    For this project, there was considerable pressure exerted upon Martinho
    by his record label to come up with a hit. Martinho, viewing his career
    as a type of religion, resisted at first. Like any religious devotee he
    needed to have more than just the catechism. Martinho has always believed
    that artists who started the recording process with the illusion of making
    big money were lost. Enjoying the recording process had always been his
    key to success, not the other way around. He was hesitant also because
    efficient marketing and promotion has always been essential, even for established
    artists with high quality recordings and music that appeals to the public
    at large. And Sony had backed off in the past after initially promising
    to promote several of Martinho’s releases that could have done very well.

    Taking his time developing the concept, Martinho selected a repertoire
    of themes and lyrics that would not only reconquer his public, but also
    the fans of sambanejo. Of the 12 compositions, each has its own
    individual attraction, so much so that it is more difficult than usual
    to predict which will turn out to be the one with the greatest popular
    appeal. Although Martinho’s own compositions have dominated his 29 album
    discography, one important distinction marks this recording as a turning
    point in his career of almost 30 years: Tá Delícia, Tá
    Gostoso is his first work primarily as an interpreter.

    Of the 12 tunes, 3 have already become hits, and 5 others are potent
    contenders. One of these challengers is "O Gurufim Do Cabana."
    The tile, reflecting a play on the slang word bacana, translates
    in favela-speak to "Wake of the Playboy." A samba medley
    with an unstoppable groove and burning cavaquinho, it is an ode
    to the ginga malandra and to the characteristic flair of
    the people living in Rio’s favelas (shanty towns).

    The next in line for hit status is the only track that was co-written
    by Martinho, "Por Favor Me Ajude" (Please Help Me). This tune
    will remind his fans of past hits like "Pequeno Burguês"
    (A Little Bourgeois), the romantic mockery from the 60’s in which Martinho
    made fun of the vestibular (university placement exam) and exhibited
    his wit and talent for wry interpretations.

    The poignantly beautiful poetry of Toninho Geraes, coupled with Rildo
    Hora’s passionate piano and string arrangement on "Mulheres"
    (Women), assured a success from the beginning. The tunes syncopated cavaquinho,
    violão, and bateria accentuate its formal symmetry
    while the interplay between tension-building patterns and sudden releases
    reinforce the structure and transports the listener.

    After the success of "Mulheres" the disc’s title track, "Tá
    Delícia, Tá Gostoso" climbed the charts. Its suggestive
    lyrics, seductive refrain, impressive backing vocals, and enticing string
    arrangement by Jorjão Carvalho made it an immediate hit.

    Although "Devagar, Devagarinho" (Slowly, Very Slowly) cries
    for a whisper of cuíca, its impromptu feel and textual richness
    overshadow this omission. With my foot tapping on automatic pilot to the
    same staccato cavaquinho and riveting surdo as "Mulheres,"
    it became immediately obvious why the whole project triggered into an explosive
    success when this track started getting air-play.

    These first three hits from Tá Delícia, Tá Gostoso
    are almost confessional summaries that catalog the changes in Martinho’s
    personal life. Fans tend to see artists as magical figures with envious
    lives. In reality, it is not like this. Like most sambistas, Martinho,
    comes from humble origins and has been vulnerable to exploitation. He was
    raised in the favela and lived among its crooks and drug dealers.
    For each one of his discs that was sold, Martinho saw his small percentage
    only months after the release. When his first record became a hit, he was
    the most famous penniless person in Brazil.

    Today, with wide recognition, promoters still believe he deserves prestige
    and respect, but not the large sums of money pop artists receive. Thus,
    he understood what was happening when Paulinho da Viola, the godfather
    of his daughter, was slighted at the 1995 New Year’s Eve tribute to Tom
    Jobim; an artist’s fee is based on his current status on the sales charts.
    Sales of traditional samba were down, and Paulinho hadn’t recorded in years.

    Another misconception for many is that composers whose enredos
    are chosen for Carnaval become rich. There are, in fact, many composers
    who have had 5 to 10 winning samba-enredos whose lives were
    no better afterwards. The hard life of the sambista amplified Martinho’s
    drinking. He was involved in a number of automobile accidents. The largest
    accident fractured his skull, his legs, and two fingers on his right hand.
    Afterwards, he was interned in an alcohol detoxication clinic. His marriage
    to a beautiful woman named Clediomar (33 years his junior) and the birth
    of their son, Preto, may have been the catalyst that convinced Martinho
    it was time to get serious, curb his drinking, and start focusing on what
    was important.

    With his head in order, he worked extremely hard last year to insure
    the new disc’s success. Traveling all over Brazil to dozens of TV and radio
    stations, giving interviews and a marathon of shows, Martinho promoted
    the project. He performed entire shows without repeating a single type
    of samba, launching into samba-choro, samba-canção,
    samba de partido alto, samba de
    terreiro, samba-enredo, sambalanço,
    samba de breque… He carried on with the energy of
    a musician just beginning his career. The success of Tá Delícia,
    Tá Gostoso is for Martinho no secret. Coming back to the front
    line of media attention was the most trying period of his entire career.

    Today he thanks God that his life has entered a new era, and he is looking
    forward to spending time with his family, a family that literally plays
    together. Additional plans include recording with João Bosco and
    the realization of a dream that has been on the back burner for years,
    the opening of a venue that will be dedicated to the performance of first
    rate music and plays alternatively, the Teatro Martinho da Vila, in his
    beloved Vila Isabel. Martinho joined this lower income neighborhood’s escola
    de samba over 30 years ago and even modified his name to
    express his allegiance.

    After pulling off his success as an interpreter, Martinho recently saw
    another shining facet of success when Simone recorded an entire disc of
    his compositions on her Polygram/Mercury release Café com Leite.
    For those who missed the beautiful duet "Ex Amor" with Simone
    and Martinho that appeared on Polygram’s samba compilation Casa de Samba
    last year, here is an even better opportunity to grab a copy of this
    title as well as 11 other classic Martinho compositions. Simone’s tribute
    to Martinho, also produced by Rildo Hora, has already sold over 500 thousand
    copies and was chosen by readers of the music magazine Musicalidade
    as the best new release of 1997.

    Probably the only setback for Martinho last year was the defeat of his
    samba-enredo for his escola de samba,
    Vila Isabel. The episode generated a controversy involving the directors
    of the escola (those who approve the enredos and choose the
    best sambas submitted) and the drug traffickers. Anytime a composer loses,
    he experiences the typical sour grapes symptoms. He refuses to go to Carnaval
    and complains that the chosen samba is trash. As Carnaval nears, however,
    the same composer swallows his pride and concedes that his escola’s
    samba is the best.

    Over time, Martinho has won more than he has lost with Vila Isabel.
    In fact, almost every time Martinho entered an enredo, he has won.
    Some of his sambas lost, but they are eternal: "Iemanjá Desperta"
    (Goddess of the Waters Wakes Up), "Tribo dos Carajás"
    (Tribe of the Carajá Indians), and "Minha Vida Tá Legal"
    (My Life is Okay). Next year the composer of such classic Carnaval pieces
    as "Carnaval de Ilusões" (Carnaval of Illusions), "Sonho
    de Um Sonho" (Dream of a Dream), and "Raízes" (Roots),
    and who started the trend toward more concise and colloquial lyrics in
    samba-enredos, promises to be on the floats of the escola
    dear to his heart.

    At 58 years old, with 29 discs to his credit, and a prestigious record
    of service to the Black movement and to Brazilian music, Martinho José
    Ferreira doesn’t appear to regret the decision he made after his release
    from the army in 1971 to dedicate himself to an artistic career. His hits
    came one after the other. In 1991 he was recognized with the Prêmio
    Shell award. And while the names of some of his colleagues dropped from
    the charts, the name Martinho da Vila never left the front line of samba
    artists, demonstrating it has enough strength to bear any low tide in the
    market. Today people are talking about Martinho’s rediscovery. It’s a good
    day for samba to push the Raça Negras to a different market niche.

    Mulheres

    Toninho Geraes

    Já tive mulheres de todas as cores

    De várias idades, de muitos amores

    Com umas até certo tempo fiquei

    Pra outras apenas um pouco me dei

    Já tive mulheres do tipo atrevida

    Do tipo acanhada, do tipo vivida

    Casada, carente, solteira, feliz

    Já tive donzela e até meretriz

    Mulheres cabeça e desequilibradas

    Mulheres confusas, de guerra e de paz

    Mas nenhuma delas me faz tão feliz

    Como você me faz

    Procurei em todas as mulheres a felicidade

    Mas eu não encontrei e fiquei na saudade

    Foi começando bem, mas tudo teve um fim

    Você é o sol da minha vida, a minha vontade

    Você não é mentira, você é verdade

    É tudo que um dia eu sonhei pra mim

    Women

    I’ve already had women of all colors

    Of various ages, of many loves

    With some I stayed for a while

    For others I gave just a little

    I’ve had very arrogant women

    And others very shy of experience

    Married, poor, single, happy

    I’ve had a virgin and even a prostitute

    Women with good sense and flaky women

    Confused women, women of war and peace

    But none of them made me as happy

    As you do

    I looked for happiness with all the women

    But I couldn’t find it and kept longing for it

    Everything started well but everything had an end

    You are the sun of my life, my desire

    You are not a lie, you are the truth

    (You) are everything that I dreamed for one day

    Tá Delícia, Tá Gostoso

    Zé Catimba and Alceu Maia

    Assim como adolescente

    O cupido me pegou

    Me apaixonei por seu beijo

    Sem você eu nada sou

    Vem me salvar boca a boca

    tô morrendo de amar

    Vem fazer amor bonito

    Vem pra se deliciar

    Você é fêmea no cio

    Deixa seu macho dengoso

    Quando diz no meu ouvido

    Tá delícia, tá gostoso

    Tá, tá, tá

    Tá delícia, tá gostoso

    É amor é paixão

    É você a dona do meu coração

    It’s delicious, It’s tasty

    As an adolescent

    Cupid shot me

    I feel in love because of your kiss

    Without you I’m nothing

    Come to save me mouth to mouth

    I’m dying of love

    Come make beautiful love

    Come to please me

    You are a bitch in heat

    Let go and make your man relax

    When you tell me in my ears

    It’s delicious, it’s tasty

    It is, it is, it is

    It’s delicious, it’s tasty

    It is love, it is passion

    It is you the owner of my heart

    Devagar, Devagarinho

    Eraldo Divagar

    É devagar, é devagar

    É devagar, é devagar, devagarinho

    Devagarinho

    É que a gente chega lá

    Se você não acredita

    Você pode tropeçar

    E tropeçando

    O seu dedo se arrebenta

    Com certeza não se agüenta

    E vai xingar

    É devagar, é devagar

    É devagar, é devagar, devagarinho

    Eu conheci um cara

    Que queria o mundo abarcar

    Mas de repente

    Deu com a cara no asfalto

    Se virou, olhou pro alto

    Com vontade de chorar

    É devagar, é devagar

    É devagar, é devagar, devagarinho

    Sempre me deram a fama

    De ser muito devagar

    E desse jeito

    Vou driblando os espinhos

    Vou seguindo o meu caminho

    Sei aonde vou chegar

    Slow, Very slow

    Slow, slow

    Slow, slow, very slow

    Very slowly, we get there

    If you don’t believe that

    You will trip

    And tripping

    You’ll stub your toe

    And surely you won’t put up with that

    And you’re going to swear

    Slow, slow

    Slow, slow, very slow

    I met a guy

    Who wanted to do everything in the world

    But suddenly

    He fell on his face

    He turned, eyes to the heights

    And felt like crying

    Slow, slow

    Slow, slow, very slow

    I was always known

    As being very slow

    And in this way

    I hurdled life’s thorns

    I’m following my own path

    I know where I’m going

    Recommended Discography

    Release dates have been omitted as the conversion from LP to CD modified
    the issue dates.

    Label………………….Title

    Sony …………………..Tá Delícia, Tá Gostoso

    Columbia……………. Ao Rio de Janeiro

    BMG…………………. Casa de Bamba

    Columbia……………. Samba do Trabalhador

    Sony………………….. Vai, Meu Samba, Vai

    BMG ………………….O Carnaval de Beth Carvalho e Martinho
    da Vila

    Sony …………………..O Canto das Lavadeiras

    Sony …………………..Festa da Raça Brasileira

    RCA…………………. Coração Malandro

    BrazilOid …………….Batuqueiro

    RCA…………………. Canta, Canta, Minha Gente

    BMG …………………Acervo Especial

    BMG………………… Acervo Especial 2

    BMG………………… Série Aplauso

    Sony…………………. Martinho da Vila

    BMG………………… Tendinha

    BMG………………… Samba de Enredo

    Tropical Music……..Meu Samba Feliz

    Bruce Gilman plays cuíca for
    Mocidade Independente Los Angeles, received his MA from California Institute
    of the Arts, and teaches English and ESL in Long Beach, California. You
    can reach him through his E-mail: cuíca@interworld.net


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