Listening Post 33. When a knee injury put an end to Diogo Nogueira’s soccer career, he went into the family business—samba. Son of a renowned sambista, Diogo grew up in the heart of Rio de Janeiro’s musical culture. Since launching his career in 2007 he has won four Latin Grammy Awards; composed for Portela, one of the leading samba schools in Rio’s annual Carnaval; and performed on Copacabana beach on New Year’s Eve. Porta-voz da Alegria (Spokesman for Joy) is his fourth studio album, backed by a full samba complement of strings and percussion, whistles and rattles. The title song is the rose-colored declaration of “a samba warrior” thanking his wife and family for their support (video 1). The nuance comes with Alma Boêmia (Bohemian Soul), describing the distractions of an artist in the zone: “With this bohemian soul, I can’t stay in control/Not sorcery, just samba/But when it calls, everything else stalls” (video 2). Clareou (Becoming Clear) and Pra Que Brigar (Why Should We Fight?) are at the mellow end of the samba spectrum, while the ardent suitor of A Mil Por Hora (Doing a Thousand Per Hour) covers more ground in pursuit of his sweetheart than Pelé ever did chasing a ball. Nogueira himself traded goals on the field for musical scores, and today millions of feet move to his voice. (EMI Records Brasil)
Footnote: In the absence of live-action music videos, I am adding a documentary clip that mixes excerpts from Porta-voz da Alegria with Nogueira’s descriptions—in Portuguese—of the autobiographical nature of the album and the life of a sambista (video 3).