Denise Studart: Joia Rara

July 3, 2017

The Doctor Will Sing to You Now

Listening Post 106. Though the songs on Joia Rara (Rare Jewel) have the feel of classics, the album’s 10 tracks are actually new compositions on a debut album. In her smooth, sweet voice, Denise Studart animates the works of composer Sandor Buys—samba and other Brazilian styles—in a seamless bonding of fresh and déjà vu. Peço licença (An Offer of Samba) has an Afro-samba swing, accentuated by percussion and seven-string guitar: “My samba is for anyone who’d like to dance,” Studart sings, invoking the music’s history, beat, “memory of distant shores” and “voices that pierced the night in serenade” (video 1). The title track is a maxixe-hued samba: “When the dark girl dances I am speechless/She’s so entrancing she steals my eyes, voice, emotions” (video 2). Toque de classe (A Touch of Class) strives for the perfect definition: “If someone asks me what samba is/Caramba! It’s hard to respond/So many poets have tried/But God only knows how many mysteries samba can hide” (video 3). Other highlights are the samba/jazz Dois a um (One for You, Two for Me); the bossa nova-beat Atravessou o meu samba (Samba Interrupted); and the outlier Mar vermelho (Red Sea), a fado about a mermaid over whom men fight to the death. Joia Rara itself had an unlikely birth, the trajectories of the virtuosos who brought it to fruition more elaborate than Carnaval choreography. Not long before they met at Rio de Janeiro’s Escola Portátil de Musica, Studart and Buys were on different paths—she has a doctorate in museum studies and he has one in biology. Maybe their collaboration is one of samba’s mysteries. Certainly it’s a sign that the movement—2016 was the samba centennial—maintains its hold on the voices, emotions and talents of great artists. (Tratore)








1 Comment

  1. Denise Studart

    Very happy to know that ´Joia Rara´ touched you. Thank you for the lovely review! Um grande abraço, Denise Studart


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