Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

Samba from Head to Toe

Listening Post 137. The samba artist Diogo Nogueira has reached new heights and greater depth with his fifth solo studio album: It’s the first collection for which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs (with A-list partners, including Hamilton de Holanda and Dona Ivone Lara) and it also establishes him as a scholar. Nogueira’s family history (father a leading sambista) and the observances of the samba centennial in 2016 fueled his desire to explore the genre’s roots in Afro-Brazilian percussion and also capture its primal energy. He did field work 180 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro in São José da Serra, a settlement founded by runaway slaves in 1850, where villagers have in recent years revived jongo—a communal dance regarded as the grandmother of samba—and where the sounds and people provided inspiration for the album. Munduê (Hear, O World) offers songs of love, faith and struggle, with a heaven-and-earth elasticity that raises heads even as feet beat the ground. The title track—perhaps the closest in spirit to the roots music Nogueira studied—calls on the highest power to light a path to beauty, joy and peace (audio link 1). Império e Portela (two of the storied samba schools that compete annually in Rio’s Carnival) is a duet of friendly rivals—Nogueira, a regular composer for Portela’s parade songs; and Arlindinho (son of sambista Arlindo Cruz), who has composed for Império Serrano (audio link 2). The gafieira-style Dança do Tempo (Dance of Time) expresses faith in life and the promise of love (audio link 3). Tempos Difíceis (Hard Times), a gentle lament about the shortage of justice and equality, and Coragem (Courage), obliquely invoking Brazil’s political misfortunes, are the album’s most political tracks. Munduê may not solve every problem or fulfill every hope, but it mobilizes the entire body in the cause. (Universal Music International)

Note: For the review of Diogo Nogueira’s previous album, Porta-voz da Alegría, see Listening Post 33, Feb 7, 2016.

 

To activate, click on the word “Soundcloud” in the upper right hand corner of the link.

 

Munduê: “Breath that animates our being, our fate/Honor the struggle of life/Spread the beauty, radiate
Love of the ground and the God we all share
Bang the drum, Lord of power
For the children of the earth
Sons of the same flower 

Cry, rain, fall and the world revolves/Spread this beauty, radiate
Come, today is the day to dance/Let the child play/Dream, hope for a better life
Plant his feet on the ground
Let the joy be rife”

 

Império e Portela: “Go there to know the samba of your soul/In the clan where youth respects its roots
Go there to appreciate/The beautiful essence of samba
Go there to Império
Go there to Portela

When I see the grandeur/Of the eagle warrior emerging on the avenue
My eyes overflow/A sea of yearning for the old times
From when sky blue showered peace/And gave birth to the light
That even today illuminates our path day and night”

 

 

Dança do Tempo: “From where the sun hits the earth/Comes the bread we divide and then share
Today, joy has dawned/To the sound of the guitar
From bossa negra that translates/The gift
Of God’s most perfect creation:
Love 

If I throw myself in, it’s for real
Even if the passion hurts
Another love will find me”

 

 


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