essays on history, myth, ideas, books, film, music…
Ana Carolina is a pop singer and composer from Brazil, one of literally hundreds to emerge since the late ’90s in this most musical of cultures.
In Brazil established stars such as Ana Carolina’s idol Chico Buarque, or Caetano Veloso go right on producing records and retain a huge following, while new performers emerge each year. This huge influx of talent ensures that Brazil has had for many years the best popular music in the world, music that is truly popular, that needs no record company hype. Many of the new singers are women: Adriana Calcanhoto, Alcione, Ana Carolina, Bia, Cassia Eller, Cibelle, Clara Nunes, Leila Pinheiro, Sabrina Malheiros, Katia Moraes, Silvana Malta, Simone, Vania Abreu, Wanda Sa, Zizi Possi. Some of these have been around for a while (and some, unfortunately, are not), but they keep on reinventing themselves. And I’ve only named my favourites: there are many more talented artists performing in Brazil. Let’s not forget either that for every singer in the spotlight there are a number of talented songwriters, arrangers, producers and musicians in support. Or that in Brazil the audience itself is musical, many play a musical instrument or prepare all year for their performance at Carnival.
Ana Carolina’s name is Sousa; she was born 09 September 1974 in Minas Gerais, in the southeast. She is a guitarist and percussionist, and somewhere along the way she started to compose songs. The most distinctive thing about her is her voice, unusually deep, perfectly controlled and very powerful.
Her first album (Ana Carolina, 1999) spawned the hit Garganta and contained five early songs of her own as well as several by Chico Buarque. By the time of her second album, Ana Rita Joana Iracema e Carolina, 2001, Ana Carolina had blossomed into a world class performer. She composed many of the tracks, one with Adriana Calcanhoto, and shows considerable skill with ballads such as O Rio, Quem de Nós Dois and Confesso. In 2003 she released Estampado, which includes a duet with Seu Jorge, and the following year Perfil, a compilation from the first three albums, was very successful. In 2005 Ana Carolina recorded a concert with Seu Jorge in Sao Paulo. The album Ao Vivo topped the charts in Brazil and a single, É Isso Ai, was number one on the singles charts for many weeks. Breaking new ground, the double album Dois Quartos was released in 2006.
Probably the most familiar music from Brazil is the samba, and many know the Bossa Nova style popularised by Antonio Carlos Jobim. According to your taste you might be listening to edits of Bebel Gilberto’s music given a downbeat, chill out tempo. Ana Carolina’s music is unlike any of this. She is a classic singer/songwriter, and if you take the trouble to translate her Portuguese you find she writes quite good poetry. Some of her songs have a feminist slant. Some tracks are percussion based and remind you that Brazilian music has a huge African influence. The core of each album so far has been two or three ballads, arranged with considerable skill and sung with great feeling.
Ana Carolina is on the way to joining that great trio of Brazilian female singers, Maria Bethania, Elis Regina and Gal Costa. Behind her come a number of interesting and quite experimental performers like Cibelle. As far as I’m concerned, Ana Carolina is a singer whose entire CDs I listen to with pleasure. Her only rival in my affections is Bia (and her music comes from France, Spain and Spanish America as well as Brazil).
1999 – Ana Carolina
2001 – Ana Rita Joana Iracema e Carolina
2003 – Estampado
2004 – Perfil
2005 – Ana & Jorge – ao vivo
2006 – Dois Quartos
2008 – Multishow Ao Vivo Dois Quartos – ao vivo
©2009 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy Creative Commons. Please inform post author of any violation.