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The Songs of Ana Carolina

And the words of the prophet are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls

A VOICE
How do you describe a voice? Usually you don’t; you listen to it. I started to write about the lyrics of Ana Carolina’s songs and ended up listening to most of them in the process. As is often said, her voice is unusually deep for a woman’s, but you can say a whole lot more about it. In terms of Brazilian music, Ana Carolina bridges the gap between Cassia Eller and Bebel Gilberto. She has a tonal range and dynamism reminiscent of Ivete Sangalo and has been influenced by Zelia Duncan. For those not familiar with the music, Cassia Eller, like Janis Joplin,  had the ability to move easily between raw blues and tender love songs; Bebel Gilberto can use sophisticated jazz phrasing to put over a complicated bossa nova tune and make it all sound like a catchy pop song; Ivete Sangalo is a soul singer and extraordinary performer whose shows are really exciting; and Zeila Duncan is a great Brazilian songwriter whose songs just work. But the voice: like a mixture of brandy and honey; like a fire burning in the sun (as Bob Dylan might say). Technically, she has a limited range, especially in the upper register, but makes good with a really exciting falsetto. Her tone is warm, and puts a lot of life into her songs. She plays the rock star and can be really raucous. But in my opinion she excels as a writer and singer of ballads, and this gift has bought her enormous popularity in Brazil, where it seems everybody knows her words. A magnificent voice which keeps getting better.

Her words put lyricism back into lyrics. I don’t understand Portuguese and yet can be deeply moved by some of her songs. I’ve chosen some sad love songs to look at, but Ana Carolina is also a percussionist who lives in a society dominated by African rhythms; a performer from the land of the carnival (think Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints – The Obvious Child if you want a familiar analogue); a rock star in the Northern American style; and a writer in a field dominated by Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso, poets who have put their inspiration into popular music just as Bob Dylan has. To round off her accomplishments, Ana Carolina often arranges and produces many of her songs. Three of her eight CDs have sold over a million copies (diamond in Brazil) and the others all over half a million (platinum); 15 singles have reached top 20  sales, including five at no. 1. Popularity doesn’t always mean quality, but here it might. Although I know nothing about Brazilian culture and little about Brazilian music, perhaps there is a difference between women writers and male writers here, as there is in Japan; males using a more formal, elaborate, ‘rhetorical’ to Western ears, style, females a more intimate, contemporary one. Probably the best introduction to Ana Carolina is the 2003 CD Estampado, also her biggest seller. Every album so far has produced a no.1 single, and there is a large range of different styles on each CD as Ana Carolina struggles not to be typecast and forced to turn out the same thing again and again.

A Canção Tocou na Hora Errada expresses the regret that everyone feels after it’s over, the amazement that someone so close has become a stranger. The feeling is melancholic but not deep. The singer is young and the melody resurgent.

Quem de nos dois is the story of a love affair that just didn’t work. What’s remarkable about it is that it doesn’t deal in platitudes, love, heartbreak, bring on the violins; but attempts to chart the shifting and ambiguous mess of feelings that arise when people foist their expectations on one another when they aren’t very clear what those expectations are. And it accepts the fact that the end of an affair can be both a relief and the start of a greater knowledge of yourself and of the world. This is real world lyricism, the kind that perhaps many women feel, but not many write about. And the melody carries you along with it. The lyrics chart the time in a relationship one step before Bob Segar’s “Blame it on midnight – shame on the moon”. Ana Carolina’s song reached no. 1 on the singles charts in 2002.

©2010 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy allmusic, amazon, lastFM and wikipedia. Please inform post author of any violation.

SOME WORDS

A Canção Tocou na Hora Errada (track 7 of Ana Carolina 1999) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvDosIRdJ0g

The song heard at the wrong moment –
and I who thought I knew everything –
when it came to you I knew nothing at all.
when I heard the song,
it was at the sunrise;
I saw you, I felt your hand,
and found it fitted me like a glove –
when the rain came everything was different.

The song on the radio,
that you can’t hear because of the rain.
I kept your letters because they were so like you –
but after you’d gone you’ve become a stranger.

The song heard at the wrong moment
but after you’d gone you’ve become a stranger.

The song heard at the wrong moment,
but now there’s nothing
I remembered, not even
the roses that bloom in winter. (2x)

(Translation G Attardo 2010)

A canção tocou na hora errada
E eu que pensei que eu sabia tudo
Mas se é você eu não sei nada
Quando ouvi a canção, era madrugada
Eu vi você, até sentir tua mão
E achei até que me caia bem como uma luva
Mas veio a chuva e ficou tudo tão desigual
A canção tocou no rádio agora
Mas você não pôde ouvir por causa do temporal
Mas guardei tuas cartas com letras de fôrma
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora

A canção tocou na hora errada
Mas não tem nada não,
Eu até lembrei
Das rosas que dão no inverno (2X)

Mas guardei tuas cartas com letras de fôrma
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora

A canção tocou na hora errada
Mas não tem nada não,
Eu até lembrei
Das rosas que dão no inverno

Mas guardei tuas cartas com letras de fôrma
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora
Mas já não sei de que forma mesmo você foi embora (4X).

Quem de nos dois (track 5 of Ana Rita Joana Iracema e Carolina 2001) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqDKX2JFMm8

Me and you…
it isn’t so complicated,
not too difficult to see –
which one of the two of us,
will say that our love cannot be.
if I say that I feel nothing,
that the road without you is safer,
I know you, you’ll laugh in my face.
I already know your smile
I can already see in your eyes;
your smile that is just a disguise
something that I don’t need anymore.

I feel like saying that I just love,
that this is not good to conceal (aaaaaah).
between the two of us
there’s no room for secrets,
beyond those we’ve already agreed.
despite all the things we’ve said
we can’t any more be just friends;
and when I say I don’t want you
it’s not what I feel – a wrong way,
and when I pretend I’m forgetting
I still feel about you the same way.

(refrain)

every time I leave I get closer (eeeeee),
to lose sight of you is so bad (éeeeeeee)
for this I enter your future,
turn your memory into solace so sad.
it’s not that I want to revisit our past
or to revive a feeling that’s faded,
but every time I look for an exit
I end up, can’t help it, with you (aaaaah).

I looked for excuses
to hide from you (aaaaah).
not to say the same things over and over,
not to speak just for speaking,
to say I’m not there for this talk,
that the story doesn’t concern me.
if I try to hide a half truth,
you know my smile
you read the look in my eyes;
my smile is just a disguise
which I don’t need anymore.

(refrain)

every time I go away I get closer…
(This is a loose (traitorous) translation based on one made by G Attardo 2010).

Eu e voce..
nao é assim tao complicado
nao é dificil perceber
quem de nós dois
vai dizer que é impossivel.. o amor acontecer
se eu disser que ja nem sinto nada
que a estrada sem voce é mais segura
eu sei voce vai rir da minha cara
eu ja conheco o teu sorriso
leio o teu olhar
teu sorriso é só disfarce
que eu ja nem preciso

sinto dizer
que amo mesmo
ta ruim pra disfarcar (aaaaaaa..)
entre nós dois
nao cabe mais nenhum segredo
além do que ja combinamos
no vao das coisas que a gente disse
nao cabe mais sermos somente amigos
e quando eu falo que eu ja nem quero
a frase fica pelo avesso.. meio na contramao
e quando finjo que esqueco
eu nao esqueci nada

(Refrao)

e cada vez que eu fujo eu me aproximo mais (ééé…)
e te perder de vista assim, é ruim demais e ééé..
por isso que atravesso teu futuro
e faco das lembrancas um lugar seguro
nao é que eu queira reviver nenhum passado
nem revirar o sentimento, revirado
mas toda vez que eu procuro uma saida
acabo entrando sem querer na tua vida (aaaa..)

eu procurei..
qualquer desculpa, pra nao te encarar (aaa..)
pra nao dizer
de novo e sempre a mesma coisa, falar só por falar
que eu ja nao to nem ai pra essa conversa
que a história de nós dois nao me interessa
se eu tento esconder meias verdades
voce conhece o meu sorriso
le o meu olhar
meu sorriso é só disfarce
o que eu ja nem preciso

(Refrao)

e cada vez que eu fujo eu me aproximo mais (ééé…)
e te perder de vista assim.. é ruim demais e ééé..
por isso que atravesso teu futuro
e faco das lembrancas um lugar seguro
nao é que eu queira reviver nenhum passado
nem revirar o sentimento, revirado
mas toda vez que eu procuro uma saida
acabo entrando sem querer na tua vida (aaaaaa)

(ieeeee….)

Encostar na tua (track 2 of Estampado 2003)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mja74JDhMjk

Eu quero te roubar pra mim
eu que nao sei pedir nada
meu caminho é meio perdido
mas que perder.. seja o melhor destino
agora nao vou mais mudar
minha procura por si só
ja era o que eu queria achar..

quando voce chamar meu nome
eu que também nao sei aonde estou
pra mim que tudo era saudade
agora seja la o que for..

eu só quero saber em qual rua minha vida vai encostar na tua.. (2x)

eu quero te roubar pra mim
eu que nao sei pedir nada
meu caminho é meio perdido
mas que perder.. seja o melhor destino
agora nao vou mais mudar
minha procura por si só
ja era o que eu queria achar

quando voce chamar meu nome
eu que também nao sei aonde estou
pra mim que tudo era saudade
agora seja la o que for

eu só quero saber em qual rua minha vida vai encostar na tua.. (2x)

e saiba que forte eu sei chegar
mesmo se eu perder o rumo(ieeee..)
e saibe que forte eu sei chegar
se for preciso eu sumo…

eu só quero saber em qual rua minha vida vai encostar na tua.. (2x)

(tirudiru….)

eu quero te roubar pra mim…

Ruas de outono (track 3 of Dois Quartos 2006)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO9BRj3lGuw

Nas ruas de outono
Os meus passos vão ficar
E todo abandono que eu sentia vai passar
As folhas pelo chão
Que um dia o vento vai levar
Meus olhos só verão que tudo poderá mudar

Eu voltei por entre as flores da estrada
Pra dizer que sem você não há mais nada
Quero ter você bem mais que perto
Com você eu sinto o céu aberto

Daria pra escrever um livro
Se eu fosse contar
Tudo que passei antes de te encontrar
Pego sua mão e peço pra me escutar
Seu olhar me diz que você quer me acompanhar

Eu voltei por entre as flores da estrada
Pra dizer que sem você não há mais nada…

Dentro (track 2 of N9vo 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAI6aTDGHlk

Me escondi
Pra não ter que ver você dizer
Coisas que eu não merecia ouvir
Era você ou eu

Escolhi
O pior lugar pra me esconder
Me tranquei por dentro de você
E não sei mais sair

Pela rua penso em ti
Volto em casa, penso em ti
No trabalho sem querer
Quando vejo tô pensando em você
E surgi de onde eu não imaginei
E aprendi que eu nunca sei
Enganar meu coração

Escrevi frases soltas pelo chão
Esperei você dormir
Pra jurar minha paixão

Escolhi
O pior lugar pra me esconder
Me tranquei por dentro de você
E não sei mais sair

Pela rua penso em ti
Volto em casa, penso em ti
No trabalho sem querer
Quando vejo tô pensando em você
E surgi de onde eu não imaginei
E aprendi que eu nunca sei
Enganar meu coração

Escrevi frases soltas pelo chão
Esperei você dormir
Pra jurar minha paixão

ALBUMS (CDs)

Ana Carolina 1999
Review by Alvaro Neder
This is the first album of singer Ana Carolina. Her beautiful contralto voice (still heavily inspired by Zélia Duncan’s) will benefit from experience and artistic sincerity after the initial challenge of establishing herself in a competitive profession. The album opens with a funk-samba. Following is “Alguém Me Disse,” an old samba jewel by Evaldo Gouveia and Jair Amorim, losing here its delicacy and the harmonic subtlety in the aggressive rock groove. Another innovation that is, in fact, a violation is the bellicose rock interpretation for the tender “Retrato Em Branco E Preto” (“Zingaro,” Chico Buarque/Tom Jobim). Among funk/rock/pop/ballad grooves with no bigger interest, including her originals, the pop/rock “Garganta” scored a hit. The best track is the almost genuine coco “Armazém” by her. The album appeals to pop listeners but doesn’t represent a breakthrough.
Tracks
1.Tô Saindo (Villeroy) 3:08
2. Alguém Me Disse  (Amorim, Gouveia)  3:38
3. Nada Pra Mim (John) 3:39
4. Trancado (Carolina) 3:42
5. Armazém (Carolina) 2:28
6. Garganta  (Villeroy) 3:36
7. A Canção Tocou Na Hora Errada (Carolina) 4:15
8. Tudo Bem (Santos)   3:05
9. Agora Ou Nunca (Antunes, Britto, Fromer) 4:12
10. O Melhor de Mim  (Frejat, Moska, Quental) 3:54
11. Retrato Em Branco E Preto (Buarque, Jobim)  3:24
12. Perder Tempo Com Você (L.) 3:25
13. O Avesso Dos Ponteiros (Carolina) 3:49
14. Beatriz  (Buarque, Lobo)  3:47
15. Tô Caindo Fora (Barreto, Carolina, Ladeira) 3:45

Ana Rita Joana Iracema e Carolina 2001
Amazon review
Somewhere deep in the Amazon jungle, there is a secret laboratory that is producing the world’s greatest female singers. I mean, how do the Brazilians do it? Elis Regina, Joyce, Vania Abreu, Fernanda Porto, Adriana Calcanhotto…I could go on and on…and now we have that incredibly deep voice of Ana Rita Joana Iracema e Carolina. You’d never guess that someone who looks so delicate and girlish would have such a voice. It is overpowering without ever sounding pushed. It reminds me somewhat of Maria Bethania’s and (agreeing with another reviewer here) of Cassia Eller’s but I like Ana’s more and it is well displayed in this fine set of well-arranged and fresh-sounding songs. Very danceable too. Check it out. I wish she were coming to my town. I’d have a front row seat for sure.
Tracks
1. O Rio (Carolina)  3:13
2. Confesso (Carolina, Villeroy)  3:29
3. Ela é Bamba (Villeroy) 3:06
4. Implicante (Carolina) 3:17
5. Quem de Nós Dois (Carolina, Falcão, Grignani …) 5:05
6. Pra Terminar (Vianna)  4:40
7. Que Será (Pinto, Rossi)   3:44
8. Joana  (Carolina) 3:20
9. Violão E Voz (Carolina) 4:19
10. Vê Se Me Esquece (Carolina)  4:33
11. A Câmera Que Filma os Dias (Carolina, Villeroy)  3:23
12. Dadivosa (Calcanhotto, Carolina …) 3:11
13. Que Se Danem os Nós (Carolina, Villeroy)  3:36
14. Eu Nunca Te Amei Ioiota (L.)  3:48
15.  Me Sento Na Rua (Carolina, DaMata)    2:56

Estampado 2003
Review by Norman J Clarke on Amazon
I’m always surprised at how little exposure Brazilian artists get in the USA, but most especially so for Ana Carolina. Of all well-known young MPB artists I’d say her music is perhaps the most accessible to American ears unfamiliar with Brazilian music since she does not venture into Samba, Forró, or even Bossa Nova, sticking instead to straight-ahead pop. Regardless, her music is no prefabricated pop junk – there’s a great variety of instrumentation, idioms, and feeling on her albums which are always well (but not overly) produced. “Estampado” is no exception. There are a few good groove-oriented songs (Ana plays rhythm guitar and percussion in addition to being a singer) in Vox Populi, Não Fale Desse Jeito, O Beat da Beata (with guest Seu Jorge; easily the highlight of the album) and Elevador; and some nice ballads in Mais Que Isso and Nua. The rest of the songs lie somewhere in between, though she seems to be at her vocal best in sentimental songs like Encostar Na Tua and É Mágoa. This album also adds some orchestral accompaniment on some of the tracks, which could easily have become cheesy, but is handled with taste and subtlety, adding to the overall polished feel of the album. This is another fine effort from Ana Carolina; not a significant departure from her previous work, but creative enough that you won’t be bored. If you like her previous albums, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this one as well.
Tracks
1. Hoje Eu to Sozinha (Carolina)  4:30
2. Encostar Na Tua (Carolina)  4:11
3. Bicudos (Villeroy) 3:56
4. Elevador (Carolina) 3:15
5. So Fala Em Mim (Carolina, Villeroy)    3:45
6. E Hora de Virada (Carolina, Dale, Villeroy) 3:08
7. Uma Louca Tempestade (Carolina, Alves, Villeroy) 4:31
8. Pra Rua Me Levar  (Carolina, Villeroy)   3:50
9. E Magoa (Carolina) 4:09
10. Mais Que Isso (Carolina, Cesar)  3:55
11. Vox Populi (Carolina)  2:26
12. Vestido Estampado (Carolina)  3:04
13. Nua  (Carolina, Ramil) 4:03
14. Nao Fale Desse Jeito (Carolina, Jorge) 3:22
15. O Beat da Beata  (Carolina, Jorge)  3:57

Dois Quartos 2006
Review by Jason Birchmeier
Sprawling across two discs and comprising 24 songs that range stylistically from forceful rockers to moody instrumentals to heartfelt ballads, Dois Quartos is a bold statement of artistic expression by Ana Carolina, who was one of Brazil’s most celebrated MPB superstars at the time of the album’s 2006 release. She was also the subject of controversy at the time, as she’d recently gone public as a bisexual. This revelation lends an air of curiosity to some of the lyrics of the album, which is tagged with a parental advisory warning about the adult-oriented content. Yet while there’s plenty to consider from a lyrical standpoint on Dois Quartos, the scope of the album is most noteworthy. Two uptempo songs (“Nada Te Faltará,” “Tolerância”) get the album off to a rousing start before “Ruas de Outono,” the first of many heartfelt ballads, slows down the proceedings to a meditative lilt that is periodically disrupted by energetic songs such as “Rosas,” the album’s biggest hit single, and “Eu Comi a Madona,” one of several atmospheric mini-songs clocking under three minutes. The second disc of Dois Quartos offers fewer highlights than the first, but beginning with the very first track, a five-minute instrumental, “La Critique,” it’s more daring, showcasing some of the most experimental music of Carolina’s career to date (alongside plenty of ballads, including the single “Carvão”). Fans of Carolina will find plenty to enjoy on Dois Quartos, which not only runs long but sheds new light on the MPB superstar, who either writes or co-writes most of the songs. Longtime collaborator Antônio Villeroy (aka Totonho Villeroy) is once again her primary co-writer. Given its wide range of material, Dois Quartos isn’t an ideal starting point for newcomers (that would be the compilation Perfil [2005]), but it’s surely a gift to those who want to dig deeper and explore a more challenging side of Carolina’s artistry.
Tracks
1. Bada Te Faltará (Carolina, Villeroy) 5:20
2. Tolerância (Carolina, Villeroy)   5:41
3. Ruas de Outono  (Carolina, Villeroy)  3:25
4. Aqui (Carolina, Villeroy)   5:14
5. Rosas  (Villeroy) 4:45
6. Um Edíficio No Meio Do Mundo  (Carolina, Vercillo)   4:58
7. Vai  (Saback)  4:46
8. O Cristo de Madeira (Carolina)  2:16
9. Eu Comi a Madona (Carolina, L., Melo, Villeroy) 4:29
10. 1.100, 00 (Nega Marrenta) (Aleh, Carolina)  4:43
11. Chevette (Carolina) 1:58
12. Notícias Populares (Carolina) 3:36
13. La Critique [instrumental] (Carolina, Dunga, Romero …) 4:37
14. Então Vá Se Perder  (Carolina)  3:47
15. Carvão  (Carolina) 3:58
16. Manhã (Aleh, Alves, Carolina …) 4:18
17. Homens e Mulheres (Carolina)  3:35
18. Corredores  (Carolina)  3:22
19. Sen. Ti. Mentos [instrumental]  (Carolina) 4:36
20. Cantinho (Carolina, Gastão, Villeroy) 3:07
21. Eu Não Paro (Carolina, Falcão, Queiroga) 2:17
22. Claridade (Aleh, Carolina)  2:57
23. Milhares de Sambas (Carolina)  2:02
24. Eu Comi a Madona [Remix] (Carolina, L., Melo, Villeroy) 3:09

N9ve 2009
Review by Jason Birchmeier
A decade after Ana Carolina made her eponymous album debut in 1999, the MPB superstar released N9ve, a surprisingly modest album with only nine songs and less than 40 minutes of music. Relative to her previous studio album, the 24-track double-disc tour de force Dois Quartos, N9ve can’t help but feel like a slight effort even though it boasts plenty of standout songs. The wide-ranging sprawl of Dois Quartos was often amazing, even if the material was uneven and at times excessive. In contrast, there’s nothing superfluous or especially awe-inspiring about N9ve. It’s a solid album on which a handful of collaborations stand out, above all the soulful lead single, “Entreolhares (The Way You’re Looking at Me),” a bilingual duet with American R&B singer John Legend. Graced with a sweeping string arrangement, “Resta” is a tranquil duet with Italian singer/songwriter Chiara Civello, who is credited with co-writing four of the album’s nine songs. The sleepy piano jazz number “Traição” is another collaboration, this one with both Esperanza Spalding and Daniel Jobim. On account of all the downtempo songs on N9ve — practically every other track — the livelier moments tend to be highlights, for instance the tango eletrônico of “10 Minutos (Dimmi Perché),” the electric guitar bursts of “Era,” and the Gilberto Gil-penned “Torpedo.” Every song counts on an album this brief, and “Tá Rindo, É” is perhaps the best of all, a light samba-funk song with horns and talk box that is perfectly sequenced just before “Entreolhares.” Indeed, there are plenty of standout songs on N9ve, the entire album written by Carolina with co-writing credits for longtime collaborator Antônio Villeroy and others. Alê Siqueira produces three of the songs, and Mário Caldato and Kassin in tandem produce the six others. In spite of N9ve’s considerable strengths, however, the modest ambitions of the album are a disappointment after the grandness of Dois Quartos, which found Carolina branching out in different directions and experimenting as never before with her music. With Dois Quartos, of course, critics grumbled that it would have been a better album if it had been parred down to one disc rather than two. This time, it’s the fans who might find themselves grumbling about the slight offering of new material to devour, especially in the wake of all the tenth-anniversary fanfare leading up to the release of N9ve.
Tracks
1. 10 Minutos (Dimmi Perché) (Carolina)  3:47
2. Dentro (Carolina) 4:28
3.  Tá Rindo, É?  (Carolina)  4:03
4. Entreolhares (Way You’re Looking At Me) (Villeroy)   3:26
5. Era (Carolina) 4:41
6. 8 Estórias  (Carolina) 4:20
7.  Resta  (Carolina)  5:49
8.  Torpedo (Gilberto Gil)   3:54
9.  Traição (Carolina, Spalding, Jobim)  4:43

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This entry was posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 by in music and tagged , , , .
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