By Kátia Moraes | English Edition: Cecilia Schlesinger
I think that one of the most difficult things for an American to accept is that in Portuguese and in other languages, there are words that are feminine and words that are masculine. The words sun and body are masculine, and words like moon and soul are feminine.
To me, music is feminine. I feel at home when I go to a concert or listen to a CD. Rosa Passos is a good example of feminineness. She is from Bahia and has been called “João Gilberto in skirts.” She recently performed at the Conga Room in Los Angeles promoting her new release “Amorosa” from Sony Classical. “Amorosa” is a trib- ute to “Amoroso”, a João Gilberto album released in 1977. Accompanied by Helio Alves on piano, Paulinho Braga on drums, Paulo Paulelli on acoustic bass, and Rodrigo Ursaia on flute and sax, Rosa sang and enchanted the audience. Her vel- vet voice fits well with her magic guitar playing that re-harmo- nizes the old bossa novas and her own compositions.
I saw her show for the first time at the Hollywood Bowl a few years back. Unfortunately, it was when the Bowl had the old sound system. Her voice sounded really small then, as if it was coming from a small radio. Rosa stands out for her sophisticated repertoire, and the way she sings the songs. “Lobo Bobo” (Foolish Wolf), an old and funny Bossa, caught my attention for its slow tempo and melancholy vibe created by the new arrangement.
To me, Bebel Gilberto’s “femininity” comes through her intuition. Don Heckman from the Los Angeles Times called her, “The next Generation Brazilian Diva”. Hmm… This made me think of Marisa Monte and Daniela Mercury. They are part of the same generation and in my opinion, are more mature musically.
Bebel found an idea that linked two important worlds – her won- derful musical family heritage (João Gilberto, Miucha and Chico Buarque) and the Electronic wave. Before moving to New York and adding Electronics to Bossa Nova, Bebel recorded and performed MPB (Popular Brazilian Music). She was trying to find a place “under the Brazilian Musical Sun.” I remember watching one of her shows at Morro da Urca (on the top of the Sugar Loaf in Rio) in the 80’s when the record companies started pushing rock bands. It was not the time then. But definitely, everything is different now.
What is Oscar Castro-Neves doing amongst these women? He’s here because this guitarist, composer, arranger and producer is the most feminine man I know. I got a chance to see this sixty- four year old kid on stage with his very good friend Toots Thielemans a few years ago and it was a treat. GoMedia sent me his new album, “Playful Heart.” Through his repertoire you can see how romantic he is (again a very well known feminine characteristic). “My Foolish Heart” and “Twenty Years Love Affair” are two good examples. Oscar and Rosa know very well the playground where they joyfully “rearrange” the songs. They are of the pearls of the Brazilian
music. And pearl, again, is a feminine word.
Power to the goddess in you!
* The singer, instrumentalist, arranger, composer, music producer and Brazilian musical director Oscar Castro-Neves lived in Los Angeles for many years. Oscar passed away in 2017 and like Antônio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, is one of the figures who helped establish the Bossa Nova movement in the international market, especially in the United States.
** Katia Moraes is a singer, songwriter, and artist from Rio de Janeiro. She is a long-time Soul Brasil magazine contributor and lives in Los Angeles since 1990. To know more about her, visit www.katiamoraes.com