17 May 2015

Brazil #1: Lots of different styles

It is the time for this blog to head back to the continent of South America. I myself am very interested in the culture of South America, mainly thanks to the telenovelas I have watched, and after the Far East it is probably the area I am most interested in. For a Northern European like me, South America seems very exotic and culturally very different from what I am use. Obviously my interest on the South American culture includes music of the continent.

Wikipedia: Brazil
Today's country is Brazil. For me, and I bet many others too, Brazil has an image of a fun and colourful country, thanks to the fabulous carnivals and such. So I was quite surprised when I started to look into Brazilian music: I kept coming across ballads! Like I have mentioned previously, I am not a huge fan of ballads though I found some very nice ones too. It was just that I was expecting something kind of different than what I found and it kind of changed my image of the country. But not for worse, just into something different.

Let's start with Paula Fernandes. She is 30 years old singer and songwriter from a Brazilian city called Sete Lagoas. Paula started her career already back in 1993 when she was just eight years old. She has been very successful, in example her most successful album, a live album by a name of Paula Fernandes: Ao Vivo has sold over 4,000,000 copies in Brazil. She has worked together with many worldwide famous artists, like Juanes, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift. Paula is currently signed to Universal Music Brasil.

The song above is called Eu Sem Você, which means Me Without You in English. Eu Sem Você is one of Paula's best charted singles, charting number two in Brazil and number five in Portugal. It was released as a single in 2012 and it is pop and sertanejo song.

I find this song very relaxed. Probably partly thanks to the music video, it gives me a feeling of nature and freshness. I do not know what she sings about, but I get a warm feeling from the singing, yet there is something deeper and sadder in her voice too. Overall this song is very easy to listen to and beautiful. It was one of the very first Brazilian songs that I heard and maybe the first I really loved.

Paula sings music that is a mix of pop, country and sertanejo. I must say this was the first time that I heard about the genre sertanejo. According to Wikipedia it is a music style that originated from Brazil in the 1920s, more specifically from the countryside of Brazil, and it is the most popular genre in Brazil. Perhaps this is why Paula's music reminds me of nature and countryside, since both Paula and the type of music she sings come from the countryside?

This other songs reminds me of the nature and countryside too: Chuva Chover. I do not know for certain, but I assume this song is sertanejo and country? At least to me it sounds very country. Paula recorded this song for a collection album of various artists, which was released in 2009. In this album's name there is the word sertanejo, so this is probably a good example of the genre.

I find this song very fun and positive sounding. The title Chuva Chover means Rain Showers (and as usual, the translations are by Google Translate), so I would kind of expect more of a sad song, but this does not sound sad at all. I like the country feel in it and the music is very nice. And I like Paula's voice a lot; not just in this song, but overall too.

Eu Sem Você is from Paula's most recent studio album Meus Encantos, which was released in 2012. Chuca Chover can be found from a album called O Melhor do Sertanejo Universitário 2.

This second artist is called Preta Gil. She is 40 year old singer and actress, born in Rio De Janeiro. She has released three studio and two live albums, and has had fairly successful career in Brazil. Preta's father, who also is a famous musician, is Gilberto Gil, who was previously a minister of culture in Brazil. Paula sings pop, R&B and MPB, which means Brazilian pop music.

The song Sou Como Sou was released in 2012. Google Translate is not cooperating once again, but I go heavily assuming that the title means I Am What I Am, since the Spanish words Soy Como Soy translates into that. I have never studied Spanish nor Portuguese, but with the little Spanish knowledge I find it interesting how many similarities I can hear in these two languages.

I do not know into what genre Sou Como Sou belongs to, but I guess it is pop or MPB. It definitely could have MPB in it, since Wikipedia tells that this genre mixes different genres, including traditional Brazilian styles, like samba in example. For me the song sounds very pop, but there is also hints of something more traditional dance song, like samba. I find the song very catchy and somehow the word colourful comes to my mind. I like it a lot.

Sou Como Sou was released on a album of the same name, Sou Como Sou, which was out in 2012.

The last artist is called Wanessa. Her full name is Wanessa Godói Camargo Buaiz, but she uses only her first name as her stage name. She comes from Goiânia, which is one of the largest cities in Brazil. Wanessa became active in music in 2000, when she was just 17 years old. She is daughter of Zezé Di Camargo, who is part of Brazilian sertanejo duo Zezé Di Camargo & Luciano. Once again the talent seems to run in the family. Wanessa's main genres are dance-pop and latin pop. She is signed to Sony Music.

The song above is Não Me Leve A Mal (Let Me Live). The Portuguese part in the title means Do Not Get Me Wrong. Just like the title, the lyrics of the song mix English and Portuguese. It is a hip-hop and R&B song released in 2009.

I find this song quite interesting sounding. The chorus is fairly catchy and I like the rhythm. There is some interesting elements in the music, but I do not know what they exactly are. I find this song quite strong, and from the feeling I get and the title I guess the lyrics have a strong message, possibly a break-up song. I like the sound a lot and it is catchy without being overwhelmingly repetitive (well, at least not until the end maybe).

The other song from Wanessa is called Sticky Dough. It features American BamBam, but mostly it is Wanessa singing. The music is very interesting mix of pop, dupstep, house and funk carioca. I do not know if Wanessa is trying to break into US music market, but for me some of her songs, this one especially, sound very "American". I do not say that as a bad thing, just as an observation. What I find interesting is that in Wikipedia it says that this song was released in Brazil and the Netherlands. The Netherlands came a bit out of bushes for me, since I have not yet heard that Brazilian music would be popular there?

I find this song utterly catchy and very fun. The music is definitely my kind of music; It is strong beated and has an interesting sound to it. I also really like how Wanessa sings. The lyrics are quite interesting with some kind of weird parts, but I think this song is meant to be fun and not all that serious. At least the music supports this theory. And if so, it manages to do exactly that; It is lots of fun and makes even me feel like dancing.

Não Me Leve A Mal (Let Me Live) was released on Wanessa's 2009 album Meu Momento.  Sticky Dough is from Wanessa's most recent studio album DNA, which was released in 2011.

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