Guai: Capitania

For the Brasilian singer Guai – not nearly as known as she deserves to be – to take this repertoire – none of which she has written – and interpret it in such an eloquent, almost mystical manner, you would think that the songs have been expressly written to mirror her own life’s bitter-sweet journey. So magical is the recording, Capitania, on which she sings them. Guai’s is a voice that is fresh and youthful. She is a top tier vocalist who conveys these songs with a measure of innocence and vulnerability, often with gloriously whisper-soft dynamics and always with a luscious palette of tones and colours.

Album cover of Guai: Capitania
Album cover of Guai: Capitania

The songs on Capitania speak to Guai in a very special way; a conversation that seems to take place in the secret of her heart. She takes this as a cue to dig deep into her emotional self and sing them as if they were written just for her, to describe, in fact, a very personal journey that she has made. She phrases with unforced eloquence, pointing salient words within a liquid legato. Her diction is model, both expressive and crystal clear. With no hint of mawkishness, she excels in wondering or regretful tenderness, and that singular Brasilian emotion – saudade.

Guai sings with shy understatement and has a gift for it, setting the rhapsodic rhythm and tone for the entire album right out of the gate, on the wonderfully questing “Há Sempre Uma Estrada”. There is a welcome, dancing and edgy abandon on “Samba de Aylê”, with just the right kind of anxious colouring. Her musings on “Cá Com Deus” and “Cada Eu” are inward and highly effective. Throughout this repertoire, both bitter-sweet [even tragic] and effervescent moods are expressed without undue melodrama or sentimentality. Everywhere she brings out the depth of emotions associated with each narrative, making them her own.

This is a wonderfully-produced album and features some of the most renowned Brasilian musicians. These include bassist Arthur Maia and Nema Antunes [who co-produced this album with Guai and also arranged some songs], reeds master Marcelo Martins, who also arranged some songs, in addition to dramatising key songs with his marvellous playing. Featured guests include the great Ivan Lins on “Depois dos Temporais” co-written with Vitor Martins, Paulo de Carvalho on the majestic “Dios Corações” and Victor Zamora who solos on the final, ebullient song, “Sambar é Bom”.

The result is an album that significantly raises the artistic profile of Guai. And so it should for all the right reasons, and for taking us on an emotional ride at the highest level of interpretative and technical skill. This is a simply stunning album.

Track list – 1: Há Sempre Uma Estrada; 2: Saber de Cor; 3: Roda Quem Não Girar; 4: Som do Samba; 5: Cá Com Deus; 6: Samba de Aylê; 7: Depois dos Temporais; 8: Cada Eu; 9: Dios Corações; 10: Sambar é Bom [Hidden tracks 11: Beyond the Thunderstorms; 12: Free Vocal Improvisation]

Personnel – Guai: vocals; Marco Brito: piano and keyboards [1, 2, 6 – 11]; Luiz Otávio: keyboards [3 – 5]; Tavinho Menezes: guitar [1, 2, 6 – 11]; Luiz Brasil: guitar [3]; Fernando Monteiro: guitar [3 – 10]; Marcelo Martins: saxophones; Bororó Felipe: bass [1, 6]; Nema Antunes: bass [2, 3, 5, 7 – 11]; Arthur Maia: bass [3, featured on 4]; Erivelton Silva: drums [1, 2, 6 – 11]; Teo Lima: drums [3 – 5]; Marco Suzano: percussion; Vocal Kuimba: coro [6, 8]. Featuring – Ivan Lins: vocals [7, 11]; Paulo de Carvalho: vocals [9]; Victor Zamora: piano solo [10]

Released – 2021
Label – Independent
Runtime – 49:46

Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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