Celebrating Singer-Songwriter Chico Buarque

Photo: Robert Schwenck

Chico Buarque is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters from Brazil. I was first introduced to his music in the 1980s and was immediately moved by his rich melodies and lyrical themes. It was also during that time that I saw the movie version of his theatrical play "Opera do Malandro" and became a life-long fan of his work.

That film introduced me to what a Malandro is and the song "A Volta do Malandro" from the film is one that has lived on in my memory all these years later. The spirit of that song along with its accompanying scene from the movie led me to want to find out more about the Malandro and is really the genesis of my album The Malandro Project. It was the first song to be chosen which then led to an exploration of the theme of the Malandro and the other facets in his life that could be expressed through song.

On my album Postcards From Rio I also included one of Chico Buarque's compositions, "Samba de Orly". Its inviting melody and captivating samba rhythm was the perfect song to open my CD which was dedicated to the "Cidade Maravilhosa", the marvelous city of Rio de Janeiro. It's such a fun song to sing and I felt that it perfectly set the grove for the rest of that album.

Another of Chico Buarque's great compositions I had to include on my Malandro Project album is his song "Homenagem ao Malandro”. It's a narrative of the saga of the Malandro and surprisingly tells of his different identities which can also include officials, candidates and other corrupt professionals. He has had a long and varied career having written songs, plays, and books that have not only been for the enjoyment of his fans but also to express his strong political positions which have been expressed through his art. Chico Buarque is an artist whose work I have admired for many years now and am grateful to the inspiration he sparked in me to record "The Malandro Project".

- Miguel

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The Malandro Project was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with saxophonist Leo Gandelman and MPB’s Leila Pinheiro to celebrate 100 Years of Samba and its iconic character, the charming, roguish bad-boy Malandro. A combination of cultural myth and historic fact, the Malandro’s roots can be traced throughout the history of Samba. The Malandro Project album will be released in early 2017.

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