Day 08: Personal Notes: Samba Snapshots From The Malandro Project

We're having a lot of fun with The 12 Days of Samba; a lighthearted and entertaining look at Samba for its 100th Anniversary. Did you know that the very first Samba song 'Pelo Telefone' (On the Telephone) became the big hit of Rio's Carnaval in 1917? That's how Samba got its start! The 12 Days of Samba is also a fun way to learn more about Samba's iconic character, the 'bad boy' Malandro. So today, I jotted down some personal notes for several Sambas from my soon-to-be-released album, The Malandro Project. - Miguel de Leon

A Volta do Malandro
by Chico Buarque

This song is the genesis of The Malandro Project. I first heard it in the 1986 film Opera do Malandro and was so captured by the music and its accompanying scene that it has lived on in my memories all these years later. It gives me such pleasure to record this great song by the incomparable Brazilian singer, songwriter, Chico Buarque. In retrospect I would have never thought that one song would give birth to an entire album.

Homenagem Ao Malandro
by Chico Buarque

Originally I wasn't going to record this song for The Malandro Project. I had heard it before and liked it enough, but wasn't immediately drawn to it. While preparing the material for this CD with Luciano Antonio, the composer of the original material on the album, he told me that I couldn't do an album about the Malandro and not include Homenagem Ao Malandro. So we decided to record it as a possible song for the record and during that process I realized what a great song it was. The vocal line and the lyrics are just great and it's the kind of song a singer likes to sing. So glad to include it on The Malandro Project.

Sambista Malandro
by Luciano Antonio and Sergio Goncalves

Back when I was only thinking about possibly recording a new CD, I mentioned to my good friend and collaborator, Luciano Antonio the idea of doing a song about the Malandro. I showed him the clip of the scene featuring the song "A Volta do Malandro" from the movie Opera do Malandro on Youtube, and we both agreed that it was a good theme. A few days later he contacted me to let me know that he had a song ready and to come on by to his place to give it a listen. All I can say is that I immediately loved it and after that initial song all the pieces began to fall into place to give birth to The Malandro Project.

Lamento Para Um Malandro
by Miguel de León

Since April of this year I've been putting together material with my good friend and collaborator Luciano Antonio for this project. Many of the songs came to be as a result of conversations on the theme of the Malandro. Since the Malandro is seen as the life of the party, the majority of the songs were uptempo. My producer David Feldman voiced concern that there wasn't enough variety of song tempos in the material for the album. So that's how Lamento Para Um Malandro was born, a mournful slow tempo lament on the disappearance of the Malandro.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to hear one of the songs from The Malandro Project; it's an unmixed master version of "Ele Ama". I hope you like it!

The 12 Days of Samba:

Day 01: An Introduction to The 12 Days of Samba and The Malandro Project
Day 02: Was Joao Gilberto a Malandro?
Day 03: Previewing Miguel de Leon's Annual Christmas Concert In Chicago
Day 04: Winter reading: 'Samba' by Alma Guillermoprieto
Day 05: Famous Malandros In Pop Culture
Day 06: A Cachaça Holiday Cocktail
Day 07: Seven Samba Stocking Stuffers
Day 08: Personal Notes: Samba Snapshots From The Malandro Project
Day 09: How To Dance Samba - Women's Version
Day 10: How To Dance Samba - Men's Version
Day 11: 100 Years of Samba and The Malandro Project
Day 12: The Malandro and 'The Lights of Christmas'

Follow Miguel de Leon and The Malandro Project on Facebook and our mailing list!

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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