British producers convinced Caetano Veloso to play guitar on his albums in the early 1970’s. He did not trust in his "no technique" technique of pulling the nylon strings to the point of perpetuating it on recordings, but the English men argued that it was the beautiful and original way, the one that should be. And that more than any hired guitarist’s hand, Veloso’s touch would give the sincerity that such personal and autobiographical songs demanded. The albums "Caetano Veloso" (1971) and "Transa" (1972) were the first ones featuring the singer-songwriter on the guitar.
About a year ago, maybe a little bit more, Caetano told me that he planned to see this beat, in the center of the question of what would be his third studio album with BandaCê. Pedro Sá (guitar), Ricardo Dias Gomes (bass and keyboards) and Marcelo Callado (drums and percussion) would work as from it in its outline. They would use Veloso’s guitar as a subject and an engine to create the arrangements of the new harvest of transambas, tranrocks and what else he would possibly write to the album. It was an appropriate way, since the two British albums during the exile (mainly "Transa") are the source of all Veloso and the band have developed since 2006 - there included the great "Cê" (2006), "Zii and Zie "(2009) and the recordings of their respective concerts," Multishow Live - Cê "(2007) and" MTV Live - Zii and Zie "(2010).
"Abraçaço" is the third album, and closes Caetano’s trilogy with BandaCê. As well as the two first albums, it was produced by collaborators Moreno Veloso and Pedro Sá. But its theme turned out to be more embracing than the singer’s initial plans. The beat of Veloso’s guitar is present in most of the songs that composes the record. The title - an expression that the singer uses to end some e-mails that, according to him, suggests not only a big hug, but a spread, comprehensive or multiple hug – was taken from the track "Um Abraçaço" and confirms the idea of a spread concept. "Abraçaço" is, therefore, the after-all of the teen "Cê" and the mature "Zii and Zie".
"A Bossa Nova É Foda" opens the album with a punch (the way Caetano usually opens his albums), and the conversation passes by João Gilberto. More than a guitarist or a singer, he is the "wizard of Juazeiro", the promoter of the reinvention of Brazil. Caetano’s lyrics speak about the idea of the man who is born destined to fail, but becomes an UFC champion. It reverberates, in some sense, the speech of Jorge Mautner, who sees Brazil as the creator of a (New Thing) "Coisa Nova”, a source where the entire planet can drink of. It also dialogues with Tom Zé’s theory, which our country began the year 1958 as an exporter of raw materials, "the lowest level of human ability", and, after the musical invention of João Gilberto it ended the same year exporting art to the world, "the highest degree of human ability."
"Funk Melódico" is a direct relative of "Miami Maculelê", a carioca funk that Caetano wrote last year for Gal Costa’s album "Recanto" (2011). The lyrics sample Noel Rosa and Vinicius de Morais. The new creation gets in with the highest score in the growing gallery of "inside out love" themes that Veloso has created, where "Não Enche" and "Odeio" also live.
"O Império da Lei" was written after Caetano watched "Eu Receberia as Piores Notícias dos Seus Lindos Lábios", a film by Beto Brant and Renato Ciasca, based on the novel by Marcal Aquino.
"Um comunista" (the track lasts 8 minutes and 36 seconds) mixes Caetano’s own biography with the one by guerrilla Carlos Marighella, killed by the military in 1969. "The Bahian died / I was in exile / And I sent a message / That I had died / And he was alive / But nobody understood. / Life without utopia / I do not understand that it exists: / This is the way that a communist speaks."
On "Cê" (as on Gal Costa’s "Recanto"), all songs, music and lyrics were exclusively written by Caetano, without any intervention from another composer. On "Zii and Zie" there was a partnership with Pedro Sá and covers of two classic sambas. On "Abraçaço", everything is new. But two people intervened.
"Parabéns" was the subject of the e-mail that filmmaker Mauro Lima ("Meu Nome Não É Johnny" and "Reis e Ratos") sent to Caetano on this birthday two years ago. It became the title of the song whose lyrics are the ones written on the email. No word has been added or removed. The music was meant to be on Gal Costa’s album, but it did not fit there. It fits now.
"Gayana" was written by Rogério Duarte, one of the key founders of Tropicália, that ended up better known for his work as visual artist (he signs the covers of the first albums released by Caetano and Gil and the stunning poster of Glauber Rocha’s film "Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol"). "Gayana" is naturally pop. It seems one of those Bahia Carnival classics, but with a soft singing. Caetano got to know the song from a video sent by Duarte, in which the author himself sung and played a classical guitar.
Musically, songs like "Quero Ser Justo" and "Vinco" could be on any other Caetano's album anytime, before or after. Their strength as songs, lyrics and music structures them on the record.
“Quando o Galo Cantou” also runs around. The music is all presented with voice, guitar and bass. BandaCê interacts only on the repetition. It is a song of post-sex, post-orgasm: "What have I done to deserve the peace that sex brings?" Still more intimate, "Estou Triste" is one of the finest musical portraits of the state of depression of all time. Nothing can express so deeply the sorrow than lines such as "Why does it exist no matter what?", "I feel empty and even so satiate" and "My bedroom is the coldest place in Rio". Someone who has ever experienced the feeling would not be able to describe it in such absolute way. It is so true that it could not be other than autobiographical.
There should be no coincidence that the beat of Caetano’s guitar structures the way of those two tracks, the most sincere, personal and autobiographical on "Abraçaço". The English producers were full of reason.
(Original by Marcus Preto – November 2012)