This is not an usual post here at the sunny side, but Guinga is arguably one of the most prominent composers alive in Brazil. Indeed a very fine acoustic guitar player - and dentist -, but moreover, brilliant in connecting dots and putting great minds to work on his compositions; usually accompanied by lyrics from Aldir Blanc, which, aside from Chico Buarque - who is beyond any dispute, cannot be beat.

So here we have two albums, one called Cheio de Dedos (roughly translated as Full of Fingers), and the other called Suite Leopoldina (Leopoldinean Suite).

Allow me to add a very good review from all music about Suite Leopoldina:


by Alex Henderson
Comparable to New York's Penn Station or Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, Leopoldina Station is a major train station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Just as a New Yorker would venture to Penn Station to take a train to the suburbs of Long Island or Northern New Jersey, Leopoldina Station is where a carioca would catch a train to Rio's suburbs. By calling this CD Suite Leopoldina, Brazilian guitarist Guinga is celebrating his Rio background. All of the tunes that Guinga wrote or co-wrote for this album, recorded in late 1998 and early 1999, have a strong Rio orientation. Whether he is playing samba or choro, whether he is embracing instrumental Brazilian jazz or jazz-influenced Brazilian pop, the guitarist is consistently Rio-minded on Suite Leopoldina. And it's important to emphasize the Rio connection because carioca music is distinctive; Guinga might admire the Brazilian pop and jazz sounds coming out of Salvador or São Paulo, but this ultra-melodic CD is distinctly Rio. That is true of the album's instrumentals as well as the tracks that feature vocalists, who include Alceu ValencaEd Motta, and the influential Ivan LinsGuinga's love of jazz is strong; he features harmonica player Toots Thielemans on two instrumentals ("Constance" and "Dos Anjos") and pays tribute to Charles Mingus on "Mingus Samba" (which features vocalist Lenine). Excellent from start to finish, Suite Leopoldina is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who treasures the Rio school of Brazilian jazz and pop.

Disc 1

And one, also worth reading, about Cheio de Dedos:


by Alvaro Neder
This is the third CD of Carioca dentist Guinga (Carlos Althier de Souza, 46) in his belated discography, which was awarded with three Sharp prizes. Intended to be a cultural chronicle of Rio de Janeiro, it has the genre choro as a glue for all the whole. Respecting the tradition and modernizing it at the same time, it brings a inventively crafted harmony together with angular melody lines directly descended from classical achievements of the 20th century. The sophisticated arrangements never compromise, offering a real obstacle for the average listener, harassed by easy listening these days. Paying tribute to distinguished musicians (who had always made the choro an important part of their lives),Jacob do Bandolim, Rafael Rabelo, and Villa-Lobos, from the 15 recorded tracks only two are sung: "Ária de Opereta," interpreted by funk singer Ed Motta in an expressive and heartfelt rendition, and "Impressionados," a choro that makes reference to the impressionist movement, delivered by Chico Buarque. The overall result is at the same time perfectionism and spontaneity: Guinga doesn't edit his songs after written. "Me Gusta A Lagosta" enriches the musical landscape with an Afro-Cuban rendition delivered by pianistChano Dominguez, string section Diapason, and percussionist Eladio Amat. Modern Brazilian popular music at it's best.

 Disc 2

Get'em both. You won't be sorry.


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