Album Review

Black Orpheus – “Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) ” – [Verve/Polygram]

Thurston Hunger   1/25/2007   CD, Soundtrack

Such an amazing film! I recently saw this and loved it on so many levels
including as a KFJC source for soundtrack. The city and the people in it
seem to pulsate in expectation of the impending Carnaval. Percussion
drives much of the frenzy, shaking dancers and houjouns alike. Meanwhile
music, and melody in particular, has magic powers…it makes the sun
rise…and the beauty of “O Nosso Amor” whether sung by a jubilant
chorus (as it is introduced on here in #4) or pumped out by accordian or
gracefully plucked on guitar, that beauty shines transcendent. This is
back when the Bossa really was Nova, 1959!! The recording here is a
little roughshod in parts, some sections seem like they are pulled right
off the click track of the film, others appear to be more extended jams
of the songs from the film. And at the end there is a later stylized
performance of some of the pieces from the film, but I strongly prefer
the older/original pieces. Big Brazilian names were a part of this
amazing movie, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa and Joao Gilberto back
when they weren’t so big. But what I cannot figure out is why Lourdes
de Oliveira did not beome a huge star?!? She plays the character aptly
named Mira, for it is impossible not to gaze at her…but she, as if
a myth herself, seems to have vanished. Fortunately this soundtrack
has not! So much of this is so stellar, the soul-stirring yelping of
“Scenes de la Macumba” is memorable. The cuica on “Batterie de Cappela”
rules too as that mounts, holy batucada Batman! But the prolonged
“O Nosso Amor” from the night of the carnival (#10) is nearly as great
as the dance scene that features it in the film. Stirs the essence
of life…

-Thurston Hunger

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