I love Brazilian music! I use to name my cats after Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes. There was “Dinde” and “Triste,” both beauties that would have made Jobim proud. Besides listening to Brazilian music late at night I also love to listen to it on Sunday mornings with the windows open, sipping my first cup of strong freshly brewed coffee, while reading the Sunday paper. Having been a vocalist, I can’t listen to lyrics I can understand and read at the same time. I’m not saying all vocalists or former vocalists aren’t able to do this, but in particular this one has not yet mastered that skill. I need to either put on classical music orchestral only, instrumental anything usually jazz, or someone singing in a language I can’t understand.
To me there is almost nothing sweeter than the sounds and rhythms from Brazil. Hearing Portuguese sung in their own unique accent is music to my ears. And to me one of the sweetest voices to come from Brazil would have to be the famous falsetto voice of Milton Nascimento who started his career at the age of 13 and has gone on to become a Brazilian legend in both his country and around the world.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Nascimento’s mother was a maid. She died when he was only one and a half. The people with whom she had previously worked adopted the young child. When he was two, the family moved to Tres Pontas in the state of Minas Gerais. In his teens he started a band called “Lunar de Prata” with Wagner Tiso with whom he would continue to play into adulthood. While living in Tres Pontas, Nascimento also had a stint as a local DJ. Moving to the town of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, to study economics, Nascimento made the acquaintance of many musicians who would play a pivotal role in Nascimento’s musical life as he would in theirs. He helped bring to the forefront not only Wagner Tiso, but also Marcio Borges, his brother Lo Borges, and Fernando Brant, who co-wrote the song “Travessia,” that I have linked below for you.
Before his much widespread international acclaim there was a time in the 70’s when Milton Nascimento’s music was censored by the military regime in Brazil. It was during this time that Nascimento made his way to the states and made albums with well-respected jazz artists such as Airto Moreira, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. And it was his album with jazz great Wayne Shorter, “Native Dancer” in 1974, that eventually created his international breakthrough. After this Milton Nascimento caught the eye of other top musicians, producers, and arrangers, like Quincy Jones, George Duke, Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Peter Gabriel, and even Duran Duran with whom in the 90’s he co-wrote the song “Breath After Breath,” which was featured on the bands album of the same name “Duran Duran.” He also performed with the band.
Having influenced generations of musicians both in Brazil and abroad, I hope you will enjoy the sounds and voice of an all-time Brazilian favorite of mine, Milton Nascimento. If you do, consider buying one of his many albums. They are all good, but one of my favorites is the album “Yauarete,” recorded by the artist in the late 80’s.
Below is a link to a live performance of Milton Nascimento singing and playing one of the first songs he ever recorded “Travessia.” It’s really beautiful! To listen either click on the link of cut and paste it into your browser.