on 28 November 2000
Rose and Charcoal is surely Marisa Monte's most rounded album to date. It is a rich programme of songs, beautifully arranged and exquisitely produced by Arto Lindsay. The album opens with the curiously bitonal Maria de Verdade, the first of three tracks written by Carlinhos Brown, who also contributes the infectious anthem, Segue O Seco, translated in the booklet as "The Draught Goes On", rather that drought.
There are also the customary nods to the past, and her influences, reinterpreted with originality and sensitivity. Among these, the velvet Underground's Pale Blues Eyes sounds sweetly acclimatized by means of the nylon-strung Spanish guitar. This is followed by Paulinho da Viola's Danca da Solidao, deeply enriched by Ned Rosenberg's bass clarinet.
Marisa's own compositions, however, don't pale in this company, indeed they even stand out. De Mais Ninguem matches anything on the album for depth and originality, while Bem Leve seems to encompass the whole of Monte's Tropicalia/MPB roots with deft subtlety.
The album features a suitably eclectic all-star cast, from Tropicalia veterans Gilberto Gil and Paulinho da Viola to the diverse American representation of Bernie Worrell, Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass. If you only ever buy one Marisa Monte album, make it this one, followed shortly A Great Noise and then everything else. Once bitten... Monte's voice and delivery cover the widest range of social and spiritual criteria of anyone of her generation - Brazil's greatest.
on 19 April 2006
Ah, truth be told: I picked this up in the remaindered bin in a shop about 10 years ago. Just on a whim. (Well, for two quid you couldn't really go wrong, could you?)
Marisa Monte is just wonderful. She has a beautiful voice; she sings evocative latin jazz/pop. Turns out that she's absolutely HUGE in Latin America. Kind of like Madonna, but with real musical talent. Speak to anybody who has lived in Brazil, or Portugal, or who speaks Portuguese. Like as not they'll go on about Marisa Monte all night.
If you like latin rhythms to your music, with interesting musical harmonies, and female vocalists, then this is for you.
"Quando vem rompendo gia, eu me levant comec logo cantar. . ."