Fernanda Porto
  An Improved Sound (Um som melhorado)

Giramundo - album reviews
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Fernanda Porto se separa do modismo drum'n'bass
Folha de São Paulo

Fernanda Porto

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Texto de Koellreutter sobre o CD Demo que virou o primeiro CD "Fernanda Porto"

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An Improved Sound (Um som melhorado)
http://musicabrasileira.org: 01.02.05
Kees Schoof

(...) "Fernanda Porto não é somente uma vocalista talentosa; ela também é elogiada como saxofonista, junto com um talento para tocar diferentes instrumentos." (...)

This is Fernanda Porto's second solo release. After the 105,000 copies selling drum'n'bass influenced Fernanda Porto, the talented multi-instrumentalist is taking her music one step further. Where on the first album the drum'n'bass formed the basis for the music, on Giramundo an occasional drum'n'bass soundscape supports the compositions.

Fernanda Porto (1968; Serra Negra, São Paulo) is a multi talented artist. While studying international composition at the Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo ( ECA-USP), Fernanda developed an interest in the music of the pioneer of electronic music, Edgar Varèse (Paris 1883 - New York 1965) and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (Mödrath, Germany, 1928). She might have inherited her self-willed approach to music from them. It was the start of an interesting journey through music. Fernanda Porto is not only a gifted vocalist; she's also praised as a saxophonist, along with a skill to play many different instruments. Her first serious project found her in the company of the late sound wizard Suba, Conexão MIDI in 1993. Since then her fame started to rise and Fernanda was invited on various projects. It was only a matter of time before she released her first solo album (2002). It was received with a careful praise.

On Giramundo, Fernanda fully lives up to those careful expectations. The album is a giant step forward. The decision to record most of the tracks with the same group of musicians was a good one. Picking out those musicians was done with the utmost accuracy. With this album the road to international success might be cleared. The renowned rhythm tandem from the band Living Colour, Will Calhoun (drums) and Doug Wimbish (bass), was invited after Fernanda met them while they were touring through Brazil. They saw the challenge and seized the opportunity without diffidence. Their participation maybe makes the disc sound less Brazilian, but the compositions and the performance definitely link the album to Brazil. Guitarist Ulisses Rocha (Rio, 1960) does a terrific job with that. Brazil's musical icon CesarCamargo Mariano adds keyboards, often a playful organ. Fernando Moraes and Marcio Forte are the perfect percussionists for this music.

On the opening track "Giramundo," Moraes accompanies Fernanda very accurately. Fernanda Porto plays all other instruments, like she did on her first album. The next track surprisingly features Chico Buarque, a less obvious name to encounter on an album like this. He's a guest in his own composition "Roda Viva," which gets a pleasant drum'n'bass arrangement. Unfortunately the song gets bogged down into a too much repeated theme line. Then the album really starts. A catchy reggae "Da Graça" followed by the up-tempo smash "Bola," about Fernanda's passion for soccer, the game she used to play during her childhood with the boys on the streets. Two beautiful ballads follow. "Outra Margem do Rio" sounds very delicate, especially when Fernanda plays the soprano saxophone, clearly referring to the great Wayne Shorter. The music is written around a poem by Martha Medeiros (a poet from Porto Alegre). The ballads are followed by two pure rock tunes, among which "Pensamento 4," which Fernanda wrote on a poem by Arnaldo Antunes. "Mundo Cane" is the highlight of this album. The composition, again written in function of a poem (by Chacal, from Rio), is built to a climax that features Ulisses Rocha, solidly supported by Japanese percussion (taiko drums) and Fernanda's acoustic piano . It is followed by the most beautiful track on the album, "Sólida Pedra." This song about the delicacy of love is performed with the most possible sensitivity, underlined by the brushes from Calhoun. A touching piano solo (Mariano) and the soprano sax again reminds of the sound of Wayne Shorter, who clearly influenced Fernanda Porto in her talent on the soprano sax. The next set of compositions is made to dance. The organ on "Estrela Pop" is delightful and invites to dance, along with the funky rhythm. "Ninguém Manda" is a pleasant up-tempo contemporary samba. The song is followed by a rock'n'roll influenced "Tempo Pifa," where Fernanda's alto sax refers to that era of music. The album closes with a ballad on which Fernanda accompanies herself on the acoustic piano. A beautiful and intimate love song. Well chosen to close the album with, because it leaves the listener with the feeling to listen to those beautiful ballads on the album all over again.

This is a promising successor of Fernanda Porto's self-titled debut album. It has not been released internationally yet, but that seems to be only a matter of time, because Giramundo certainly has the qualities to gain international interest.