Silvana Malta
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"Outstanding CD from Silvana Malta"

Silvana Malta
Be Bossa
CD (Stunt Records/Sundance)

Outstanding CD from Silvana Malta, who while residing in Denmark continues to record Brazilian music at a high, international level.

When Silvana Malta released Céu De Brasília in 2005 together with celebrities such as Airto and Toninho Horta, she made world-musical history in Denmark. Yours truly found it by far to be the album of the year. Now she is in the process of outdoing that feat with this mature salute to Bossa Nova. With this album, Malta has taken on a number of the more well-known tunes from composers such as Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo and Jobim. And she does it wonderfully, not at the least by virtue of a sublime orchestra, headed up by producer/bass player Rodolfo Stroeter, known for producing Gilberto Gil, among others.
The scoop on this album is partly the partially Danish band, where Jonas Johanses drums are formidable, not in the least his use of whiskers in for instance Jobim’s Bonita, where pianist Steen Rasmussen also strikes perfect tones. Likewise, Stroeter and the amazing guitarist Diego Figueiredo not only represent the Brazilian mood, but also keep it up to date. And Rodolfo Stroeter’s producing nurses Silvana Malta’s voice which is filled with familiarity and plenty of time to relish the moment and find ones way to the soul.
There is a wonderful intimacy in every stanza, and Silvana Malta simply sings beautifully.
Be Bossa is a sublime album.

By Torben Holleufer
Gaffa Music Magazine
- GAFFA, Denmark


"Sublime guitar and groovy bossa nova"

POLITIKEN
Silvana Malta – Be Bossa
Copenhagen Jazz House, July 6

Sublime guitar and groovy bossa nova
Silvana Malta and her much more than rock steady Be Bossa created an authentic Brazilian atmosphere at Copenhagen Jazz House. And the band’s 26-year old guitar genius forced the audience to complete surrender.

By Henrik Palle

Bossa nova was born in Brazil 50 years ago, amply helped along by composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyricist Vinicius de Morae and vocalist and guitarist Joao Gilberto.

Bossa nova translates as ‘the new fashion’, which should mean, that now – half a century later – it is old hat.

This is far from true, and Sunday’s concert with Brazilian-born Danish resident Silvana Malta and a super-swinging Danish/Brazilian orchestra served to confirm that bossa is still very modern indeed.

A fragile kiss
The two and a half hour tour de force was not an attempt to blow life into a musical museum piece. It was a celebration of joyful and sensual music, untouched by passing time, because when it works, it is a fulfillment of the moment; down-to-earth, yet fragile as a kiss.

The orchestra backing Silvana Malta was the same as on last year’s extremely successful CD ‘Be Bossa’, produced by Brazilian bassist Rodolfo Stroeter, who also performed on the album. Steen Rasmussen was at the piano, Jonas Johansen behind the drums, and the percussionist was the accomplished rhythm illustrator Afonso Correa.

Amazing guitarist
But the evening’s big surprise was 26-year old guitar virtuoso Diego Figueiredo, an instrumentalist in a class all his own.
Although he continually demonstrated a technique on a par with Art Tatum’s piano playing, it never appeared as mere swank or power display.

To the contrary: He joined his fellow musicians in organic interplay while offering breathtaking poetic excursions across his guitar strings, groovy blocks of chords, and humorous arabesques. Free-spirited and elegant bossa guitar of this caliber is not everyday fare. At times it was like witnessing a sound magician.

Tropical flower Figueiredo inspired the other musicians on stage. Not least Silvana Malta, who worked her way up from a slightly faltering start, to become a tropical flower in a repertoire of classic Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes as well as modern songs in the genre, written by Airto Moreira (with whom she collaborated on her CD ‘Ceu de Brasilia’ from 2005), the band’s pianist Steen Rasmussen, and others.

She sang with rare presence and warmth.

Despite his jetlag, Rodolfo Stroeter proved an extremely inspirational acquaintance. Combining a classic swing with an innovative musical approach, his bass added a modern edge to a tradition-conscious interpretation of bossa nova on top of a rock-solid and swinging foundation created by the rest of the rhythm section.

Wonderful evening
The band members live on different continents, so they do not have the opportunity to practice together very often. However, their playful improvisations made the very best of this disadvantage, with the rare exception of a few obvious mistakes, which we happily accepted on an evening when Copenhagen Jazz House turned into a Brazilian bossa nova bar.

A wonderful evening.


- Politiken, Denmark July 2008


"Silvana Malta/Be Bossa"

Silvana Malta / Be Bossa
Jazz Special Magazine

This is a singer who has found herself, and who now has to be recognized as more than a great talent. We have been fond of Silvana Malta, who after all lives in Copenhagen, for some years now, both recorded and live, but with her new release, she takes the necessary steps towards herself and towards the Brazilian music culture. According to the detailed material accompanied with the album, it has taken much consideration and some friendly shoves in the right direction from Rodolfo Stroeter, who plays bass and produces, in order to “dare” to take on Jobim, Edu Lobo, Haroldo Barbosa – not their most “worn out” songs, but the songs which meant something to her and to so many other Brazilians back then. A true musical treasure chest of gentle, longing, soft and melodious expressions sneak up on the listener.
The special ‘blue’ phrasing which allows you, without understanding Portuguese, to feel the wondering, desire and smile of the heart, much like what Ellis Regina gave us years ago, is now Silvana Malta’s own expression. With the five Danish and Brazilian musicians in both very loose and very tight accompaniment, the tones and rhythms change effortlessly, exactly as titillating as they should. Yes, precisely titillating.

‘Adeus America’ is a cheerful song, where the percussions dance for Silvana, and in Jobim’s ‘Retrato Em Branco E Preto’, a subtropical wind of colors are stretched out underneath the singers intimate words by the modest rhythm of the guitar. Masterful. Just like the intimacy of the production.
In one song, bassoonist Steen Hansen lets loose in a welcome, virile and masculine solo, reminding us that not all is submission of love’s wild ways. But then we get to a divinely beautiful version of Jobim’s slow love song ‘Eu te Amo’ and melt from this exclusive femininity. Wow!

It is time to be captivated by Bossa again – as some of us were in the 60’s – time for festive thoughtfulness, while longing for one more trip to Belo Horizonte, or one of the more quiet beaches. Preferably with Ms. Malta. And with Afonso Correa, the fabulous noise maker, in the background.
One objection though: It is possible to guess and visualize what the 11 songs are about, and that is in itself a luxury challenge, but I would like some translated lyric quotes as sort of phrase book.

Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen


STUCD 07082 SM(voc) Diego Figuerido(g), Steen Rasmussen(p), Rodolfo Stroeter(b), Alfonso Correa (perc), Jonas Johansen(dr) Steen Hansen (trb). Denmark 2007.

- Jazz Special Magazine


Discography

Selected discography:
1987 Hermeto Pascoal: Só Não Toca Não Quer
1987 Toninho Horta: Diamond Land
1997 Silvana Malta Group: Back To Brazil
2001 Silvana Malta Group: Cravo E Canele
2003 Silvana Malta and The Danish Radio Big Band: Flor De Verão
2004 Silvana Malta and Frans Bak: Bossa Nuts
2004 Silvana Malta Group: Insensatez
2005 Silvana Malta feat. Airto Moreira & Toninho Horta: Céu De Brasilia
2007 Silvana Malta: Be Bossa

Photos

Bio

Silvana Malta’s musical career began in Minas Gerais in the southeastern
Brazil close to Rio and São Paulo. Her earliest influences
came from her musical family, and from her mother in particular. Her
childhood home was full of instruments, but of the seven children,
Silvana alone broke away from the middleclass standards to pursue
a career in music. Although she has no formal musical education,
Silvana learned the guitar at an early age by copying her older sisters,
and comments that she has always sung. Her family would have liked
her to seek another road in life, but her desire to express herself
through music was irrepressible.
“I received my musical education at concerts and cafés and through
recordings. My mother didn’t want me to become a musician. I think
she had heard too many stories about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!”
Silvana began performing publicly with her sisters when she was 17.
They sang at weddings, private parties, in small cafés, and as backing
vocalists at recording sessions. Their repertoire was based on the
popular Brazilian music of the day. When Silvana started her first band
at 21, she soon gained a local reputation playing cafés and concerts
at small theatre venues. Silvana began hanging out with the “real”
musicians and composers based around the guitarist Toninho Horta
and Milton Nascimento.
“To this day I have no idea how I got the courage - and a tune that
starts out with an improvisation. And I was the one who had to
improvise.”
In 1987 her career reached a turning point, when she met the master
Hermeto Pascoal incidentally at one of his concerts. On impulse, he
invited Silvana on stage to sing with the band. She had never met him
or his musicians before and declined the offer, but Hermeto persisted,
taunting her by asking if she wasn’t a real musician - couldn’t she
vouch for her music? After the break she went on stage. The following
day she was invited to join them for another concert, and the day
after that she recorded with them. Henceforth Silvana became
Pascoal’s vocalist at festivals and large concerts all over Brazil, while
also performing with Toninho Horta’s popular group.
“Pascoal was extremely important in my life. It was as if everything
else lost its meaning subsequently. It was impossible to imagine
music after that.”
Toninho Horta and Hermeto Pascoal are equally fascinating
personalities, each in his own right. Hermeto is the eclectic
experimenter, while Toninho is sophisticated and jazzy. Two opposite
poles in Brazilian music, they both stand for the highest quality.
These two opposites made a deep impression on Silvana over the
following years. At this time her life was intense with dramatic musical
development, lots of work, and a steady focus on her as a vocalist.
She felt torn between two charismatic musical personalities and the
rest of the world of music.
“I was accustomed to hard work, recording studios and concerts,
but in New York the circles evolved around small gigs in small
restaurants. People suggested that I become more aggressive - all
that mattered was making it, the music was secondary.”
Hermeto and Toninho both encouraged Silvana to find her own artistic
footing, and not to keep performing with their own or other bands
indefinitely. She decided to follow their advice. In a burst of travel
fever and longing for new challenges and impressions, she moved to
New York, and stayed there for the next four years. She earned a living
for her daughter and herself as a vocalist in different constellations
performing mainly stereotypical Brazilian music. She also started a
group of her own, which died quickly, quietly, and with no taste of
commercial success. This was not the life Silvana had dreamed of. Her
goals reached higher.
“The audiences in Brazil are critical. No matter how wonderful or
technically superior you sing, they are unbending if you don’t have
anything to say - they will tell you straight off, if its no good.”
Silvana Malta married a Dane and continued her career in Denmark,
which was fairly virgin ground for Brazilian music. In her new home
Silvana had to start from the bottom, but the Danish environment
allowed her to follow her own artistic inclinations, resulting in four
CDs with her own band, one as featured soloist with the world famous
Danish Radio Big Band, and a collaboration with the Danish pianist
and arranger Frans Bak.
“Music is a universal language. It knows no national borders if it is
genuine.”
All through her Danish years, Silvana Malta has led her own band
consisting of the best interpreters of Brazilian music in this part of the
world. She tours all over Europe, and has reached full circle: Silvana
now leads a band featuring some of the Brazilian musicians she
worked for in her youth in Brazil. Toninho Horta and percussionist Airto
Moreira join her on her new release CÉU DE BRASILIA. The album has
received rave reviews from the Danish crit