Poesia Musicada (Music Taste)

Fernando Gonzalez
  Fernando Gonzalez

Dori Caymmi Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter Dori Caymmi’s Poesia Musicada (Poetry to Music), is a moving, elegant tribute to one of the foremost composers of Brazilian popular music : his father, the great Dorival Caymmi. But what distinguishes Poesia Musicada is that, rather than simply reprise some of his father’s classics, Caymmi and his long time writing partner, lyricist and poet Paulo Cesar Pinheiro, pay their homage revisiting some of the themes, places and people that were at the heart of Dorival Caymmi’s work.
The 13 songs here, all originals by Caymmi and Pinheiro, address love in its many forms – all playing out with the backdrop of Bahia, the northeastern state in Brazil on the Atlantic coast that was Dorival’s birthplace and remained a profound and continuous source of inspiration for his music until his passing in 2008.

Tracks such as the opening "Marinheiragem," which plays the love of a sailor for woman against his love for the sea, the exquisite “Rede,” a poetic miniature built on sea imagery, could’ve been by the elder Caymmi himself. And the rest of the tracks – songs such as  “Estrela de Cinco Pontas,” “Velho do Mar,” “Canto Praieiro,”  “Dona Iemanja” – take their references from the sea, the beach, and the people and spirits that populate them.
Caymmi sings most of the songs simply accompanying himself on guitar. He has a rich, deep voice and an unassuming, almost conversational, delivery that draws you in. You don’t need to understand Portuguese to luxuriate in the storytelling.

Throughout the disc, the arranging includes touches of color --  perhaps a cavaquinho (a small four string, ukelele-like guitar), a melancholy accordion, some flutes and a brushstroke of strings. But there are no raise-the voice, look-at-me, moments. Rather, in Poesia Musicada, Caymmi makes a touching statement about the power of poetry and song. It’s a fitting celebration of his father’s legacy.


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- Fernando Gonzalez