Review Joyce – Rio


People say that good things in life come in threes. I have to agree. From the simple triumvirates such as toast, jam and butter to the amusing ones like the mountains, the sun and the sea. It seems in music it works perfectly too. Especially when the elements are a stunning velvety voice, beautiful Brazilian bossa/jazz rhythms and intelligent lyrics.

The album Rio, by Joyce Moreno, emphasises the theory: an impeccable ode to the most beautiful city in the world, in which one of the greatest voices of Brazilian music sings unique versions of our [Rio’s] classic songs.

And if there is someone with the gravitas and experience to record these songs, that person is Joyce herself. The journalist, singer, songwriter, guitarist and one of the most respected Brazilian artists around the world recorded her debut album in 1968, a record with arrangements of Dorival Caymmi and introductory text written by Vinicius de Moraes on the back cover.

Her music, also blessed with the collaboration of great artists such as Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso among others, conquered the world in the late 80s, when her international career led her in new directions and songs like “Aldeia de Ogum” and “Feminina” became hits abroad.

As a genuine carioca, Joyce always had her own hometown present in her songs and when she was invited, in 2010, to a solo performance on Ipanema Beach, the memories of growing up on that stretch of beach combined with the sea of people singing along with “Cidade Maravilhosa”, made her carioca roots surge again.

“This CD was born when the sun sank behind the Dois Irmãos hill, and the crowd applauded as we had done so many years ago. A crowd that applauds a simple sunset must be very traditional. Rio – the mountain, the sun and the sea – is where I make my samba simple”, she said.

From “Adeus América”, a samba recorded by the group Os Cariocas, in the year of her birth (1948) to “Tardes Cariocas/See you in Rio”, the 15 tracks on Rio are a true invitation to celebrate the mountains, sun and sea and whatever else your imagination allows.

A complete (musical) tour guide for those who miss the city or have ever been there. All you need to do is follow track by track, to understand how these three words, Rio de Janeiro, are fascinating and inspiring. Like the second and third tracks: “O Mar” and “Manhã no Posto Seis” that introduce us to the inspiring Copabacana and Ipanema Beaches. Or “Vela no Breu”, “Puro Ouro”, “Desde que o Samba é Samba” and “Valsa de uma Cidade”, which highlight important aspects of carioca life.

Highlight of the album, “As Mariposas/Com que Roupa”, is the moment when Rio meets São Paulo – sister cities – and both are contemplated in the words of Adoniran Barbosa and Noel Rosa, delivered by Joyce’s voice. Noel Rosa is also remembered in the next one, “Feitio de Oração”.

While “Rio Meu” and “Viva Meu Samba” are her own compositions chosen to illustrate why samba, Rio and Joyce are one of the most successful combinations of our music, “Mascarada” and “Samba do Carioca” prepare us for the city’s most important anthem, “Cidade Maravilhosa”.

The last words of the song “See you in Rio”: “and just in case you ever come to Rio. Well, I hope to see you soon, for a beer or two” just confirm what I said in the beginning of this text: Not two but three beers, because the good things in life come always in three!

Rio is released by Far Out Recordings and is available to buy from Amazon and iTunes

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