Genre: World, MPB, Brazilian, BPM, Bossa, Bossa nova, Samba
She lives close by Ipanema but she hails from Porto Alegre,capital of the southernmost state in Brazil that borders Argentina and Uruguay and is home to Gisele Budnchen and Ronaldinho. Whre there are scarcely any mulatas, only a timid carnaval, and hardly any one composing or playing samba. Adriana Calcanhotto was born there on October 3rd 1965 and grew up listening to the records that her father, a drummer, and her mother, a ballerina, played:Pink Floyd, Astor Piazolla, Joao Gilbrto and Miles Davis.But her nanny’s transitor radio was always on too,playing more popular music. Since the cradle she has enjoyed more than what is merely in good taste.
This would turn out to be an important factor twenty years later. At that moment, shortly after the end of a long military dictatorship,a new generation put rock and roll at the top of the charts, replacing MPB,Musica Popular Brasileira ,and threatening to replace MPB on the throne of good taste. Adriana appears with music based on MPB but open to two apparently opposed styles, the middle of the road and the the avant garde.
When, half a decade later, she moved to Rio de Janeiro her impressive capacity to ingest and absorb musical genres and to mix theater, music and visual art had already resulted in THIRTEEN different shows.She was an impressively mature artist for someeone whose career was only four years old. And as such was immediately signed to a major label and before her first record was released she appeared at the Monteux Jazz Festival along side Joao Gilberto.
Her first album was Enguico, a super production released in 1990 that set a pattern all her other records have followed by getting a song included in the soundtrack of the prime time novela, or soap opera , on the Rede Globo. Keep in mind that in Brazil these extremely popular soap operas dictate fashion and behavior, unifying a country the size of a continent.
This resulted in a tour of Brazil that lasts two years at the end of which she records the first record she truly controls herself: Senhas (Passwords).Hundreds more shows and the song Mentiras (Lies) at the top of the charts for months earn her a first gold record
Her songs begin to be recorded by Brazil’s leading interpreters and her shows in Argentina make her a star in that country as well. She could have settled into the role of the MPB’s young diva. But in 1994 she releases the daring and intellectually ambitious A Fabrica do Poema( The Poem Factory)
That CD began the practice of quoting from literary and artistic sources that continues to be a part of her work.. An interview with veteran Brazilian director Joaqium Pedro de Andrade becomes a song, as does a recording of Gertrude Stein with samples of Alban Berg. This delicate balance guides her next record, Maritimo (Maritime) t as well ,but does not keep it from going gold.
When the millenium is over Adriana does not have anything left to prove.Balanced between heady eruditon and love songs for soap operas she continued to perform constantly and sell steadily even when not at the top of the charts, something that had never really been a primary aim anyway for a singer averse to TV appearances and celebrity magazines.
But in 2000 her first live record Publico (Public), just voice and guitar, explodes.Thanks to one of those songs she learnd from her nanny, the ballad Devolva-me (Give It Back To Me ), Publico sells half a million copies and almost as many DVDs and the singer songwriter sails to unimagined heights of popularity and public scrutiny. Something that, let it be said, has destroyed the careers of many artists.
But , when the dust setttles in 2002 Adriana releases a record in line with her others and nothing like what the million new fans who first heard her singing Devolva-me were expecting. The CD, Cantada( Sung) shows her relation to an emerging music scene in Rio de Janeiro. In that same year she draws closer to the work of Vinicius de Moraes, diplomat and Brazilian poet who was one of the pillars of Bossa Nova, publishing his The Apprentice Poet with her illustrations. This is her first venture into the visual arts.
Two years later she releases a long planned project ,Adriana Partimpim,a record for children from her chilhood alter ego. At the same time she receives the prize for Latin Revelation from the Spanish Record Academy and plays in Italy for the first time . Her record for children even plays on the radio!
Her extremely original stage show for Adriana Partimpim is released as a DVD and as a CD and is awarded prizes such as the “Faz Diferenca” (Makes a Difference) prize from the Globo newspaper and the TIM prize for best children’s record.. She finishes off the year at the Saint Sebastian film festival in Spain wher she sings to celebrate the biographical film Vinicius about Vinicius de Moraes.
And when it seeems she must have run out of surprises she accepts an invitation to participate in an art show. The show, called Between Word and Image is a cross between an exhibition and a seminar and includes aritists from Brazil,Portugal and Spain. To which multi trans pan Adriana contributes a series of collages.
Actually not much of a stretch for this master of musical collage…