Singer Germano Mathias receives a well-earned tribute by exponents of Brazil’s MPB.
Arguably São Paulo’s samba most important representative still performing, Mathias, aka “Catedrático Do Samba”, defines his style as syncopated, and stresses that he picks tasty stories while choosing his songs. He is in currently his late 80ies, he began his career in the 1950s, in the Radio days, adding tap dance and the capoeira style tiririca.
The project’s name, #PartiuZePelintra refers to the persona Germano created for the stage. His attire, inspired by the Afroamerican Umbanda religion comprises a white Panama hat, leather shoes and a slim fit suit, bestowing the elegance that cativates but also empowers the musicians, making them respectable as maestros and erudite spallas. Not all of Germano’s work is familiar to even the generations who revere and appreciate him, especially among younger members. He has almost three hundred recorded songs!
Composer Manu Lafer, an avowed follower of Mathias’s musical lineage, encouraged by Zeca Baleiro, invited renowned MPB interpreters to record songs from Mathias vast repertoire. Lafer and Baleiro sing with Mathias on Malandro Não Vacila. Baleiro is also featured, along with Forró’s Queen Anastácia, on Serra Da Coirana. Lafer and the talented Hispanic Brazilian Irene Atienza sing together with Mathias on Porto Rico, one of the biggest hits of Caco Velho (1920-1971), a singer who was one of Germano’s main influences and to whom he paid homage on a tribute album.
Anastácia, from forró style, and Luiz Carlini, an exponent of the guitar in Brazilian rock, are examples of how an artist can be known for what he does in one genre – samba – while being recognized by stars of other genres. Here, we must also mention the accordion-playing representative of forró, Toninho Feragutti, and Neymar Dias, famous for his sertanejo roots music.
Gilberto Gil revealed Germano Mathias to a string of generations, through the LP Antologia do Samba De Breque. In a way, the speech-singing, the combination of percussive acoustic guitar and vocals through which Gilberto Gil explored the potential of Minha Nega Na Janela, comprise an epiphany comparable to the interpretation of João Gilberto (1931-2019) of Rosa Morena, by Dorival Caymmi (1914-2008). João Gilberto, by the way, and the whole revolution he kicked off, emerged only after Germano Mathias.
Gilberto Gil, produced by Bem Gil, interprets the song composed by Lafer for Mathias, Amigo De Garfo. Gil asked – euphemism for order – if Germano would sing in the album. The producers included Malandro De Araque, a piece Mathias had remembered just recently, after he having been asked about it by a shopkeeper.
Other illustrious guests enhance this tribute: Fafá De Belém, Mateus Aleluia, Leila Pinheiro, Zélia Duncan, Luiz Tatit, Ná Ozzetti, Maúcha Adnet (singing what some consider to be Germano’s biggest hit, Lata De Graxa), Verônica Ferriani and, specifically from the world of samba: Graça Braga, Mariana Bernardes, Fabiana Cozza, Carlinhos Vergueiro and Chico Médico.
Composers, in addition to Germano Mathias himself (Os Vidrados, Metamorfose, Seu Cochilo), include Rio de Janeiro’s icons of samba: Padeirinho Da Mangueira (1027-1987; Barra Pesada) and Zé Keti (1921-1999; Nega Dina and Regenerado), while Alagoan-born Jorge Costa (1922-1995) represents São Paulo (Requebrado Diferente). Swami Jr was the producer and arranger, with the supporting band counting with Luizinho, the seven-string guitar virtuoso, Douglas Alonso and Milton Mori, and participations.