HomeRecording Review: BeBossa Grupo Vocal

Jeeves's picture

Imagine walking into the Copacabana. The colors are bright and the air is light.  Everyone moves with a feathered step like they were walking on the air.  Smiles are passed around like martinis and daiquiris.  And the band – oh the band – the horns play a spicy rhythm with the basses walkin’ smoothly through the medley.  This smoke-filled room – this warm atmosphere – is what’s contained in BeBossa’s freshman album.  

BeBossa is a vocal sextet with a very sophisticated and contemporary sound.  They make Brazilian Pop music with jazz and blues influences.  The main characteristics of the CD are the mix of Brazilian rhythms and a jazzy harmony.  This CD celebrates the 50 years of Bossa Nova, a Brazilian musical movement combining jazz and samba.

Track 1 - Capim: The bass really reveals the soul of this song with his light and smooth standup-bass-like feel – just grooving with the flow of the medley.  The harmony in the upper vocals makes me wonder whether or not the girls are sisters and have been singing together all their lives.  With a rhythm you can dance to and a catchy melody, this song really moves.

Track 2 – Só Tinha de ser com você:  BeBossa takes it down a little with the second track.  That same soulful bass now accompanies a fantastic blend of harmony.  The song has its own pulse and is brought to life with BeBossa’s dynamic sound and tight voicing.

Track 3 – Falsa Baiana:
I love BeBossa’s use of percussion.  It really fits their style.  A little bass drum and a little closed high hat sprinkled throughout this track really helps to keep the song moving forward.  The words are spit very quickly but are clear as day.  Their diction and pronunciation really helps keep the percussive feel of the song.

Track 4 - Luiza: I was confused, at first, how this track fit in with the others.  But I realized how much this track shows off the pure talent – orally and aurally.  This track is filled with deliciously dense chord structures and a passionate flow.  A less rhythmic song than the rest, but with so much personality of its own, it’s hardly noticeable.

Track 5 - Folhetim:
It’s so hard to find groups like BeBossa that are so incredibly comfortable singing with each other that the music itself comes out sounding so completely effortless, and that it’s less about singing for them and more about listening to the harmonies.  I truly believe that our art that we call a cappella is less an art of the mouth and more one of the ears.  This track really has a sway, and the vocal artistry that BeBossa presents in this song shows off the ease of which they make their music.

Track 6 – Samba da pergunta:
Something that I think is very hard to do in arrangements, but that is shown off very well in this track, is how to keep the background interested(ing) without over balancing the necessity of a strong melody.  For instance, in choosing the syllables or words that the background sings, Zeca Rodrigues, the arranger and vocalist in BeBossa, chose to have them sing exactly what the melody sings, but percussively off-beat.  This interesting decision works well, creating an echo and rhythm that is very unique and, I would admit, hard to accomplish.  All in all, Zeca’s arrangements on this album are juicy and full of rich life.  I’m just sad the song is only a minute and a half long.

Track 7 - Passarim:  This is a great song to show off all the soloists in the group.  The track begins with a male soloist, switches to a different male soloist, then to a female, then back to a male.  If there’s one thing I love, its co-ed groups taking advantage of that thing that makes them different – having both sexes available for solos.  My only qualm with this track is the minor seventh that the song ends on.  Now, I’ve never heard the original song, so it might end on one too, but I think that the original chord before the change to the minor seventh was gorgeous and should have ended there.  But what’s one chord out of a whole song?

Track 8 – Saci (As lavaderias): The album here takes a little more of a poppy feel than the Copacabana feel as before.  I really like this change personally, not to put down Bossa Nova, but it’s good to hear these six fantastic voices fit into a different genre.  But even with a more pop feel, they incorporate plenty of those great harmonies that really define their sound.

Track 9 – Samba de verão:
Back to the Samba feel, BeBossa continues with a track that shows off all their soloists once again.  Their rhythm is really spectacular, switching cleanly from syncopation to triplets to silky connected phrases.  This group is very polished and the arrangements, as I’ve said before, are very well done.

Track 10 – Pra que discutir com madame: The last track is always such an important track.  It’s the last chance you have to really show off your stuff and leave your audience wanting more.  This track returns us to that jazzy samba feel when we first entered the Copa.  And yet, the song plays between a samba and a more classical feel.  Really, that’s what this song emblemizes – playfulness, which is really what this group is about, playing and having fun creating music.

To surmise, I was truly impressed by this group.  It’s unfortunate for me that I am missing half of the music, though, as all the lyrics are in Portuguese.  For me, however, if I were to choose between lyrics or music being more important, I’d say music.  Think of me as Hugh Grant from the move “Music and Lyrics.”  Sure, lyrics and help to give some basis for the song, but the music and the emotion, for me, are shaped through the melody and the chord structure.  BeBossa’s beautiful blend of voices and stylistic arrangements bridge that gap between what the words are saying and how the song feels.

Oscar Maciel
Saladesom Records / Mirabolante Editora
[55] [21] 2285-6318
[55] [21] 3010-4693



Very cool.  Thanks for this review!  My interest is piqued -- I'll have to pick this one up.

--Dave Brown

now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun

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