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Brazilian Bossa Nova Classics

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Album Review

Though not as internationally well known as some of his peers, like Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, guitarist/vocalist/composer Carlos Lyra was also a major figure of the early bossa nova movement. This extremely value-priced, 33-track, 79-minute, single-CD compilation presents the entirety of his first two albums (1959's Bossa Nova and 1961's Carlos Lyra) in sequence, adding seven bonus tracks of interpretations of his compositions by other artists recorded between 1956 and 1960. If you like the work of Jobim and Gilberto, it's a good bet you'll like Lyra too, though he's not quite as distinctive. The music has a similar easygoing swing, with gentle, insistent guitar strumming (aided on Bossa Nova by second guitarist Baden Powell, a notable bossa nova artist in his own right), smooth crooned vocals, mellifluous jazzy backing, ornate orchestration that verges on easy listening, and those trademark bossa nova beats. From the first album, "Maria Ninguém" is a standout, with a melody highly reminiscent in spots of "Perfidia." The second album is pretty similar to the debut, if lighter on the pop orchestration. The bonus tracks of covers of songs Lyra wrote or co-wrote include performances by Sylvia Telles, Os Cariocas, Alaide Costa, João Gilberto, and Mariza, and are actually among the more interesting selections on the CD. Especially via the presence of some female leads and (from Os Cariocas) group singing, they provide some welcome variety.


Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most important artists of the bossa nova movement, Carlos Lyra was also an intellectual behind the movement, forging new directions like the protest song. Lyra wrote some of the best moments of the bossa nova on his own or together with illustrious partners like Vinícius de Moraes. With Roberto Menescal, Carlos Lyra created a guitar academy that became a meeting point for future artists like Edu Lobo, Marcos Valle, Nara Leão, and Ronaldo Bôscoli. In 1954, Geraldo Vandré interpreted his...
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Brazilian Bossa Nova Classics, Carlos Lyra
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