Rappcats is delighted to announce the Mr. Bongo reissue of Arthur Verocai’s self-titled album from 1972.
The definitive re-issue is an exact replica of the gatefold original LP, which now changes hands for thousands of dollars. The source master is taken from the original Continental tapes, re-mastered in 2012 under Arthur’s supervision.
“I could listen to the album everyday for the rest of my life” – Madlib.
In 1972 a repressive Brazilian military dictatorship frowned on artistic impression that might influence the youth of the country. However, producer, arranger and guitar player Verocai recorded and released a self-titled album on Brazilian-based Continental that challenged the musical conventions of the day. His subtle protest experimented with new musical directions, and used figurative language to sneak under the censorship radar.
Before his solo album, Verocai had produced the Ivan Lins 1971 album Agora, influenced heavily by the sound of North American soul, and had contributed string arrangements to Jorge Ben releases.
He says, “I also produced two albums by a singer named Célia for Continental and the president of the company was delighted with the results. He invited me to produce an album using my own compositions and I agreed as long as I was able to choose the musicians to perform with me. All the strings sessions featured 12 violins, 4 violas and 4 cellos, always with one or two percussionists. The idea of mixing strings with contemporary sounds came from my desire of searching for new paths. I think this album was very rich in terms of both quantity and quality of musicians.”
Musicians included Brazilian legends like Robertinho Silva, Pascoal Meireles, Luiz Alves, Paulo Moura, Edson Maciel, Oberdan Magalhães (Banda Black Rio), Nivaldo Ornelas (Milton Nascimento band) and Toninho Horta.
Arthur Verocai was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 17/6/1945. In 1966 Leny Andrade included his song “Olhando o Mar” (“Looking at the Sea”) on her We Are There album. Two years later Verocai participated in Musicanossa an event that brought together composers, musicians and singers in presentations to play live in the Santa Rosa Theater in Rio de Janeiro, for which he wrote his first arrangements.
By 1968 his main gig was working in Civil Engineering in Rio de Janeiro. He still managed to perform and participate as a composer at many of Brazils famous Festivals of Music. In 1969 Verocai began his professional career as musician and arranger. He scored the music for the theater show Is The Greater, and wrote his first arrangements for orchestra. He arranged records by Jorge Benjor, Elizeth Cardoso, Gal Costa, Quarteto em Cy, MPB 4, Célia, Guilherme Lamounier, Marcos Valle, and others. His music also appeared in the musical The Life of Braguinha, alongside Elizeth Cardoso, Quarteto em Cy, MPB4 and Sidney Magal. By 1970 he was writing for other groups and regularly composing music for multiple TV shows and incidental music for TV series.
Photos from the 1972 recording sessions, by Fernando Bergamaschi.
Vinyl rip of an earlier reissue on Youtube: