MUSIC ON MCB | PLAYLIST CURATED MCB: GUGA STROETER
Photo: Cheila Ferlin
The guest for the third edition of the “Curated MCB” playlist is musician, producer, cultural entrepreneur and writer Guga Stroeter, who worked – in 2010 – as one of the curators of the Música no MCB project, selecting artists for the evening performances “Quintas no Museum”.
The collection, personally organized by the artist, is like a “sound autobiography” that walks through his various projects and musical participations over more than 35 years of his career. The selection includes songs recorded with the Nouvelle Cuisine (a group formed by Stroeter in the 1980s), accompanying recordings with Brazilian Popular Music icons such as Caetano Veloso and Marisa Monte, as well as their most recent works.
In addition to “MCB Curatorship: Guga Stroeter”, other playlists are available on Museu da Casa Brasileira’s Spotify as: “MCB Curatorship: Maestro Júlio Medaglia”, “MCB Curatorship: Carmelita de Moraes”, “Music at MCB” – updated every three months – “The Brazilian house on the radio waves” – with popular songs from 1920 to 1950 – and thematic playlists of the “Casas do Sertão” project, carried out by MCB’s educational.
Click here and listen to the playlist now as you read the curator’s comments on the selection below.
PLAYLIST “CURATED MCB”, BY GUGA STROETER
This song is part of the album “Slow Food”, recorded in 1992 by our jazz quintet Nouvelle Cuisine. The composition is by the late singer Carlos Fernando and we were honored to have the participation of Gal Costa. This song is, in fact, a manifesto that proposes that the intangibility of music is an expression of freedom engaged in its own right, that is: to dare in structure is to change the world. Repeating poetic platitudes, even if they contain denunciation, does not increase awareness.
This version of the jazz classic was recorded in 1988 by our quintet Nouvelle Cuisine. I consider this arrangement a ‘case’ of ’80s postmodernism. Our version is actually a subtly strung compilation of various excerpts from other songs and recordings. The introduction is based on the Gayane Ballet Suite (Adagio), by the Armenian composer Khachaturyan (1903-1978). The clarinet solo is a retelling of Miles Davis’ improvisation and the final fermatas were taken from Sarah Vaughan’s recording.
In the early 1990s, our quintet Nouvelle Cuisine was invited to perform with the São Paulo Experimental Repertory Orchestra, conducted by conductor Jamil Maluf. This is the arrangement we prepared for the song All of You.
I composed this song when I was a teenager and created the lyrics for the recording of the album Free Bossa. Who sings is Estela Cassilatti.
I was president of a cultural exchange NGO between Brazil and Cuba for many years. During this period, I had the opportunity to “import” the Cuban singer Liena Centeno to spend some time in Brazil. We played shows and recorded an album focused on the Cuban repertoire of the 30s and 40s. I chose this song “Canto Índio” because of the incredible ingenuity of its melody.
This ancient Cuban song deals with a sacred herb in the Cuban “santeria”, which is the name of the religion of Yoruba origin of the orixás, which in Brazil corresponds to Candomblé. The arrangement evokes the exotic and sounds of the forest.
I re-recorded, with new arrangements quite far from the originals, the repertoire of songs that Jobim and Vinicius created for the LP Canção do Amor Demais, an album that was released in 1957, shortly before the explosion of the movement that came to be called “Bossa Nova”. The singer on this record is Rita Braga.
This song by Tom and Vinicius is also part of our album “Canção do Amor Demais”. I chose this track for this playlist because of the arrangement, which explores the timbre identities between piano and vibraphone.
I love this song that Duke Ellington, one of the great names in jazz, composed in 1930. In this arrangement, I play a vibraphone solo inspired by the trumpet improvisation that Ellington’s band recorded in 1957.
In 1964, Ellington’s big band recorded an explosive version of the song I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good. I wondered how the same lines in this arrangement would sound, but played in a minimalist way, very smooth and with only five instruments; exactly the opposite of Ellington’s interpretive concept. So, this arrangement that we recorded in 2010 was created. I really liked the result.
My daughter Dora demonstrated vocal and musical aptitude in childhood. For our family enjoyment, I recorded an album by our HB Orchestra accompanying Dora, who, in 2012, was nine years old. Today, 2021, she is eighteen years old and continues to compose and sing. And the Dendê cat, honored in this song, remains firm and strong sleeping on the living room sofa.
In the late 90s, I met Mestre Sapopemba, an Alagoas native who worked as a truck driver and demonstrated a prodigious knowledge of Brazilian folk music and all its traditional and religious manifestations. We recorded an album with our orchestra about the repertoire proposed by Sapopemba. This track “São Benedito” is part of a congado.
We transformed a concert music composition by Villa Lobos into a very cool Afro-Brazilian!
This composition by Jacob do Mandolim is fantastic! It mixes choro and beop, and arranger Dino Barioni adapted this classic for our HB Orchestra. I was happy with the result of the recording and put it as an instrumental track on my mother’s album, “Zulma e Família Stroeter – 92 Anos de Amor”.
Once, my Vivianne Rodrigues asked me what was the saddest song in the world and I replied, without hesitation: “As Três Lágrimas de Ary Barroso!”. Ary and Caymmi are my two favorite songwriters and I decided to record this song on our family album. The problem was that no one was willing to sing this track. That’s for me… But I’m not a singer! I never was and I don’t intend to be! So I relied on technology without pity. I sang it my way, all out of tune and then blatantly corrected every note on the studio computer. And let’s go ahead!
We consider Milton Nascimento part of our family, mainly in the affectionate relationship he had with my mother. My father passed away in 2009 and I decided to record my mother’s first album (who had been a children’s singer in the 1930s) when she was 86 years old. It was beautiful! And “Bituca” (Milton Nascimento) recorded as a duet this beautiful bolero that my mother dedicated to my father.
João de Barro and Noel Rosa created a masterpiece of lyricism in this ranch march! It’s a touching beauty! So I decided to record in a seresta movement, sung by my mother Zulma and my daughter Dora.
Mestre Sapopemba teamed up with percussionist Ari Colares and guitarist and arranger Dino Barioni to work on the Agô project, which I conceived when I was president of the NGO Sambatá, which promoted cultural exchange between Brazil and Cuba. I had the idea of bringing together Ogans from Brazil and Cuba, as the Yoruba religion of the orixás resists in both countries. We recorded this track in the studio of Pablo Milanes, in Havana, and we had the participation of Teresa Polledo, singer of the Cuban folk ballet.
On the album Agô we recorded this dense and tense track composed and arranged by Dino Barioni.
I have been friends with the singer Patricia Secchis for untold decades. We recorded an album of copyrighted salsas. Compositions by Patricia and Cuban pianist Pepe Cisneros. I took care of the production and gave a hint to several lyrics. I like all the tracks on this record, but I chose this salsa/timba for the playlist because it has an optimistic chorus, to help us get through these difficult times: “Don’t get bored and learn from this page turned… Because this life doesn’t take anything” .
In Bahia, watching the Cortejo Afro block, I met the singer Aloísio Menezes and I was impressed with the quality of his voice and interpretation. I invited him to come to São Paulo to play shows with our orchestra and record the Xirê Reverb album. This track is dedicated to the beautiful and vain Oxum.
I consider Ibi Alujá one of the most interesting tracks on the Xirê Reverb album. Much because of the musical procedure I adopted to format this song. Let me explain: most of the time, the use of electronics in popular music happens with the electronic drums keeping a regular beat. In Ibi Alujá, we inverted this parameter. There are three drums used in Candomblé: rum, rumpi and lé. Rumpi and lé are the sharpest drums and make complex but repeated figures. It’s up to the rum to create the variations. When editing and mixing this song, we transformed the rum beats into an electronic bass drum, which gave this touch unprecedented movement. At the end of this track, as is common in songs for Xangô, the percussion accelerated until it ended in a climax.
Years ago, our HB Orchestra performed at SESC and we had as a special guest Nei Lopes, who, in addition to being a great samba dancer, is one of the greatest connoisseurs of African culture in Brazil (he has already published 43 books on the subject). We became friends and decided to carry out a project together. Then came Nei’s idea of joining a big band to record some good compositions from the backyard pagoda. I confess that at first I found this plan a little strange, because in my head pagode was the commercial samba of the 90s… Nothing against it! But I wondered if this repertoire would have ideal substance for the elaboration of orchestral arrangements. It was then that Nei opened my mind, showing me the pagoda that happened on Wednesday nights under the tamarind tree of the Cacique de Ramos block, in the Rio neighborhood of Olaria. Only then did I realize the harmonic, melodic and poetic richness of the creations of Arlindo Cruz, Sombinha, Almir Guineto and company. I started to agree with Nei, considering this repertoire one of the most creative in Brazilian music at that time. I organized the production and played the vibraphone. Dino Barioni wrote the arrangements, the amazing big band Projeto Coisa Fina played and recorded all the tracks and Nei sang. So, we re-dressed the pagoda and the result became a source of pride for all of us. We released the album in the pandemic period of 2020.
This is my favorite pagoda! I really enjoy the harmonic resolutions and the sublime and romantic chorus of this composition… That’s why it’s in this playlist. This is the closing track of the album “Nei Lopes, Guga Stroeter and Projeto Coisa Fina no PAGODE BLACK TIE”.
Our Orquestra HB gained notoriety by participating in the musical Emoções Baratas by José Possi Neto, where we played our research on the work of Duke Ellington in a contemporary theater and dance show. One of the main moments of the musical happened when the composition Brasilliance exploded with a complex and trance-filled choreography.
In 2019, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis was in São Paulo and placed Brasilliance in the repertoire of his shows. It was then that I told him the story of this composition, which is recorded in one of Ellington’s biographies. Here’s the thing: Duke Ellington came to play in São Paulo in 1968, and on his way to the Municipal Theater he faced a traffic jam of VW Beetles that honked incessantly! Inspired by this sound, he composed this baião that he recorded on his album “Latin American Suite”.
In the year 2002 I joined the undergraduate course in Communication of the Arts of the Body at PUC São Paulo (Theater/Performance). In this course, I was a student of Lucio Agra, who in addition to being a professor in art history is also a drummer. Chatting in the hallways, he came up with the idea of transforming the songs of the pioneering German electronic music group Kraftwerk into sambas, baião and marchinhas. In 2019, we carried out this project by releasing the album Carnawerk, and Metal no Metal is one of the tracks in this fun and surprising work.
The jazz quintet Nouvelle Cuisine emerged in 1987 from informal meetings that took place on weekends between teenage friends. Already in the first presentations, we were contacted by the record label WEA. At the same time, in Rio de Janeiro came the singer Marisa Monte, produced by Nelson Motta. A characteristic of Marisa’s early career was the fact that she didn’t have a record, that is, you could only get to know her by watching her performances live. It was then that we invited Marisa to perform with us at a Masp show, where we added Nouvelle to a string quartet to interpret the aria Bess You Is My Woman Now from the opera Porgy and Bess, by Gershwin. It was a very successful experience, and Marisa Monte kindly reciprocated by inviting us to participate in her first album.
José Mauricio Machline is, for our happiness, one of the great enthusiasts and patrons of Brazilian music, and in the early 90’s he decided to produce an album with the late Cauby Peixoto interpreting Sinatra’s repertoire. In each track, Cauby shared the vocals with great figures of Brazilian music: Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Zizi Possi, Daniela Mercury, Ney Matogrosso… It was up to us, from Orquestra HB, to produce and record the arrangements. An honor! I especially like the arrangement that our trombonist Matias Capovilla wrote for Cheek To Cheek, all inspired by the traditional Cuban danzon “Almendra”. In this track, we have the special participation of Caetano Veloso.
In 2003, I decided to expand the sounds of the HB Orchestra, including electronic music resources. For this I created the HB Tronix group. We recorded an album produced by Arto Lindsay and Berna Ceppas. The album was well received and opened the door for us to be invited to participate in the year of Brazil in France, in 2005.
I really like HB Tronix’s first record called “The Boys From Ipanema” because it’s an album that has interesting rhythmic mixes. But the performance of this album on the dancefloor frustrated me a little, as it wasn’t exactly danceable. So we left to record a second album, all based on house music beats. We mix electronic drums with various acoustic instruments: bass, vibraphone, piano and percussion.
The Museu da Casa Brasileira, an institution of the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo, has been dedicated, for 51 years, to the preservation and dissemination of the material culture of the Brazilian house, being the only museum in the country specialized in architecture and design . The MCB’s program includes temporary and long-term exhibitions, with an agenda that also includes educational service activities, debates, lectures and publications contextualizing the museum’s vocation for the formation of critical thinking on themes such as architecture, urbanism, housing, economy creative, urban mobility and sustainability. Among its numerous initiatives, the MCB Design Award, the main award in the segment in the country, held since 1986, stand out; and the Casas do Brasil project, to rescue and preserve the memory of the rich diversity of living in the country.
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