Once in a while an album lands in your hands and makes you wonder why more people do not take notice of it. Whether with its artful liner notes, the smooth singer’s voice and precise articulation or the lyricism and melodiousness of crafty songs, the album causes you to play it over and over and relish each new discovery. It is a surprising gift that keeps on giving and never loses its appeal.
— Music critic Egídio Leitao on Brazilian singer-songwriter Túlio Borges
Poke my unpokeable heart (2017)

Poke my unpokeable heart (2017)

 


Leading figures such as Luiz Gonzaga, Jackson do Pandeiro, and repente improvisers such as the Batista and Pinto do Monteiro brothers were key in the acknowledgement of the Northeastern music within Brazilian popular music. These are names that still inspire disciples of such a vast culture, artists who permeate our musical culture since the years that came after the golden period in which baião and its variants ruled in absolution within Brazilian popular music, especially in the 1950s. One can clearly see that, from decade to decade, from generation to generation, the power of the true Northeastern culture does not wither; on the contrary, it shows to be a real sound mosaic where the purest truth and authenticity of the sertão stand out, immersed in the sap of poetry.

Endorsing this context, comes Túlio Borges, an artist who needs no presentation—judging from the quality of what he has shown to the music scene since 2010, as of the release of “Eu venho vagando no ar”, a work deemed one of the best 50 albums of that year, which was praised by big names such as Tárik de Souza and Zuza Homem de Melo, in addition to having been nominated for the Brazilian Music Award the year after its release. This first album stands out for its freshness, an all-encompassing sonority and lyrics filled with vigor and poetry.

After a five-year hiatus, Túlio Borges returned to the music market reinforcing his uniqueness with “Batente de pau de casarão”, an album dedicated to the Pernambuco village of São José do Egito, the homeland of his father and the birthplace of popular Northeastern poetry. This second album, “fruit of the admiration for Brazilian Northeastern poets and singers”, as defined by the artist himself, came to be a powerful lyrical-sentimental link between two different regions. A project which allowed for the artist’s immersion in the Northeastern roots that constitute him, which also substantiated his poetry and artistic refinement, carving out even more the noble and valuable characteristics that highlight the product of his work, in songs like “Tu”, and partnerships with people like Brasília singer and composer Toty; Paraíba poet and composer Jessier Quirino; Piauí writer, singer, and composer Climério Ferreira, and singer and instrumentalist Anthony Brito, in tracks such as “Baú de guardados”, “Nanquim”, “Adorável trovador”, and “São João”, among others that syncretize apparently-discrepant cultures and regions who merge in face of Borges’ talent.

In the wholeness of his craft and seeking to trail this already-known path, this time Túlio presents us with “Cutuca meu peito incutucável” (the name comes from one verse of the poem the singer recites in the last song). The second title of a trilogy he intends to finalize next year, this is an album that aims to retake the popular Northeastern poetry as well as the sound ambiance designed in his previous release, reiterating this sort of sonorous Pangaea that characterized the successful project released in 2015. With no border limitations, the sonority of the album leads us from the Central-West to the Northeastern sertão like it was within hailing (more like singing) distance, just past the Lago Sul borough, or as if Brasília stood wall to wall to the Main Church of São José do Egito. Once again, the multitalented artist sets off from the Brazilian capital for the most remote corners of the Northeastern region imbued with all the striking and awe-inspiring authenticity of his first incursion. Perhaps on purpose, the artist delivers in “Cutuca meu peito incutucável” a defibrillating poetry capable of flattening listeners’ most diverging emotions in songs that are founded in the heart as the symbol of love, and such theme is evinced in the gist of his work. This is clearly heard in recordings such as the xote “Curvas” (by poet Zeto, to whom the singer dedicated his previous album), the reggae “Ela levantou os braços e eu morri de amores” (the sole track with lyrics by Túlio and music by Afonso Gadelha), or others such as “Concreto, amor e canção” (partnership of Borges with singer Ana Reis, with whom he share vocals in the track). The fast heartbeat rate in the engaging rhythm of the traditional forró is shown in tracks such as “Grandes olhos” (partnership with Aldo Justo and Alexandre Marino, members of Brasília-based group called Liga Tripa), “Cantiga” (by appraised Clésio and his brother Clodo Ferreira), “Vem não” (another lyrics by Climério adorning Borges’ powerful melody), and “Contracachimbo da paz” and “Enxerida no contexto” (partnerships of the Brasília-based musician with Paraíba-based artist Jessier Quirino).

Under the aegis of illustrations by graphic artist Tina Berning and a presentation by writer Renato Fino (who in his first book “Debaixo do céu do seu vestido” covers that same subject), “Cutuca meu peito incutucável” purports not only to meddle with hearts in a lyrical way, but also to reiterate that even in times marked by the most distinguished dichotomies, Túlio shows to be capable of forming a unity guided by sensitivity and talent. No one would disagree in their opinions in face of features much needed in the languishing Brazilian music scene. Therefore, allow yourselves to be poked in your chests, for Túlio Borges is the force of Paul Gauguin’s synthetism substantiated in rhymes, repentes and improvisations of names such as blindman Aderaldo, Otacílio Batista, and Rogaciano Leite. He is the antithesis of Barren Lives, The Death and Life of a Severino, and The Fifteen; but he brings in his poetry the same sudden, intense power we see in Graciliano Ramos, João Cabral de Melo Neto, and Rachel de Queiroz. He is unlabelled confluence, and this is why he goes beyond the genre that made the city where he was born stand out, being able to encompass most differing rhythms. This album comes to definitively write in stone the name of this talent in the pantheon of contemporary Brazilian popular music.

Translated by Rafael Cavalcanti

 

Technical information

Produced and arranged by Túlio Borges
Recorded in Feedback, Orbis and G2D
Mixed by Daniel Félix (MixRuts)
Mastered by Alexandre Bursztyn (Watacoco)
Graphic design by Renato Cunha
Artwork by Tina Berning

(2017)

 

Old House Wood Doorjamb (2015)

Old House Wood Doorjamb (2015)

 


To poet Zeto and the town of São José do Egito (PE), the birthplace of poetry
To my relatives Leite and Braz de Souza
To Dedé Monteiro, whose name titles this album
To my partner poets

 

I

Amid the mismatches of existence
In this world stranded from beauty
A good people versifies in resistance
And thus makes of poetry royalty
In a place of pure enchantment
The verses arrive with the wind’s ascent
As messages come from the infinite
Their poets are heroes from the land
Flower of culture, whom where the hill stands
Was baptized as São José do Egito.

II

The chanters are the pharaohs
Who with verses build dynasties
And their poems shine like lighthouses
Casting light on new chants
It is thus from generation to generation
My São José renews his baião
With the same story being retold
New heroes fighting the same fight
Making of their voice the tool for the toil
Of pure, improvised poetry.

III

Countless poets in this nest
For mundane, divine wishings
Versifying and singing by the sound of the guitar
Offered to art their fates
Over a hundred years of improvisation
Singing the cries, versifying a smile
A quiet, but restless people…
And amidst much improvised history
One tells the poetized passion
That exploded between São José and Zeto.

IV

Zeto was a wandering poet
A chanter born in another see
But over there he was never a visitor
He arrived there already a son in São José
He brought closer to the word the restlessness
He brought, in addition to poetry, the attitude
Of those who in fact live poetry
In the King’s Palace he was welcomed
Became a knight and was loved
By the dynasty’s youngest daughter.

V

In his endowment, he brought a guitar
As an offer to the Princess Beatrice
Who in exchange sang a song
And the poetry was the one who rejoiced the most
For the two of them were joined along the road
With song, with guitar and with tune
Until Zeto heads off to the infinite…
Became a myth and will always be present
In the Princess, in the Kingdom and in the Poetry
That echo throughout São José do Egito.

 

Antonio Marinho, poet
Recife, February 5, 2015


The story of this album starts at Sítio dos Grossos, in São José do Egito, Pernambuco. In 1942, in the land of the wonderful poets of the Sertão’s verses, where it is often said that those who are not poets are crazy and who is crazy makes poetry, my father was born. From that region came the almost sacred names of Pinto do Monteiro and Louro do Pajeú, to land humble, silent and towering in my childhood, thirty-eight years later and fifteen hundred kilometers away from São José do Egito, in Brasília. I realized before long that a mysterious geological process demands the consistent lapse of much time to form a quarry, the poetry of improvisation in the sertão of Pajeú, in a way that, in my teen years, I heard tapes of singing, took interest in leaflets and learned who were the great names of the Brazilian Northeastern poetry.

In 2012, in a travel accompanying my father, who hadn’t been to the land of his family for twenty years, we went there. Aside from the emotion of the reunion, the many different memories of all people there, the goat meat with milk rice, my aunt’s “bolo de caco” (a flat round cake) and the singing, there was a small travel to the city of Patos, in Paraíba. It was already dark and we drove in a road illuminated only by the car’s headlights. My cousin Alex put in the car stereo a CD by Zeto and warned me I was going to like it. Suddenly, another enchanted journey began, within the journey in the enchanted journey. Zeto soloed in the darkness, drawing from his guitar a brute diamond, reciting, singing as if it were the sole thing in the world. It was a haunting attitude and poetry that brought me back to the timeless, most beautiful essence of art in the human being. I became crazy and, in order to keep my senses, wanted to put up an album.

It took long, but I gathered the dear musicians and partners and the partnerships present here. This work is fruit of my admiration for the Brazilian Northeastern poets and singers, an interpretation and approximation to my history.

Túlio Borges - June, 2015
Translated by Rafael Cavalcanti

 

Technical information

Produced by Túlio Borges
Recorded in Feedback, Orbis and Nota&Arte studios (Brasília)
Mixing: Daniel Félix and Túlio Borges, at MixRuts studio (Brasília)
Mastering: Scott Hull, in Masterdisk studio (New York)
Photography: Asley Ravel
Visual programming: Fabrício Olivieri
Graphic production: Léo Gonçalves

(2015)


01. NANQUIM
(TÚLIO BORGES / JESSIER QUIRINO)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Hamilton Pinheiro - Bass
Papete - Percussion
Leander Motta - Percussion

02. TU
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Guitar and vocal
Lucas de Campos - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Cacai Nunes - Brazilian viola
Oswaldo Amorim - Bass
Valério Xavier - Percussion
Backing vocals*

03. COCO DO PÉ DE MANGA
(JESSIER QUIRINO)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Lucas de Campos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Victor Angeleas - Mandolin
Valério Xavier - Percussion
Papete - Percussion
Backing vocals *

04. SERTÃO DAS ALMAS
(TÚLIO BORGES / CLIMÉRIO FERREIRA)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rodrigo Bezerra - Guitars
Davi Abreu - Fifes
Oswaldo Amorim - Bass
Valério Xavier - Cavaquinhos and percussion
Papete - Percussion

05. OLHO NU
(KLEBER ALBUQUERQUE)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Hamilton Pinheiro - Bass
Rafael dos Santos - Percussion
Papete - Percussion

06. CANÇÃO DO PIAUÍ UNIDO
(TÚLIO BORGES / CLIMÉRIO FERREIRA)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Hamilton Pinheiro - Bass
Valério Xavier - Percussion
Papete - Percussion

Backing vocals *

07. FORRODÁ (FORRÓ QUE ROLA)
(AFONSO GADELHA / TONY)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Hamilton Pinheiro - Bas
Valério Xavier - Percussion
Papete - Percussion

Backing vocals *

08. SÃO JOÃO
(ANTHONY BRITO / TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Lucas de Campos - Guitars
Leander Motta - Percussion

09. ADORÁVEL TROVADOR
(TÚLIO BORGES / TOTY)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Daniel Sobreira - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Oswaldo Amorim - Bass
Papete - Percussion
Leander Motta - Percussion

10. BAILARINA
(TÚLIO BORGES / JESSIER QUIRINO)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Júnior Ferreira - Accordeon
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Hamilton Pinheiro - Bass

11. BAÚ DE GUARDADOS
(TÚLIO BORGES / CLIMÉRIO FERREIRA)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Paulo André Tavares - Guitar
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho

Backing vocals* : Cacá Pereira, Toty, Afonso Gadelha, Júnior Ferreira and Valério Xavier

Life roaming the air (2010)

Life roaming the air (2010)

 

Brazilian translator Túlio Borges worships his muse like in the time of daintiness. “I've never wanted to work with music fretting to lose the pleasure in playing,” he confesses, premiering, at the age of 29, with his beautiful, multifaceted album Eu venho vagando no ar [Life roaming the air], which came out after a long, close relationship with the art. Borges studied piano in the Music School of Brasília, recorded jingles, took part in a jazz band and in a school choir when he lived in the US—where he toured and won prizes in music festivals. Even though he wrote music since his childhood, only when he was 23 and living in London did he start compiling his work (he had nigh 40 songs), which he would record once back to Brazil. In his homeland, he started to take part in festivals. Among other prizes, he was nominated Brazil's best independent singer of 2010, when his first album was nominated one of the country's 50 best albums that year.

In one of many festivals he participated, he met a singer from Rio de Janeiro called Vytória Rudan, with whom he became stage partners. In the album, she participates both in the seducing
samba Paraty [She’s got something more/ something that nothing in the world does/ she brings peace to a heart], filled with cuíca, tamborim and acoustic guitar, and in the fado/tango Zorro [I want to love you and I will/ but I’ve got to learn who I am/ to find within me the map], where the vocal duo is performed with great intensity.

Also sharing the microphones with Túlio comes Ms Inácia, who raised him and has worked for his family for 35 years. “It’s her that maybe has influenced me the most,” he analyzes. “She was the one who brought home black music, popular music, music from the Northeast, and the stories,” he tells. She opens the album with Túlio in Pontos, which is a song that is in public domain; “songs that I caught her singing while working, songs that she hadn’t even realized she knew by heart, so sweet and melodious.” Ms Inácia Maria da Conceição, born in Piauí, solos in the last part of the song. “The idea was to record the parts with accompaniment that would add value to them, and that the recording was a thanks in life for the support that Ms Inácia gives me, as simply as with a hug and a kiss that cleanse the soul, so sincere and pure they are,” defines the soloist.

Eu venho vagando no ar (name taken from one of the songs’ title) bets on this purity primed by talented Túlio’s urbanity. Like in the song resembling a baião Trem [Train], opened by a percussion emulating this means of transport, and has a passage with projected vocal, versed like in a repente [the stove of my desires speaks/ she’s so beautiful that the beauty crackles]. From regional Túlio skips to universal in the jazzy Shirley, a profusion of sensual images brought out by the very singer’s guitar and by Geni Castro’s. From this mood, he leaps to the not less involving Birosca, a samba with cuíca, cavaco, clarinet, acoustic guitars, and Leandro braga’s piano. [This princess is too much/ with sandals and feet too pretty/ with a strapless blouse/ notice the size of her skirt/ and how much damage is done].

The samba, the urbanity, and the mysticism are the Brazilian-typical qualities in Altar, showered with fluid images [So many hills and only one Redeemer], which is also a duet with Fred Martins, a songwriter from Rio de Janeiro. [There is much cry in me/ for a thousand reason that I know/ and ten thousand more that I‘ve inherited] adds Toca aí, an ethereal song in Túlio’s gentle vocal sewn together by Rafael dos Anjos’s acoustic guitars. Now the song Sua, paved by the keyboards of the songwriter himself in a dialogue with the digressions of Toninho Ferragutti’s accordion, is among the most breath-taking songs in the album. The web of words in Cicatriz [I miss them so much it hurts, it devours me/ the memories from a fall foregone], bound together by Leandro Braga’s piano, underscores the communion of the singer/songwriter with his art [the memories embower roots/ everywhere]. The insinuating cry Ói – Morro de rir, where unexpectedly a French horn (Yuri Zuvanov) and a clarinet (Ademir Junior) dialogue with Amoy Ribas’s pandeiro (the same musician who established the percussion in Pontos), prepares the devastating impact of the title track, which closes the record. Prefaced by a suspended fife, the lyrics shine as a sparkling jewel, a manifest of this unique artist.

I let the breeze play
the bell in me in time
the wind knows when it’s time
and when it’s silence I see


Tárik de Souza, music critic
Translated by Rafael Cavalcanti

 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Produced by Túlio Borges
Arranged by Túlio Borges e músicos,
except 'Toca aí' (arr. Rafael dos Anjos)
Recorded in 2007-2009, at Zen Records and Beta (Brasília)
Mixed by Daniel Félix, at MixRuts (Brasília)
Mastered by Carlos Freitas, at estúdio Classic Master (SP)
Cover image by Pavel Hórak
Album booklet by Fabrício Olivieri

(2010)

 

01. PONTOS
(DOMÍNIO PÚBLICO)

Túlio Borges - Vocal and bells
Randesmar and Dona Inácia - Vocals
Amoy Ribas - Percussion

02. TREM
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string guitar
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Toninho Ferragutti - Accordeon
Leander Motta - Percussion

03. ZORRO
(TÚLIO BORGES / VYTÓRIA RUDAN)

Túlio Borges e Vytória Rudan - Vocals
Marcus Moraes - Guitar
Jorge Cardoso - Mandolin
Toninho Ferragutti - Accordeon

04. SHIRLEY
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Guitar and vocal
Genil de Castro - Electric guitar
Oswaldo Amorim - Bass
Sandro Araújo - Drums

05. BIROSCA
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string guitar
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Leandro Braga - Piano
Ademir Júnior - Clarinet
Leander Motta - Drums and percussion

06. ALTAR
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges and Fred Martins - Vocals
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Leandro Braga - Piano
Oswaldo Amorim - Bass
Sandro Araújo - Drums

07. TOCA AÍ
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocals
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitars

08. SUA
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Piano and vocal
Toninho Ferragutti - Accordeon

09. PARATY
(VYTÓRIA RUDAN / TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string Guitar
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Leander Motta - Percussion

10. CICATRIZ
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Leandro Braga - Piano

11. OI - RIO DEMAIS
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Fernando César - 7-string guitar
Pedro Vasconcellos - Cavaquinho
Ademir Júnior - Clarinet
Yuri Zuvanov - French horn
Amoy Ribas - Percussion


12. EU VENHO VAGANDO NO AR
(TÚLIO BORGES)

Túlio Borges - Vocal and percussion
Rafael dos Anjos - Guitar
Davi Abreu - Fife