Forró and Poetry from the People

A year or so after the release of Eu Venho Vagando no ArTúlio Borges began to work on his next project. That first album garnered the attention of critics all over Brazil as well as abroad. For example, Brazilian critic and musicologist Zuza Homen de Mello succinctly told his readers to “listen up carefully” to the work of this musician from Brasília. Then “we’ll talk about it.” And talk about is what everyone did! Another critic, Tárik de Souza, commended Túlio for his “meticulous work and perfect domain of texts and ideas.” That first CD gave Túlio Borges the recognition of Rádio Cultura de São Paulo’s 2010 Best Independent Singer, and the album also received a nomination for the Prêmio da Música Brasileira that year. Mú also noted the precise articulation and melodiousness of crafty songs that Túlio presented us with that album.

Five years later, Túlio Borges comes back with a deeper look at the music of Northeast Brazil. Dedicated to the city of São José do Egito in the countryside of Pernambuco, Batente de Pau de Casarão is a worthy tribute to that city’s tradition of popular poetry. São José do Egito is known as the birthplace of Northeastern popular poetry and names such as Louro do Pajeú and Pinto do Monteiro. It is common belief that the city is full of popular poets. An old saying there says that if one is not a poet, he/she is crazy, and whoever is crazy in São José writes poetry.

This album began to take shape in 2012, when Túlio Borges traveled back to São José do Egito to take his father to revisit his homeland and old relatives. During a side trip to another town, Túlio’s cousin played a CD from a local artist known as Zeto. That did it for Túlio. The music moved him so much that he knew right there and then that he needed to prepare this album for release.

For Batente de Pau de Casarão,Túlio Borges worked with Jessier Quirino and Afonso Gadelha (both from the northeastern state of Paraíba) and Climério Ferreiro (from the northeastern state of Piauí). These artists wrote new music following the São José do Egito popular poetry tradition. The result is very pleasing and close to that São José tradition. Joining Túlio in this undertaking is a long roster of musicians with one sole purpose: show authentic regional music with quality performances. Produced byTúlio Borges, some of the musicians accompanying him include Rafael dos Anjos (acoustic guitar), Junior Ferreira (accordion), Pedro Vasconcellos (cavaquinho), Hamilton Pinheiro (bass), Valério Xavier (percussion and cavaquinho), Papete (percussion), Cacai Nunes (Brazilian viola), Victor Angeleas (mandolin), Davi Abreu (fife) and several others.

In the opening track of the album, “Nanquim,” the lyrics help define the meaning of this work.Túlio Borges sings about the cantador (literally a singer, but in the northeast of Brazil the meaning is that of a popular song improviser) and his purpose in life: to sing about life, pain, farm land, the heat and everything in the hinterland of Brazil. These song lyrics are popular poetry and very simple. Take “Tu,” for example. It sings about how good you are using what life provides around your daily routine. You are better than the shade of ingazeira, sweeter than mango on a mango tree and a precious gem like no other. The use of local color is one defining characteristic of popular poetry in the Brazilian northeast. All of this simplicity and charm is accentuated with Junior Ferreira’s lively accordion solos and the entire band support.

Batente de Pau de Casarão takes you back to a simpler life and richer personal experiences. Without the need of electronic instruments, this acoustic album shines through from beginning to end. You were advised to “listen up carefully” to Túlio Borges. This album makes it worthwhile you did it!

The entire CD is available at Túlio Borges’ website.



Túlio Borges
Batente de Pau de Casarão
Independent (2015)
Time: 43′:00″


  1. Nanquim (Túlio Borges – Jessier Quirino)
  2. Tu (Túlio Borges)
  3. Coco do Pé de Manga (Jessier Quirino)
  4. Sertão das Almas (Túlio Borges – Climério Ferreira)
  5. Olho Nu (Kleber Albuquerque)
  6. Canção do Piauí Unido (Túlio Borges – Climério Ferreira) / Citation: Te Cuida, Jacaré (Dominguinhos)
  7. Forrodá (Forró Que Rola) (Afonso Gadelha – Tony)
  8. São João (Anthony Brito – Túlio Borges)
  9. Adorável Trovador (Túlio Borges – Toty)
  10. Bailarina (Túlio Borges – Jessier Quirino)
  11. Baú de Guardados (Túlio Borges – Climério Ferreira)

by Egídio Leitão