Gonzaguinha: MPB reference

Gal Costa, Ivan Lins, Aldir Blanc, Elba Ramalho, Marlene, Fafá, Alcione and other artists, friends and collaborators remember the songwriter as a reserved and immensely talented person

Rodrigo Faour
Gal Costa
(recorded O Gosto do Amor, De Volta ao Começo, Muito por Demais and Morro de Saudade) “He was very close to us, interpreters. When I was about to make a new album, he would call me up, go to my house, show me things and talk... he was always around. I think he was a fantastic songwriter. His death represented a great loss, a terrible shock. He treated me very tenderly. Shortly before he died, I remember that he was in my house, showing me songs and telling me how he wanted to be involved in my next album. If he was a reserved person? I don’t know. He was great, with me!”

Aldir Blanc
(writer and songwriter) “When we first met, we chatted and he showed me his early material, songs like O Trem and Só Não Vou Mais Ser de Paciência, my favorites to this day. Although he broadened his repertoire, making it more popular, I must confess that I prefer that dry Gonzaguinha. We participated in a festival with friends like Ivan and Lúcia Lins, César Costa Filho, Sidney Matos, over 30 people... What’s funny is that, although we were very close, we only considered writing songs together after 10 years, but he died in between trips.”

Angela Maria
(recorded Começaria Tudo Outra Vez and Mulher, e Daí? - Apenas Mulher ) “Gonzaguinha kept things to himself. Looking at him in the distance, I thought he was a sad person. He didn’t speak much, but he always talked to me. We used to have long conversations. He had reasons to be like that, I knew about his personal life. As a songwriter, he was a favorite of mine. Such beautiful melodies would come out through that peculiar state of mind.”

Fafá de Belém
(recorded Memória and Gostoso) “When I was making my album Crença (1980), I showed him some things I had written to Roberto Santana, about questions that hunted me - about the person behind the persona Fafá, a woman who suffers and cries, with a heart inside. Gonzaguinha read that and wrote Eu Apenas Queria que Você Soubesse. But, at the time, I thought the song was not heavy enough, and I didn’t want to record it - in fact it was me that was tense and heavy (laughs). When I heard the song in Gal Costa’s voice I went mad. I cried a lot and deeply regretted not having recorded it.”

(recorded Salve a Lama Negra, Geraldinos, Arquibaldos II hear 30s, E Vamos à Luta hear 30s, Mesa de Bar hear 30s, Recado hear 30s Bonito, Explode Coração hear 30s and Mulher e Daí? - Apenas Mulher hear 30s) “I once asked Gonzaguinha for the song Mesa de Bar, and when I thought he was sending me a tape with it, he showed up in my house with his guitar. So I invited him to record the track with me. When he died, he left a tape with his last wife, where he said that he wanted the song Bonito to be recorded by me with the group Os Cariocas. And so it was done. Gonzaguinha was a very reserved person. But I have learned that we have to let people be who they are, in this life.”

Ivan Lins
(wrote four songs with Gonzaguinha) “Our only famous composition is Desenredo hear 30s. Leila Pinheiro has recently recorded Sedução hear 30s - I had to write a new melody, because I had forgotten what the original was like. It was written in 1975 and I just couldn’t remember. We also wrote a song for Milton Nascimento, named Some Day a W's Boy (W’s Boy was Milton’s band with Wagner Tiso). I reckon the only person who ever recorded it was Ricardo Pontes, in an instrumental version.

I met him in 1968, during the college festivals time. He always kept everything to himself, he was very serious, though he could be very funny when he felt like it. But he was always to weary - he loosened up a bit, along the years, but it all happened because he suffered a lot. He always rebelled against reality. He questioned everything. He was the stone in the militaries’ shoes. He wasn’t bitter, he was realistic. He was concerned with stirring people up, making them wake up, because in fact, there was some kind of numbness, due to self-censorship and fear.”

Elba Ramalho
(recorded A Casca do Ovo hear 30s, Sai da Frente, Um Bilhete pro Seu Lua hear 30s and Caminhos do Coração hear 30s ) “Here is my prayer to Gonzaguinha. In spite of the hole in our hearts due to the absence of this great thinker and musician, we feel enormous joy and ecstasy that only music can give, while listening to love songs that are more like life lessons. They take us to the sacred, the sublime, the eternal, and make us believe in God and all of its creation power, aware of the greatness in all artists’ souls and knowing that death is life! I miss him and kiss Gonzaguinha, brother of the stars. Light and peace, Elba Ramalho.”

Selma Reis
(recorded the CD Achados e Perdidos, in 1996, with 13 Gonzaguinha songs) “He saw my very first concert as a professional and spoke briefly to me, praising me. But I decided to make a full album out of his songs because we had this in common: we were never ashamed to show our feelings. He paid the price for feeling too much. A song that shows it really well is Sangrando hear 30s. He was whole-heartedly present in all of his songs.

Leila Pinheiro
(recorded the CD Reencontro 30'' excerpts , with seven Gonzaguinha songs, including Sedução, written with Ivan Lins) “I met him briefly in Minas Gerais. I recorded his songs because they are so powerful. It’s like they had just been written. Many of them were smash hits - like Explode Coração hear 30s and Espere por Mim, Morena hear 30s. Gonzaguinha is a very sensitive songwriter. I thought that his political phase was boring, outdated, but the romantic phase is wonderful. From his political phase, I recorded É, which is lighter, not so violent.”

Leny Andrade
(recorded É hear 30s) “Gonzaguinha performed in two benefit concerts that I arranged. On the second, he told me: ‘I’m finishing this song that I wrote for you, named Gentileza (or Kindness)’. I said: ‘No, really? You wrote it for me?’, and he answered: ‘Yes, because this thing that you’re doing here is so kind. I have started writing and I’ll call you soon, so that we can meet and I can show you the song’. Six months passed, and I was at the airport when I heard the news of his death. It was horrible.”

(recorded Galope, O Trem e Meu Coração É um Pandeiro) “I was his first buddy in MPB. Gonzaguinha wrote Galope hear 30s for me, and I sang it in the concert Te Pego Pela Palavra. He used to come visit me at home all the time, and when he noticed that I was sad, he would write me a note saying ‘Take Care’. I cried so much when he died. He was very reserved, but very sincere, too. I loved that man so much... he was good at everything. We spoke over the phone almost on a daily basis. I have never been so close to other music mates.”

Claudette Soares
(recorded Mundo Novo, Vida Nova hear 30s and will record Grito de Alerta hear 30s this year) “Gonzaguinha was competing in a festival with two songs, O Trem hear 30s and Mundo Novo, Vida Nova. Many singers did not want to record the latter, because it wasn’t easy to sing that one. But the mad girl, here, the infant-pitbull (laughs) went nuts about it. Maestro Gaya wrote a beautiful arrangement. We were placed third, but he won with O Trem. I reckon Gonzaguinha was like poet Taiguara - very much avant-garde.”

Elza Soares
(recorded O Gato) “Nobody is aware of how deeply I knew Gonzaguinha.... I used to do my hair at this salon called Merilde’s, and I remember this little boy coming there with his mom. Then we met when both were signed up to Odeon. He gave me the song O Gato (1972). Back then he was very reserved, and since I’m afraid to bother that kind of people, we split apart, and I regret it. Gonzaguinha departed too early and left this gap. Honestly, I wish I had recorded more of his songs, if I had had the chance.”

Cauby Peixoto
(recorded Estrelas Solitárias hear 30s, Sangrando and Começaria Tudo Outra Vez) “He was a wonderful guy, but very shy, although he was open with his mates. He wrote Estrelas Solitárias especially for me. I regard him as one of the finest songwriters in this country. We traveled together, once. He was a very simple person.”

Ruy (MPB-4)
 (the group recorded Alegria, Brasil, O Que É o Que É hear 30s, Tá Certo Doutor hear 30s, Galope, Assim Seja Amém hear 30s, Chão Pó Poeira hear 30s and Se Meu Time Não Fosse Campeão) “Gonzaguinha was one of the songwriters that MPB-4 recorded the most. We regarded him as someone willing to do things right, politically, a very straightforward person. He was very concerned about honesty. We always sing his songs. We are singing Galope and the samba O Que É o Que É in our current concert - the audience loves it.”

Roberto Menescal
(he was the musical director at Philips when Gonzaguinha released his first recordings) “I used to say to him: ‘It’s not going to be easy to sell your ten-minute songs’. He would laugh. Years later, by the late ‘70s, I was making an album with Emílio Santiago, and he came into the studio and said: ‘You’ll see how I shortened of my songs, and they’re gonna sell.’ Soon, Explode Coração hear 30s was turned into a smashing hit. Many people used to say that Gonzaguinha was not a nice person, but he was always nice to me. His innovative songwriting skills made the words flow through the music."

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