Important early work from underground Brazilian legend Alceu Valenca – four
albums served up in a beautiful box set! First up is Molhado De Suor – done with a nicely northern Brazil sound that involves plenty of acoustic percussion, guitar, and nice use of flute and craviola! The style here is almost a sophistication of earlier forro modes – done in a style that has traces
of the Minas Geraes approach to songwriting and production, but a simpler, earthier feel overall. It's hard to peg this one accurately, but there's a simple genius here that's immediately compelling! Titles include "Borboleta", "Punhal De Prata", "Dia Branco", "Pedras De Sal", "Chutando Pedras", "Molhando De Suor", and "Mensageira Dos Anjos". Next is Vivo – a great live presentation of the 70s genius of Alceu Valenca – one that really keeps the organic feel of his best work in the studio, while adding in some of the spontaneity and warmth of a concert! Valenca plays acoustic guitar and sings amidst a smallish group that includes Ze Ramalho on ukulele and guitars, plus added flute, bass, and percussion – all used to build up the songs slowly and earthily, with that great mix of progressive and folksy styles we love in his work. Titles include "Descida Da Ladeira", "Voce Pensa", "Sol E Chuva", "Casamento Da Raposa Com O Rouxinol", and "Pontos Cardeais". Next is Espelho Cristalino – one of the important 70s albums from Alceu Valenca – with titles that include "Agalpoado", "Espelho Cristalino", "Eu Sou Voce", "Sete Leguas", and "A Danca Das Borboletas". Last up is the incredible Saudade De Pernambuco – a fantastic late 70s album from underground Brazilian legend Alceu Valenca – and a set that follows in the same tradition of exile as earlier albums by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil! The set was recorded in Paris, and has a sound that's maybe even earthier and stripped-down than some of Valenca's albums from a few years before – lots of percussion in the rhythms, entrancing guitar lines, and lyrics that are beautifully expressive, but never overdone – with a sensitivity that we find stunning, and which may make the record one of Alceu's most immediately appealing. There's a sense of sadness that lies in the music at much deeper levels than hinted at by the titles – but there's also a complexity of acoustic instrumentation and voice that creates a lightness, too – a richer, more sophisticated sound – but without any attempt to polish the music or overproduce it – a bit like Joyce at her best. Titles include "Cana Caiana", "Apoena", "Por Toda La", "Tres Galeras", "Saudade De Pernambuco", and "Como Nos Sonhos Fatais".