Sunday, October 12, 2008

Perla do Brasil

Brasil, a famous one point song from the 1991 contest (Bebi Dol - Yugoslavia) but also the country with more Eurocovers recorded than any other non-Eurovision country.
I don't want to sell Football short, but music is probably the cornerstone of Brasilian life.
So it's not surprising that many Eurovision songs have found their way to Brasilian singers. From the first contest in 1956 (with at least 3 songs covered in Brasil) to well into the 70's Eurovision songs have been covered by artists from Brasil.
About every Italian entry, most of the songs from the U.K. and many of the winners and hits from other countries. Only Portuguese songs seem a bit underrepresented.

So here's a bit of Brasilian Pop History, mixed with a bit of Paraguay and a touch of Sweden and of course Eurovision songs.

Perla was born Ermelinda Pedroso Rodriguez d'Almeida in 1952. She was raised in a musical family in Caacupé, Paraguay but she left the family in the early 70's and headed to Rio where she started performing and was soon welcomed as an international attraction.
Appearances on popular TV shows got her a record deal soon and she released her first LP Perla* in 1972 with mainly Spanish language evergreens.
The first LP was in Spanish but her second album titled Perla was released in both a Portuguese language version and a Spanish language version, catering for the full latin American market. It includes the first Eurovision cover, but I'll get to that later. It also includes her first hit Estrada do Sol.
Her 1976 album Palavras De Amor was also recorded in two languages and it includes what was probably her biggest hit Fernando, of ABBA fame.
Productive Perla released an album every year from 1975 to 1982 and sometimes even two, and the ABBA cover formula worked well for her. Chiquitita for example was another of her top hits as Pequenina.
Most of her early songs are coverversions of popular hits and her popular ABBA covers were all re-issued on a 2002 CD 50 Perla Canta ABBA E Outros Hits. Her version of S.O.S.: Paz De Um Grande Amor is as melancholy as the original and one of the best ABBA covers ever recorded.
Perla's most recent work is Perla, Nossas Canções from 2002 (Spanish version Perla, Nuestras Canciones was released in 2003)

Italy 1966 - Dio Come Ti Amo

You may think Eurocovers is overdoing it a bit with this one, but it's Perla's first Eurocover recorded in 1975, so it's here. It's also the most covered Eurovision entry by Brasilian artists with almost half of the covers I know of it coming from Brasil.
Perla recorded three versions:
Deus Come Te Amo (Portuguese)
- on EP Perla (RCA 1010143, 1976) and LP Perla (RCA - 1030152, 1975)
Dios Como Te Amo (Spanish)
- on LP Perla en Espanol (RCA - 9910393, 1975)
Dio Come Ti Amo (Italian, recorded in 1999)
- on CD Especialmente Para Você (Brasidisc BRCD 1005, 1999)

Italy 1977 - Libera (Mia Martini)
A disco era Eurovision song that doesn't have many covers to its name, but Perla takes care of two.
Livre (Portuguese)
- on LP Perla (RCA 1030219, 1977)
Libre (Spanish)
- on LP Perla, Para Los Que Han Amado (RCA 99111319)

United Kingdom 1978 - Bad Old Days (Coco)
Meu Querido Pai (Portuguese)
- On LP Perla (RCA 103.0266, 1978)

Israel 1979 - Hallelujah (Milk and Honey, 1979 winner)
Alegria (Portuguese)
- on LP Pequenina (RCA Victor 1030309, 1979)
* As you may have noticed, several LP's are just called Perla

Sources: Perla website - This site has an extensive discography and also Perla CDs for sale. And of course pictures, lyrics and videos.
Clique Brasil and Special Thanks to João.
In previous Brasil posts you can find Puppet On A Strings and Eurocovers by My New Favorite singer Leny Eversong.

Spain 1970 - Pitingo - Gwendolyne

Eurovision 1970 saw the entry of Julio Iglesias to the international music stage, and he's still there. His song Gwendolyne ended 4th. This is a video of a new flamenco tinged r'n'b version by Pitingo with Juan Carmona. It's from the 2008 Pitingo CD Souleria. Special Thanks to José Antonio.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

1966 Dio Come Ti Amo - Cabaret Short Circuit

I don't think it happened before: I just received a new CD and while enjoying the virgin listening out of nowhere an intriguing Eurocover pops up.The CD in question is Disastro by Sonny J. which I bought because I totally love Handsfree (If You Hold My Hand).
Handsfree is a sampladelic reworking of Donna Hightower's* If You Hold My Hand.
I didn't suspect anything reading the tracklist, but track 4, Cabaret Short Circuit is a reworking of Jack Jones' fantastic live version of Oh How Much I Love You, which is Dio Come Ti Amo, only one of my favorite Eurovision songs and a honorable member of the Gallery Of Most Covered Eurovision Songs. And it's written by Mr. Volare: Domenico Modugno.
Sonny J. speeds up Jack Jones's version, adds the necessary crackle and umph and makes a nice use of Jones talking bits.
Of course all you Captain Stubing fans know Jack Jones of the Theme From Love Boat !

Oh how Much I love You by handsome Jack was originally released in 1967 as a b-side of Don't Give Our Love Away (Kapp K880) and on his LP Our Song (Kapp 3531) .
The live version used on Cabaret Short Circuit is from the 1970 LP Jack Jones In Person, Live At The Sands (RCA SF 8149 , 1970, & Laserlight CD reissue, 1993)

Sonny J.'s excellent Disastro album is available at a record shop near you or your PC. Highly recommended if you like cut'n'paste dance - pop genuis. I know I do.

Sonny J. Myspace & Sonny J. Homepage and Sonny J TV (all the videos)
Jack Jones Official Site - Jack Jones Studio Audio at Youtube
Mike Patton's live version of Dio Come Ti Amo is in this Eurocovers Post
The 10.000 coverversions post about Dio Come Ti Amo is here and in this post there's a version by Angolan Duo Ouro Negro.

* I think Donna Hightower had a go at the Spanish preselection for Eurovision in the 70's, but my mind is blank about that just now. Her best known hit is This World Today Is A Mess from 1972 (and a hit in 1974).

Another new(ish) version of Dio Come Ti Amo was recorded by Tereza (Kesovija), Croatian singer who entered Eurovision in 1964 for Monaco (Bien Plus Fort) and for Yugoslavia in 1972 (Muzika I Ti).
Her CD Zaustavi Vrijeme from 2007 includes a Croatian version of the song titled Bože, Kako Te Volim. (Youtube)

Introduction to music of Ex-Yu & Croatia
Which brings me to another recommended read. Sasha has a new Rate Your Music site where you can find out about the most important Yugoslavian artists from the past 50 years.

You can find an 'Introduction to music of Ex-Yu & Croatia' here. It's written in English.