This excellent release by Egberto Gismonti was conceived under the concept of a circus, an institution that has the ambivalent quality of being at the same time universal and regional; the "circense" tradition exists in almost all parts of the globe, but it is enriched by the smaller companies that keep struggling to survive in poorer setups, adding regional elements to the whole. It fits like a glove for the music of Gismonti, which also aims to enrich Brazilian musical tradition with elements of worldwide classical and popular acquisitions.
The album is fully performed by excellent Brazilian musicians: Mauro Senise (saxes/flute), Egberto Gismonti (several instruments), Luiz Alves (bass), Robertinho Silva (percussion), Silvio Mehry (piano), Pery Reis (guitar), Aleuda Malu (vocals and percussion), Dulce Bressane (vocals), Pepê Castro-Neves (vocals), and a string orchestra conducted by Benito Juarez. On "Cego Aderaldo," a folkloric northeastern blind and nomadic guitar player is paid tribute to. which has only the Indian violinist Lakshminarayana Shankar and Gismonti on the Brazilian ten-string viola.
The most conspicuous composition of the album is, without a doubt, "Palhaço." Unpretentious in its conventional blues-like harmony, its passionate, touching melody progresses upon an apparently infinite harmonic cycle until an orchestrated modinha bridge comes in.