When Adriana Calcanhotto chose to moonlight as a children's entertainer with the delightful Adriana Partimpim, little did she know that her alter ego would become so successful, to the point of virtually launching a second career for her. By the time she was finally able to resume her daytime job as one of Brazil's most promising artists of her generation, six years had elapsed from her last proper studio album, 2002's Cantada. Amidst side projects and touring, Calcanhotto had been all the while writing and collecting songs from various sources. When it came down to choosing the repertoire for her new album, she realized several of the songs she liked best included sea references. Since she had already made an album on the subject, 1998's Maritimo, Calcanhotto conceived the idea of a "sea trilogy," of which Maré would become its second installment. Water and the sea seem an apt metaphor for the restlessy curious yet ultimately soothing spirit of Adriana Calcanhotto, adjectives that also fit her music like a glove. Her amalgamation of musical and literary Brazilian traditions with contemporary experimentation is as seamless as it is remarkable. She is also blessed to come from a country where musicians seem always willing to selflessly collaborate with their peers regardless of age, school, or style. In this respect, Maré's credits read like a crash course on the last 50 years of Brazilian culture: Augusto de Campos, Waly Salomão, Caetano Veloso, Dorival Caymmi, Gilberto Gil, Arnaldo Antunes, Marisa Monte, Torquato Neto, Péricles Cavalcanti, Cazuza, Marina Lima, Bebel Gilberto, and others. Concrete poetry, pop music, samba, tropicalia, and tribalistas all effortlessly coexist in a project that could not sound more cohesive. The glue that holds everything together is the production by the ever exquisite Arto Lindsay, as well as the key instrumental input from the trio of Moreno Veloso, Kassin, and Domenico, with whom Calcanhotto shares the projects Ela+2 and Três. Most of all, Calcanhotto herself remains the brains and heart of the entire operation, choosing the repertoire and the guest musicians, singing, playing guitar, writing music for somebody else's lyrics, or lyrics for somebody else's music, and putting her gentle yet indelible stamp on this bewildering assortment of material and sources. As is often the case with other Brazilian artists of her generation, such as Lenine or Marisa Monte, it is hard to describe Calcanhotto's music. Taking lessons from both tropicalia and postmodernism, these artists are so adept at conversing with the many strands of popular and high culture (both local and global), that their end product reminds of so many things yet sounds like nothing in particular. Calcanhotto's music may only be faulted for a certain intellectual coolness. This may explain why, in an album filled with so many pieces of discreetly sophisticated music, the ultimate winner is the simplest song by a mile in terms of lyrics and music, the childlike wonder "Um Dia Desses." Playful, cerebral, melancholic, impeccably tasteful and eminently rewarding, Maré is arguably Adriana Calcanhotto's finest work to date.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes