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   Fênix: Eu, Causa E Efeito: Release Information

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Release Date: 21.05.2002
EAN/UPC: 705304184028
TT Catalogue No: 4461

Fênix, maturity and personality in debut cd

In July 1996, a singer received the public and media´s special attention during the season´s run of a show entitled "As Quatro Carreirinhas”, a musical directed by Wolf Maya, at the ´Café Pequeno Theater´ in Rio de Janeiro. It was Fênix, a singer with a voice of distinctly feminine color, who promenaded through the show with uncommon technique and confidence.

Soon after, in a solo performance at the same theater, Fenix´s vocal talent and personality as an interpreter were ratified. At that time, people such as the musical producer Guto Graça Mello - one of the most respected and successful in the Brazilian record industry – called our attention to the fact that the market was in need of a Fênix record. Well, the CD has arrived, four years after the singer was discovered by Wolf Maya. "Eu, Causa e Efeito”, Fênix´s first CD, is ready to be presented to the industry, to the media and to the public.

The clear quality of his voice, along with his technique and incredible high range not only captivate the public, but demonstrate the precocious maturity of an interpreter who knows what he wants. This can be attested to by the repertoire he selected. The production of the CD is a joint effort by Fênix and Jaime Alem, Maria Bethânia´s conductor. Bethânia, one of the divas of Brazilian music, has been one of the greatest influences on this 26-year-old young man from the Northeast. Together, Fênix and Alem have conceived the electroacoustic apparel (more acoustic than electronic) of the CD, which was recorded in Rio between July and September 2000 and mixed in New York by Patrick Dillet (the mastering was done at the highly regarded Sterling Sound, also in New York). Most of the arrangements were shared by Caio Cesar (an exceptional guitarist), Samuel Kardos and Jaime Alem himself.

"The record, unfairly labeled "World” music, is a mixture of my Northeastern roots, which run in my blood, and the classic treatment of the melodies, says Fênix. While the chamber music accent of the CD is universal, the references are essentially Brazilian. When Fênix talks about "Northeastern roots”, he is referring to his childhood - a period in which he would listen to Luis Gonzaga, and which is represented on the record by the song "Que Nem Jiló”, one of that singer´s masterpieces - and the beginning of his adolescence when he discovered, enraptured, singers such as Elis Regina, Maysa and Maria Bethânia; voices which have always dominated the scenic play of the stage - a sacred place for a theatrical interpreter such as Fênix. "I had already been working, for some time, on that intimacy of mine with the stage and I wanted to record, in a product (a record), all those things which I have learned and which have influenced me, explains the singer.
Fênix has learned not only to listen to good music; he has also learned to sing it to his heart´s content. In Recife, a city in the Northeastern part of Brazil, he studied music at the city Conservatory and also worked toward his bachelor´s degree in Voice, without ever graduating. He completed the learning of his craft on the stage. Fênix did the circuit of shows in his home town, Recife, before coming to Rio for a presentation at the Rio Jazz Club, from where he went on for an audition (he got the part) for the Brazilian version for the off-Broadway "Forever Plaid.”
" Eu, Causa e Efeito” is, indeed, the result of the singer´s trajectory, which includes his experiences in New York, where he lived for some time. "New York has pop energy”, he says. It was there, amidst a rhythmical outburst of American pop culture, that Fênix met Gerald Thomas, a theater director he worked to stage the play " O Cão Andaluz”, a spectacle based on the work of Garcia Lorca, which ran the São Paulo state circuit in 1998/1999.

"That period is also reflected in the CD” emphasizes Fênix. "The repertoire of the record was selected with the lyrics being taken into consideration. "Eu, Causa e Efeito” is a semi-autobiographical record. Its verses reflect facts and feelings of my history, explains Fênix. Be that as it may, the selection is chic in its mixture of songs never-before released and songs which have already been recorded, starting with the samba which closes the CD, "Com a Perna no Mundo”, launched by its composer, Gonzaguinha, in the CD "Gonzaguinha da Vida”, 1979. The recording starts chamber-music- like and moves, elegantly, towards the "morro” (slum areas where samba had its origin) with vibrant choir and percussion. From the same decade, the 70´s, we also have "Serrado”, a song launched by Djavan, a singer, in 1978, on his second CD entitled”Djavan.” Fênix´s re-reading of this song brings a new freshness to the composition, which presents pop percussion headed by the Carioca group called "A Parede”, which accompanies Pedro Luis.
Fênix also selected a song From the native of the state of Paraíba, Zé Ramalho, one of the greatest influences on the Northeastern music: the classic from 1978"Avohai”, recreated by Fênix with erudite tonalities. On a more pop streak, Fênix re-records "Meninos e Meninas”, a gem from the repertoire of the band "Legião Urbana”, which has a special meaning for the fans of the band because it was the song selected by Renato Russo to express his homosexuality. " I listened to that band a lot, it was the music of my adolescence” says Fênix, in syntony with millions of youngsters spread throughout Brazil.
Perhaps the track which best translates the concept of universal brazilianism which pervades the CD is "Mercy Street”. Fênix starts Peter Gabriel´s song singing an excerpt from "Frevo Número 2 – Saudade, by Antônio Maria. Perfect combination, despite the apparent disconnection between the musical universes. But, the repertoire—which also includes a classic from Cartola´s repertoire, "Autonomia” – is a mosaic solidly sewn by the musical unity of the record and by the crystal-clear voice of the interpreter. "I trimmed off all the exaggerations”, Fênix warns us, thinking back to the time when he did vocal pirouettes that led many people to compare him to the virtuous Edson Cordeiro.
And in order to exorcize any comparison, Fênix invited a singer for a duet who is regarded as being the vocal father of singers like Fênix and Cordeiro, the pioneer Ney Matogrosso. Ney shares the vocals with Fênix on a song entitled "Fim de Mundo”, a manifestation by Patrícia Mello against a society which is impersonal and utilitarian. Along with "Ao Avesso” (Maria Olivia and Ivanilson Oliveira) and "Eu, Causa e Efeito” (Eduardo Boaventura and Ciro Telles), "Fim de Mundo” was a song which Fênix came across at the Confraria dos Compositores, in a neighborhood called Vila Isabel, in the suburbs of Rio. The "Confraria” is a sort of club for young composers to show productions which need a medium of conveyance. And, in the case of these three songs, the medium is Fênix´s privileged voice. On this CD, Fênix also makes his debut as a composer with the song "World” - a bilingual track in which a group called Maracatu Nação Pernambuco participates (once again he is back to the influences of his childhood) - and the song "Sinais”, this one in partnership with Maria Olivia.
Summing up,, Fênix is one of those few interpreters whose first CD comes already loaded with personality. Before this record, he had recorded only one song ("Objeto Não Identificado”, by Caetano Veloso) for the 6:00 PM Soap Opera at the Globo Network. All we have to do now is keep our fingers crossed in the hope that the industry and the media will allow the public to have access to Fênix´s project. If this happens, both the public and Brazilian POP(ular) will receive a gift.

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