Music: Nana Caymmi Pays Tribute to Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes

Nana Caymmi. Photo: Livio Campos

Brazilian chanteuse, Nana Caymmi is back with a new album Nana, Tom, Vinicius that pays tribute to two other legends of bossa nova — her dear friend and legendary composer, Tom Jobim, and poet and lyricist, Vinicius de Moraes. The album consists of 12 tracks, some just by Jobim, some by de Moraes, and others in which they collaborated. It is now available on digital platforms including iTunes and Sesc Digital.

Though Jobim died more than 25 years ago, he remains alive in Nana’s memories around Rio de Janeiro. “Tom would leave home early and wait for me to take a walk around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, after which we would drink chope (draft beer) and eat codfish balls, which would screw up my diet. But I would have done anything for him,” remembers Nana.

Nana Caymmi with her brother, Dori Caymmi. Photo: Livio Campos.

The musical arrangements and direction are by her equally famous musician brother, Dori Caymmi, and are full of emotion and longing for a bygone era and old friends. From his home in Petrópolis where Dori now lives since he left Los Angeles after 27 years, he hand wrote the arrangements, which were recorded by the St. Petersburg Orchestra in Russia. And because of this, Nana did something unusual; she made a point of re-recording her vocals once the orchestral pieces were completed despite the objections of everyone involved who thought what she had was already perfect.

“I haven’t sung with an orchestra in many years,” says Nana. “It’s a huge cost that record companies don’t want to incur. But I made it a point of recording the voice a second time. And to capture the right emotion, I even had to put some whiskey in my coffee and make some Irish Coffee early!”

The results are clear. Nana, Tom, Vinicius is not only one of Nana’s most poignant saudade-infused offering, it’s a return to the kind of rich and melodious music that has practically vanished from today’s computer-churned music environment. Fortunately for us listeners, there are still those who refuse to make any compromises in the service of their art.

— Ghalib Dhalla