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Rita Bennedito, 1999

Producer: Mario Manga
Label: MZA Music

panning for treasures

By Ricardo P Nunes

 In Brazilian music, the formula for the emergence of a great singer has always seemed to require, among other things, a certain originality in her talent. But in order to fulfill this requirement, the happy fortune that she also has a good and new list of composers of her generation or her place of origin is essential. This is what happens, after a long break from these findings in our music, with Rita Bennedito's second studio album, Pérolas aos Povos , in which, while also adding some lesser-known songs from some of its musical patrons, a chant of public domain and one that another authored by herself, it is clear that the word "pearls" of the title is not gratuitous.

    There, the cream of Rita's countrymen musicians such as Zeca Baleiro (on the tracks Muzak , and Mambo da Dor ), Erasmo Dibel ( Filhos da Preciso ) and Antônio Vieira ( Banho Cheiroso ) give the local color of Maranhão music but in what it has more universal. Songs like Déjà Vu , by Argentine Natália Mallo, and Pensar em Você , by Chico César are no less valuable acoustic jewels. Consonant with its melodic richness are also the contributions of Raulzito ( Never Been So Segura de Mim Mesma , a bolero from the youthful phase of Raul Seixas), Jorge Bem Jor and Arrigo Barnabé.

   Despite the good reception from critics in the years following its release, Rita Bennedito did not rise to the level that singers from the 1990s onwards such as Marisa Monte, Adriana Calcanhoto or Vanessa da Matta would reach in the body of work. But on the other hand, it wouldn't be too much to say that none of them would ever achieve the feat of bringing together in a single album a repertoire of melodic and rhythmic gems like that of Pérolas aos Povos .


    Sometimes we seek to mine these gems where everyone has already wallowed in search of their treasures. Although I have listened to and re-listened to Pearls to the Peoples for more than twenty years, it was only one of these days that I realized how much time had passed, and that I had never praised him as he deserved. Well, yes, it is a great pearl of our music.

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