A Brasilian Christmas

This caroling collection has become a Christmas tradition in Brazilian homes from Winnipeg to Rio.

A Brasilian Christmas? Even the liner notes entertain with a brilliant portrayal of Christmas traditions as seen through Brasilian eyes.

Originally published by Connect Brazil, November 1, 1996

Here’s an album that’s a refreshing change from the usual holiday fare. It’s a caroling collection featuring many of Brazil’s top MPB and jazz stars. And it has become a Christmas tradition in ‘Brazilian’ homes from Winnipeg to Rio.

Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, this CD was produced by Oscar Castro-Neves and Miles Goodman for their new Astor Place Records in 1996. Notably, this was the label’s sole release before Goodman’s untimely passing before its October 15th launch day.

Because of this, availability became limited. As a result, A Brasilian Christmas passed into legal limbo. No additional pressings of this remarkable and unique album were made.

So, what is this album like? Here’s what to expect.

There are no knock-off or chintzy cover versions here. Each of these 13 tracks carries a Brazilian flair that’s perfect for holiday gatherings. The artists benefit from thoughtfully crafted arrangements that perfectly showcase their individual traits.

Musical excellence

There’s Joyce singing in English on ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’. Then, Dori Caymmi does likewise on ‘The Christmas Song’. And João Bosco offers up scatty, new lyrics in Portuguese for ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’.

A surprise gift comes courtesy of Ivan Lins’ rendition of ‘White Christmas’. It’s because Lins’ version is so well suited to the Brazilian’s style that you might think that this is what composer Irving Berlin had in mind all along.

There are inspiring instrumentals, too. The roster includes guitarists Ricardo Silveira Toninho Horta and Oscar Castro-Neves. Saxophonist Leo Gandleman and keyboardist Gilson Peranzzetta provide that musical balance on several songs.

Background vocals are an angel’s chorus of Lois Albez, Denise Dumont, and a young Bebel Gilberto.

A Holiday Gift to you

Today, a well-done Brazilian Christmas CD remains as rare as snow in Ipanema. But, that’s why A Brasilian Christmas has become such a treasure for so many of us at year’s end.

That’s why we’ve included the entire album in the video below. Feliz Natal!

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A Brasilian Christmas

Track lisitng and personnel

  1. Ave Maria- Toninho Horta and Oscar Castro-Neves
  2. The Christmas Song- Dori Caymmi
  3. Air On A Six String (Air On A G String)- Global, featuring Leo Gandelman
  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas- Joyce
  5. Little Town Of Bethlehem- Dori Caymmi
  6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas- Joao Bosco
  7. Dance Natal (Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy)- Global, featuring Leo Gandelman
  8. Velinho- Joyce
  9. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town- Joyce
  10. White Christmas- Ivan Lins
  11. Jingle Bells- Toninho Horta and Oscar Castro-Neves
  12. Silent Night- Dori Caymmi
  13. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)- Gilson Peranzzetta

Personnel: Joyce, Dori Caymmi, Ivan Lins (vocals). João Bosco (vocals, guitar), Leo Gandelman (soprano and also saxophones), Oscar Castro-Neves, Toninho Horta (guitar), Ricardo Silveira (electric and 12-string guitars). Gilson Peranzzetta (keyboards), Jorge Helder (bass). Téo Lima, Tutty Moreno (drums), Suzano, Marçal, Joel Moss (percussion). Lois Albez, Denise Dumont, Bebel Gilberto (background vocals).

Produced by Miles Goodman and Oscar Castro-Neves. Arrangements by Oscar Castro-Neves, Gilson Peranzzetta and Dori Caymmi. Recorded at Cia. Dos Tecnicos Studios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 15th, 1996.

Total Time: 42:34

Listen to the complete album! Feliz Natal and Merry Christmas from your musical friends at Connect Brazil!