"UNIVERSO AO MEU REDOR" & INFINITO PARTICULAR," MONTE'S NON-IDENTICAL TWINS," PRESENT TWO UNIQUE STORIES & SOUNDS
On September 12th, Blue Note / Metro Blue Records will simultaneously release two individual albums from the Brazilian superstar Marisa Monte. Universo ao meu redor is a collection of Samba songs both old and new, and Infinito Particular is a contemporary Pop record on which Monte returned to various unrecorded songs from over the course of her 15 years of songwriting. Each of the two albums presents a unique identity, and shows the remarkable breadth of Monte's musicianship, as singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and musicologist. The albums, which were released in Brazil this Spring and have already sold platinum, feature an impressive array of guest collaborators as well, including David Byrne, Philip Glass, Seu Jorge, Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes.
Monte will be announcing Fall 2006 US tour dates to support the album releases in the coming weeks. It will be her first US tour since 2000.
At the end of the tour for her last solo release Memories, Chronicles & Declarations in 2001, Monte had spent almost two solid years traveling the globe and decided to stay home for awhile and focus on studio projects including 2003's runaway success Tribalistas, her collaboration with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes that went quadruple-platinum in Brazil, became a hit in Europe, and earned five nominations at the 4th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in the United States (Tribalistas also performed on the CBS telecast of the Awards that year).
During the recording of Tribalistas Monte became pregnant and gave birth to her first child the same month the CD was released. By necessity, she scaled back all plans for touring and promotion and spent the next couple years at home raising her son. This period gave her the opportunity to explore two projects from which these new albums, Monte's non-identical twins" as she jokingly refers to them, were conceived.
Universo ao meu redor (The Universe Around Me), co-produced by Monte and Mario Caldato, is her first-ever recording to focus entirely on the great Brazilian tradition of Samba. Having grown up immersed in Samba (her father Carlos was one of the directors of the famous Portela Samba school in Rio de Janeiro), Monte was aware that there were many songs that were passed along orally that weren't being recorded and were in danger of being lost. So she began researching these songs and their histories by interviewing Samba composers, as well as their family members & colleagues.
Universo ao meu redor places several of her discoveries that date back as far as the 1940s, including songs by Jayme Silva, D. Yvonne Lara, Casemiro Vieira, Moraes e Galvao, and Argemiro Patrocinio, alongside new Samba songs written by Monte with Brown and Antunes and other contemporary composers such as Paulinho da Viola. Ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne also makes a guest appearance on the song Statue of Liberty," which he co-wrote with Monte.
During the same time that Monte was doing her Samba research, she also began to sort through her large collection of cassette tapes on which she had documented her songwriting process from the beginning of her career. As she went through the hundreds of tapes, digitizing them for preservation, she came across the early sketches of songs that had since been recorded and made popular, but also many songs that she had abandoned and not yet returned to finish.
This inspired Monte, along with songwriting partners both old (Brown, Antunes, Nando Reis, Pedro Baby, and Dadi) and new (Seu Jorge, Adriana Calcanhotto, Marcelo Yuka, Leonardo Reis and Rodrigo Campelo), to readdress some of this unfinished material and bring it to life. The result is the 13 tracks on Infinito Particular (Infinite Private), which was co-produced by Monte and Al Siqueira, and also features arrangements by Eumir Deodato, Joo Donato, and the renowned American Classical composer Philip Glass.
Marisa Monte was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1967. Her father, Carlos Monte, was one of the directors of the Portela Samba school, and she begin her musical studies, including piano, drums & music theory, at a very early age. Despite coming of age during the height of the Musica Popular Brasileira movement -- MPB was the post-bossa nova popular music of Brazil -- Monte's first interest was in Classical music and Opera, and so inspired by her idol Maria Callas she traveled to Italy at age 18 to study Classical singing.
It was while abroad that Monte first fully recognized the musical richness of her homeland, and decided to return to Brazil and join the ranks of the MPB, following in the footsteps of her greatest influences, including Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Nara Leo and Maria Bethnia, and establishing herself as a star in her own right.
Monte's self-titled debut album in 1989 was an instant hit in Brazil, with stunning interpretations of everything from Gershwin and Kurt Weill to Brazilian pop, R&B and an old Carmen Miranda tune. One of her biggest fans, New York City-based guitarist Arto Lindsay, then took on a mentor's role, helping her craft a string of critically acclaimed international releases that further explored her eclectic and original vision. Mais (1991), Rose And Charcoal (1994), A Great Noise (1996), and Memories, Chronicles and Declarations (2000), as well as Tribalistas (2003), her successful collaboration with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes have introduced Monte to a growing global audience.