Words by Russ Slater
Brazilian septuagenarian soares on
Elza Soares has been one of Brazil’s most controversial samba singers ever since her career began in the late 1950s, always following her own path and building an eclectic oeuvre in the process. Her latest is potentially her boldest release to date. Joining forces with a group of musicians and songwriters who’ve forged an exciting new samba scene in São Paulo – including members of Metá Metá, as well as Bixiga 70’s brass section – Soares has directed her years of experience into a fiery mix of original, uncompromising tracks.
At its best the results are exhilarating and unlike anything you’ve heard before: ‘Pra Fuder’ is half-samba, half-punk, ending in a blitz of vocals, guitars and horns; while ‘Maria da Vila Matilde’ is pure menace, with Soares almost rapping over twisted guitar lines. More traditional is the achingly sorrowful ‘Solto’, on which her voice is simply accompanied by guitar and plaintive strings. Soares’ honest and immediate delivery steals the show.
Now she is in her late 70s, you can’t help but feel a heaviness in your heart when you hear lines such as this, from the title-track: ‘Woman at the end of the world I am, I go on singing till the end.’