© 2024 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Singer And Composer Goes Home To Make Brazilan Music


Here's a new album proudly stamped made in Brazil.


ELIANE ELIAS: (Singing in Portuguese).

SIMON: Eliane Elias, the singer, pianist and composer has been living in the U.S. since 1981. But for the first time since then, she has recorded in her native Brazil. She joins us now from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

ELIANE ELIAS: No, thank you very much for having me.

SIMON: You were born in Sao Paulo, as I understand it.


SIMON: You were teaching in a music school by the time you were 15?

ELIAS: That's right. I actually went through a whole program. I started on the music school when I was 13 as a child prodigy. And by the time I was 15, I started teaching. I also started playing, you know, in nightclubs. And it wasn't much after that that I joined Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho. Vinicius de Moraes is - was the greatest poet Brazil ever had and was the co-writer with Jobim.

SIMON: Antonio Carlos Jobim...


SIMON: The, I think it's safe to say, preeminent name in Brazilian music - "The Girl From Ipanema" - for that matter "The Boy From Ipanema..."


SIMON: ...And so many great songs. You play a very popular Jobim tune on this album. Let's listen to "Waters Of March."


ELIAS: (Singing in Portuguese).

SIMON: I think it's the sprightliest song about rain I've ever heard.

ELIAS: Isn't this a beautiful song?

SIMON: Yeah.

ELIAS: Yes. Do you want to know something interesting about this song?

SIMON: Yeah, please.

ELIAS: Is that you brought up "The Girl From Ipanema"...

SIMON: Yeah.

ELIAS: ...As being such a well-known and it is internationally. But actually, the research - most recent research in Brazil shows that Jobim's - Antonio Carlos Jobim's most-covered song is "Waters Of March." And when he wrote this song, he was staying in a little house that he had in the mountains. And he was going through a very difficult time. When - he was feeling depressed, and he was feeling that he was no longer relevant and that his music had reached an end. And if you can hear the English lyrics, which happened - also, I have the wonderful Take 6 singing with me on this song, and they sing the English lyrics. You can hear that he talks about being the end of the road.


ELIANE ELIAS AND TAKE 6: (Singing) It's a sliver of glass, it's a life, it's a sun, it's a night, it's a death, it's a trap, it's a gun...

ELIAS: And he talks about "The Waters Of March. But then at the end, you know, in the promise of joy in your heart still. And this tune actually changed, again, his life because it became an incredible success and a tune that, again, took him internationally everywhere. And he - he said it was his therapy.


ELIANE ELIAS AND TAKE 6: (Singing in Portuguese). It's the joy in your heart.

SIMON: I want to listen to another song. This album is co-produced by Marc Johnson, who is your husband.

ELIAS: Yes, and bassist.

SIMON: And bassist and - well, we want to listen to "The Luck Of Love," where he is playing the bass.



ELIAS: (Singing in Portuguese).

SIMON: What happens when a married couple performs a love song?

ELIAS: (Laughter) It happens - what you just heard - a married couple in love performing a love song together. Yeah, you know, it's...

SIMON: It's never just a song?

ELIAS: It's not just a song. I mean, you know, the music is really for both of us. You know, it's a form of expression of the deepest feelings that we have. And of course, when playing a song that has this kind of depth, you know, harmonically and the words, of course, there is something very, very special. And that's how we express ourselves, and you can hear how it came out.

SIMON: And I gather you have a daughter, Amanda Brecker, who sings...


SIMON: ...With you on another track.

ELIAS: Yes, beautiful Amanda. Yes.

SIMON: Well, let's listen to "Some Enchanted Place."


ELIANE ELIAS AND AMANDA BRECKER: (Singing) There's a sun rising high in the sky today. A bird is high on the way. There's a distant sound of so many children at play and all that happiness brings. Drifting far away to some enchanted place I know in my heart where I'm wrapped up in the arms of that someone I love.

ELIAS: Amanda is an extremely talented person, and she's like a sponge. You know, she'll listen to something once and that's it. She knows it, and she - she can phrase. I mean, her rhythm is incredible, intonation, her musicality. I mean, she showed that to me and to her father from the time that she was a couple months old...

SIMON: Her...

ELIAS: ...When I would...

SIMON: Her father, we should explain, is Randy Brecker.

ELIAS: Is Randy Brecker yes, the trumpeter Randy Brecker. And we knew of her talent. I mean, as a little baby I would sing to her and I would leave the last note for her to sing. In whatever key I would sing, she would finish with that last note completely in tune. I mean, we could tell the musicality from start.

SIMON: Music obviously can be so beautiful, but as I don't have to tell you, when you do it for a living, it can be a tough life. Did you ever think this is something you worried about your daughter doing?

ELIAS: I know it's a hard life, and it has been. Being on the road, if you want to have a family, if you have a husband, if you have kids, a relationship, it's very, very difficult. But I have to say that I am so happy to do what I do, and that's what I live for. I mean, I love music. I love to perform. And if this is what Amanda decided to do, which she did, I'm happy for her because she if she's as happy as I am, then that's great. You know, one has to follow, you know, follow their heart and do what makes them happy.

SIMON: Eliane Elias, her new album "Made In Brazil." She joined us from New York. Thank you so much for being with us.

ELIAS: Thank you, Scott. It's wonderful to be here.


ELIAS: (Singing in Portuguese). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.