Vitto Meirelles, samba goes away – Release

As fertile as he is enigmatic, the Brazilian guitarist enjoyed sensitive, complex pieces, imbued with his popular culture. He died on Saturday.

The last time we listened to him, it was in the vast chapel of the Père-Lachaise crematorium, for a short guitar-voice solo in tribute to his friend Marc-Antoine Moreau, the producer who had given him his chance. seventeen years earlier. It was in 2000 with Rio de Janeiro Ritual, a record labeled Erato whose title perfectly matched the skin of Vitto Meirelles, a character worthy of lads by Pasolini.

Little curly, mischievous eyes and a graceful smile, this Brazilian person embodied everything that goes on behind the word “Carioca”, translate the natives of Rio. This is where this guitarist was born fifty years ago, remaining mysterious about his marital status (he used to say that “Artists have no age”). In this album, he invited the listener to a sound stroll in his hometown, where he knew every nook and cranny. And he finally made himself known in France after years of zoning like so many others in the shadow of the glory of the great masters of Brazilian music.

Soft and fragile voice

From favelas to posh neighborhoods, the one referred to as a simple Vitto had this admirable ability to dialogue with anyone. From the best-known cross-random encounters of encounters that will have constantly fed the imagination of this nocturnal animal to the less famous, to which he paid attention without a priori. On the French side, there were Vincent Segal and Seb Martel, Agnès Jaoui and then Christophe with whom he spent a few intense nights believing it. On the Brazilian side, it was Kassin and Berna Ceppas, like seniors Gilberto Gil or Jaques Morelenbaum. There are many others (Arto Lindsay, to name just one) that are enough to measure the extent of his understanding of the world of music.

Nevertheless, this fertile composer, having benefited from the advice of Yvonne Desportes (First Grand Prix de Rome in 1932) in terms of harmony, was above all a remarkable guitarist, steeped in sambas. He knew the vast repertoire, from the oldest to the most recent, which he could perform in his voice so soft, so fragile, for hours on end. This is undoubtedly why Henri Salvador, who knew a lot about sensitive strings, invited him to his album My dear and tender in 2003.

Since then, Vitto has divided his time between the two shores of the Atlantic, between the Latin Quarter where he remained until the end in the face of illness and Ipanema where he grew up, frequenting high like three mangoes the barzinhos, these places of popular culture. where his father took him. For twenty-one years and Rio de Janeiro Ritual, Vitto will have continued to record, broadcasting a lot on the networks, too little given his talent in the official channels, able to greet his ultimate master João Gilberto in an astonishing reggae pastiche, and Michael Jackson for one Come King. This theme provides the title of a collection in which he praised the Creole and the cannibal, like a self-analysis of the nature of this Afro-Brazilian who has devoured so much and so much music. His last record, So cool, released in 2019, showed him naked, guitar in hand, gaze bent. It is this image on the cover that we will keep in mind, that of an artist who could touch grace in the fairest stripping.


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