Karrin Allyson – Imagina

Karrin Allyson
Concord – 2008

From Karrin’s liner notes: I began this recording project as I do all others, wanting to sing songs I love with players I love. Since there are far too many songs and players I love to put them all on a single album, one has to choose, of course. During this process, my dear friend and “Brazilian mentor,” L�cia Guimar�es, was coaching me on my Portuguese pronunciation for the various songs I had already chosen. At the time, I had been reading a lot about Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and was lamenting the fact that I had not chosen more songs that were penned by them-there are so many great ones. One particular day that L�cia and I were together, I expressed this idea to her and she proceeded to show me several lesser known (at least to me) gems by Jobim (such as “Imagina” and “Correnteza”), de Moraes (such as “Medo de Amar”), and Jobim/de Moraes collaborations (such as “Estrada Branca”)-songs that I immediately fell in love with.

So, although the concept of recording an album of Brazilian songs wasn’t changing, many of the song choices were-and this was less than three weeks before we were scheduled to record! For me-a non-native speaker of Portuguese-this presented a real challenge: learning all that Portuguese and new material in such a short amount of time. But, as Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a great idea and not nearly enough time.” Also it has been said that “revelations take time.” Ha! With this in mind, we went a step further as I was also very keen on making this recording “user friendly” to non-Portuguese speakers/listeners. I wanted folks to get these songs no matter what language they speak, while trying to remain as true to the Brazilian feel and sound as possible.

Enter Chris Caswell. On our previous recording project, Footprints, Chris wrote beautiful lyrics to well-known jazz instrumental standards. Why not tap his talents for this project too? He was (of course) game, and I am delighted to be the first to record his new English lyrics to Vinicius de Moraes’s “Medo de Amar” and Edu Lobo’s “Pra Dizer Adeus.” It’s hard for me now to imagine these songs without his lyrics. Along with Chris’s new lyrics, I’ve also included a very sensual English lyric by Paul Williams to Rosa Passos’s song “Outono,” lovely English lyrics by Susannah McCorkle (“A Felicidade” and “Vivo Sonhando”), Jon Hendricks’s classic English lyric to “Desafinado,” and the sweet English lyrics of Gene Lees to “Estrada Branca” and “Double Rainbow.” So, while many of the songs on this recording feature the alluring beauty of the original Portuguese lyrics only (what a gorgeous, poetic sounding language!), I am pleased to be able to present several of the songs with wonderful English lyrics too.

But truly the most important language in this project, and easily the most universally understood, is that of the Brazilian music-that evocative, intoxicating combination of unforgettable melodies, rich harmonies, and infectious rhythms. Whatever your native language is, I hope that these Songs of Brasil speak directly to your heart, as they have to mine.

–Karrin Allyson