Zé Ibarra’s voice emits ‘notes played with the soul’ on the singer’s first solo album from Rio de Janeiro
With songs by Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Dora Morelenbaum, Paulo Diniz and Tom Veloso, the album ‘Marquês, 256.’ records the greatness of an interpreter who dialogues with MPB without losing the link with his own generation. Cover of the album ‘Marquês, 256’, by Zé Ibarra Elisa Maciel Album review Title: Marques, 256. Artist: Zé Ibarra Edition: Coala Records Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ♪ First solo album by Zé Ibarra, Marquês, 256. arrives today in the digital world with little novelty content for those who have already seen a live and/or in-person solo show by this artist from Rio de Janeiro who is dedicated to singing, due to the recurrence of the album’s repertoire in these presentations. At the same time, Marquês, 256. is an audiovisual record – captured on the stairs of the building located at the address in Rio de Janeiro alluded to in the album’s title – with a lot of feeling and full of meaning in the singer’s privileged voice and guitar. An official and necessary recording – without the artifices common in the formatting of 21st century music – that perpetuates the growth of the performer in the phonographic market. Revealed in 2014 as vocalist, musician and composer of the Rio de Janeiro band Dônica, Ibarra is currently best known by the young public as a member of the countryman quartet Bala Quero, new to the Brazilian indie scene in 2022. But it is in the singles of his solo discography and in individual shows – like the one done by Ibarra at the opening of Milton Nascimento’s final tour, The Last Music Session (2022) – which the young 26-year-old singer stands tall in the eyes and ears of the public. To the point of having enthralled the older audience that went to see Milton and left amazed by that unknown singer who echoed MPB so present in the memory of this audience. Zé Ibarra is young, but he dialogues with an old song that never gets old – this MPB. Not by chance, there are compositions by two reference MPB icons, Caetano Veloso and Milton Nascimento, among the eight tracks on Marquês, 256. (1943 – 2003) which gave title to Maria Bethânia’s album. Olho d’água is sinuous music (like so many by Caetano) that Ibarra sings with astonishing naturalness. From the equally gigantic work of Milton Nascimento, the eventually female voice of the singer revives San Vicente (1972), a partnership between Milton and Fernando Brant (1946 – 2015) presented at Clube da Esquina (1972), an album that founded the pop movement in Minas Gerais, north from the Donica band. In Marquês, 256., the musical land of Minas Gerais underpins Itamonte (Zé Ibarra, 2018), an authorial song that triggers an affective flash of Ibarra’s childhood in this fertile soil. With or without the use of falsetto, Zé Ibarra is in tune and sings with soul and with that indefinable something else that characterizes great artists, including those out of tune. This soul is fully present in the duly melancholy approach of Vou-me tarde (1972), a partnership between Pernambuco singer-songwriter Paulo Diniz (1940 – 2022) and Roberto José, presented by Diniz on the album, …E agora, José? (1972), guided by the poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902 – 1987). Back cover of the album ‘Marquês, 256.’, by Zé Ibarra Disclosure However, what values Marquês, 256. is the fact that the disc does not limit itself to offering sensitive approaches to songs from times gone by, such as Vai posterior da vida que ela te Waiting (Guilherme Lamounier, 1974), appeal of tense times that Ibarra had already made in a single edited in 2020, also a tough year for the world and especially for Brazil. There are four recent compositions that resonate musically and emotionally with the older songs. The already mentioned Itamonte, a song from the still unpublished second album by the band Dônica, attests that the singer is also a good composer in an impression reinforced by the song Como I wanted to come back (Lucas Nunes, Tom Veloso and Zé Ibarra, 2018), worthy of appearing in any MPB album from the 1970s. Theme written by two composers who are friends and contemporaries of the artist, Dó a dó (Dora Morelenbaum and Tom Veloso, 2020) – a song that marked the phonographic debut of Dora Morelenbaum, Ibarra’s colleague in the band, three years ago Bala Desire – is another modern jewel that justifies itself in the emotional arc of the album Marquês, 256. for young people looking for a place in the world, among loves, dreams and disappointments. It is impressive how, from the stairs of a building in the south of Rio de Janeiro, armed only with a guitar, the singer echoes so many dense emotions, but without falling into melodrama, in this Marquês, 256. , there are “notes played with the soul” in this impressive first solo album by the artist.