Rio De Janeiro native Rogê (‘hoe-jay’) recently played the SXSW Music Festival in Austin where he showcased his abilities to hold an audience’s attention with just his guitar and voice on some Brazilian classics like “Canto de Ossanha”, “Berimbau” and “Mais Que Nada”. Having studied music at Rio’s UNIRIO School of Music, Rogê plays the guitar very well and has a relaxed, charming voice that easily seduces its listeners. After the show, however, I took his new CD Fala Geral home with me and heard the original songs he has composed himself and with the likes of other up and coming songwriters like Seu Jorge and Gabriel Moura. All I can say is that I hope he comes back to SXSW next year and performs his original material!
Fala Geral (General Discourse) is a mix of bossa nova, samba and other Brazilian styles of music. There’s a bit of reggae as well. The opening song, Fala Brasil (Brazil Speaks), is a bossa nova shout out to various Brazilian cities, regions, and people in Brazil. It reminds me of Gilberto Gil’s song, “Aquele Abraco”, embracing his homeland after returning from exile.
Other standout tracks are: A Nega E O Malandro (The Woman and the Hustler), a sambalanço (a style popularized by Jorge Ben) describing a woman’s revenge on her unfaithful boyfriend; O Guerreiro Segue (The Warrior Goes On), a reggae anthem to fighting on through life’s daily struggles; Amor A Favela (Love for the Neighborhood), a song written in tribute to the great samba composer Cartola, featuring the lovely cello of Jacques Morelenbaum, which laments the changes for the worse in Rio’s hillside slums ; Mapa Da Lapa (Map of Lapa), a samba-choro tribute to a bohemian neighborhood in Rio famous for its restaurants and nightclubs which include Carioca Da Gema, where Rogê often plays; and finally, São Geraldo (Saint Gerald), a Bahian afoxé inspired by the richness of fragrances and food on a plantation for which the song is named. – Michael Crockett, host of Horizontes, Music of Latin America on KUT-FM in Austin Texas.
Fala Geral is Rogê’s 4th CD. He released his first album in 1993 with a band called Rogê e Bandavera. A few years later he initiated an annual summer concert series called the River of Truth (Rio Da Verdade) Project featuring weekly concerts where he was able to play with invited notable and influential musicians such as Joao Bosco, Bezerra Da Silva, Luis Melodia, Marcelo D2, Seu Jorge, Moraes Moreira, and Beth Carvalho. Those years led to his first solo release in 2003 simply called Rogê and a subsequent release in 2008 called Brasil Em Brasa. In 2009, he and his songwriting partners (Luis Carlinhos, Baia, & Gabriel Moura released a recording from an ongoing acoustic concert series called 4 Cabeça. The CD won a Brazilian Music Award for the Best MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) group. Fala Geral was released in Brazil in 2010 and is now available in the U.S.