Ceumar

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(Photo by Elizabeth Mills)

Having lived twice in Brazil (including the occasion of my birth), I have come to adore Brazilian music.  Though Brazil boasts many greats, like folk artist Dorival Caymmi and bossa nova pioneer Carlos Antonio Jobim, my favorite Brazilian vocalist is Ceumar.  This lovely woman’s lovely name means Sky and Sea.  Smitten by her silky, perfect voice, and inspired by her versatile repertoire, I wrote her this poem.

CEUMAR

Ceumar:
where ocean touches sky,
blue on blue,
often tender, assuaging,
at times roiling and violent
and black,
where the boundary
always is unclear,
where always I hear
music: of earth, of water,
of heaven.

I messaged this poem to Ceumar through Facebook, and she responded with grace and appreciation.

My favorite of all Ceumar’s songs is “Jabuticaba Madura”, which she composed herself and sings solo while playing acoustic guitar.  (You can watch her on You Tube.)  In the song, Ceumar compares the small, brown Jabuticaba fruit to a lover’s eyes.  Here is my rough translation of the lyrics.  (I apologize for the loss of nuance and rhyme.)

Ripe Jabuticaba fruit,
not yet fallen underfoot,
hovers shining in the tree,
giving me the desire
to know what it is.
Thus are your eyes.
Who can resist
discovering their dark secret.
Let me be that woman.

Let me climb up to you.
Let me choose you.
Let me taste your sweetness.
Let me lose myself in you.
Blackberry, plum, guava,
mango, breadfruit:
none can compare.
Let me give you a small, dark piece
of the fruit of my heart.

In her music, Ceumar combines quintessential Brazilian sounds and rhythms with the instruments and styles of their European and African roots, including the clarinet, mandolin, accordion, and violin.  Her repertoire avoids shallow pop in favor of mature, deep, moving, and fun music and lyrics.  In my opinion, Ceumar is a genius of Brazilian folk and popular music and culture.  And her voice is nothing short of heavenly.

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2 thoughts on “Ceumar

    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Jeanette. I discovered her on a Brazilian sampler CD. Then I bought “Sons do Brasil” which has “Jabuticaba Madura”. She released “Silencio” recently. Every track contains its own brilliance.

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