Tom Ze's standing as one of the most innovative and restlessly experimental musicians of Brazil's Tropicalia movement (and he had some stiff competition) was generally underappreciated until David Byrne signed him to the Luaka Bop label in the late 1980s, helping to generate some long-overdue attention. Ze was 70 years old at the time ESTUDANDO O PAGODE was released in 2006, and, by all appearances, still going strong. The album finds the artist continuing to invent at a furious pace by mixing pop, rock, and Brazilian forms with lo-fi techniques, avant guard principles, and--notably--the operatic form. Arranged in three acts, ESTUDANDO O PAGODE traipses through history and mythology to explore a vision of women as seen through the male gaze. In anyone else's hands such a high-minded concept might seem awkward and pretentious, but Ze's charming popcraft and eccentric musical approach are playful and appealing enough to keep the endeavor intriguing. Ambitious, thought-provoking, but most of all enjoyable...
ReviewsYou say you don't like opera? Well, what about a rock opera? You know, Hair, or Tommy by the Who? Well, now we're getting closer to the essence of this 'operetta'. We're in the right ballpark, but we need to move out of the arena. Tom ZÃ©'s Estudando o Pagode is more like a pop opera ¦ a 'popera', if you will (hey, if there can be such a thing as a hip-hopera, then all bets are off). So, fans of ZÃ© and dislikers of opera can all breathe easier. Despite the organizational framework”the philosophical foundation, declaring this disc to be an operetta”the result is much more closely aligned with the maverick Brazilian's pop discography than it is with the canons of Verdi or Puccini.
126191|"Don't fail to obtain this recording, even if you have to go to lengths to get it. You will be amazed by this music, and you will not tire of it." - Stephen Shotwell
126192|"Vox Balaenae was, along with Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children, among my favorite 20th century works as a child. Far from tedious, I find this work to be captivating, albeit difficult to penetrate at times as is most of Crumb's work... Jan DeGaetani is marvelous as is usual in this work." - Christopher Forbes
126193|"I can't imagine that anyone interested in music wouldn't find this CD immediately enchanting. I give this my highest recommendation." - Christopher Forbes
126194|It is solid, virtuoso string writing that grows organically out of the first notes and is, in the final analysis fabulously effective. ...delicious music, and rather well played by the one orchestra that did more to promote his work than any other: The Philadelphia Orchestra. These works are among the best of their kind, and to know them is to be drawn into musical growth and maturity." - Avrohom Leichtling