Introduction and Discography:
Solo Releases CDs
In 1998, Manu released his first CD, Baião da Flor, using the pen name Manu Mindlin. The CD includes participation by the sambista Germano Mathias, an icon on the São Paulo music scene and a constant interlocutor. Three years later, as Manu Lafer, Manu released Doze Fotogramas (2001), which, like the previous album, was produced by Alê Siqueira and Leandro Bomfim.Manu recorded O Patriota (2003) in partnership with Danilo Caymmi — co-composer of all of the songs and Manu’s closest partner since then. The album was produced by Swami Jr. and Fábio Tagliaferri, and includes “Pedir pra voltar,” the first partnership between brothers Danilo and Dori Caymmi — sons of the legendary Brazilian composer Dorival Caymmi — with lyrics by Manu. The recording assembled the Caymmi brothers and their sister, Nana. The album also includes a song based on a story by Dorival Caymmi, “Zepelim.” After seeing Manu play with Danilo, Dorival Caymmi declared enjoying the guitar’s style of the song.
Manu’s fourth CD, Grandeza (2005) — again produced by Alê Siqueira, like his subsequent albums — was recorded in Salvador, Bahia, with an emphasis on dialogue between percussionists and lyrics addressing themes of Brazilian forests and indigenous tribes (also known as indians or native americans).
Manu has long worked with the native americans, first through his travels with his mother, the renowned anthropologist Betty Mindlin, and later through his work as a pediatrician focused on indigenous health. On Grandeza, Manu also experimented with palindromes that had somehow been ignored by the Guinness Book of World Records.
In 2008, celebrating ten years of his musical career, Manu released the DVD A Lente do Homem, his only live recording, which features appearances and extras with the literary critic Antonio Candido de Mello e Souza, another of Manu’s partners; Dori and Danilo Caymmi; Germano Mathias; Mateus Aleluia; and Luiz Tatit. Fabio Tagliaferri – a close partner since Manu’s first CD – was responsible for musical direction for the DVD, which was directed by Déo Teixeira. Ubaldo Versolato (Banda Mantiqueira) and Mario Manga (Premeditando o Breque), a constant partner of Manu’s, were also in the band on the DVD.
In 2008 Manu released Ta Shemá (a Hebrew expression meaning “come listen”). A guitar-and-vocal apporach, loyal to the original sound of compositions, each in a different rhythm, and with innovative arrangements by Lincoln Olivetti, Jacques Morelembaum, Dori Caymmi, Luiz Brasil and André Mehmari.
In 2009, Manu recorded the album Mané Mandou, with band and brass sextet arrangements by Lincoln Olivetti. This more danceable, pop album was released in 2012, after Manu returned from a year and a half abroad as a medical researcher at the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C.
In 2010, Manu participated in the Berlin Water Music Festival, and had the honor of hearing his CD Ta Shemá broadcast by Radio DeLuxe, the U.S. radio program produced by John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey.
In 2014, two CDs came out simultaneously: Canto Casual and Someone Like You. The simultaneous release echoed Caetano Veloso’s simultaneous manifesto release of his 1975 albums Jóia and Qualquer Coisa, which Manu pays tribute to in the track “O Milênio e o Minuto” on the album Canto Casual.
Canto Casual was arranged by Letieres Leite and included Manu’s Portuguese version of the unreleased namesake song (or in English, Perfect Afternoon) by the guitarist John Pizzarelli and singer Jessica Molaskey, with a catchy refrain. The song became later a number at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, with a performance by Daniel Jobim.
Someone Like You borrowed its title from one of Doris Day’s songs in the 1947 movie My Dream is Yours. This album showcases Manu’s singing talent (in English) and his tireless research into the American Songbook. It includes arrangements by the late Lincoln Olivetti, crowning eleven years of professional collaboration.
In 2015, Manu recorded another album of renditions – Como Tu Ninguém – which features arrangements by Luiz Brasil, with the participation of Mateus Aleluia, bass in the vocal ensemble Tincoãs. The album represents the fruit of exhaustive research into Brazilian repertory and rhythms. Much of this research was done using the incredible resources available through the Ao Chiado Brasileiro collection. The album features Gabi Guedes on percussion and participation of the singer Mariana Bernardes and the doctor Chico Aguiar.
Manu is a prolific songwriter, but he has left many unreleased songs aside. He has dedicated himself to recording other composers’ songs that he feels the need to remember (also paying tribute to their original interpreters) and rescue from their undeserved oblivion.
English Version Reviewed by Victoria Broadus