José Mauro

A Viagem Das Horas

Far Out • 2021

There are several legends surrounding José Mauro. Until a few years ago, the rumor persisted that the Brazilian musician had died in a car accident after his debut album »Obnoxious« from 1970. Or made to disappear. Jose Mauro was active during the time of the Brazilian military dictatorship and it was rumored that the junta was behind his death. His second album, »A Viagem Das Horas,« released in 1976, was therefore considered a posthumous work. However, when »Obnoxious« was reissued in 2016, the British label Far Out had already learned that Mauro was well and merely leading a reclusive life. According to their own information, the label now obtained Mauro’s highest personal blessing for the reissue of Mauro’s last album to date – with three previously unreleased tracks originally intended for the record. What may have fostered the otherworldly impression of this affair for so long is the character of the music itself. Mauro mixes orchestral and big band approaches, common in the Música Popular Brasileira of his day, with spartan folk arrangements. In his case, however, the sounds of his guitar and the accompanying candomblé percussion are less reminiscent of João Gilberto’s »João« album than of a Latin American version of Nick Drake, if a comparison is permitted. Which may also be due to Mauro’s warm-toned baritone. His voice speaks less of controlled lightness than of contained sadness. A weighted beauty that can be heard as a silent form of protest. It strives resolutely elsewhere. Whereby this elsewhere does not necessarily have to come after life.