Nara Leao
Dez Anos Depois


4.8
classic

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
August 10th, 2013 | 47 replies | 4,212 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


Those who have heard Nara Leao's double-album Dez Anos Depois (English translation: Ten Years After) often consider it a crowning achievement of Brazilian music; those who haven't might reasonably ask why. Released quietly in 1971 by Polydor Records, containing no original material and recorded somewhat haphazardly in two separate sessions in Paris, France and Rio, Brazil, the album doesn't have an aura of measured success about it. On the surface, Dez Anos Depois appears to be a sort of slapdash compilation, its first disc completely acoustic and recorded in Paris, its second recorded in Paris and Rio, where three Brazilian arrangers complemented Leao's acoustic demos with strings, harpsichord, and woodwinds. Though information on the album is sparse even on the bountiful Internet, it seems reasonable to conclude that these embellishments were recorded without any input from Leao herself.

All this just makes the magic of this album a little more alluring, its status as a hidden gem all the more secure. Dez Anos Depois sounds in execution not like an aimlessly compiled selection of bossa nova covers but rather like a loving and intimate performance of the same--in its own way, a perfect album. Sliding into a rendition of Jobim's “Insensatez,” Leao's voice, hypnotically double-tracked, is immediately striking. It is a gorgeous and delicate thing of beauty, always at ease with the arrangements surrounding it, a voice of extraordinary restraint only revealed upon multiple listens. For my money, Dez Anos Depois contains one of the most singular album-length vocal performances ever, even if Leao barely exceeds a whisper on most tracks.

What makes this album a true classic, however, is its impeccable matching of that individual performance to production and song selection. The songs here are uniformly excellent, from Jobim's classic “Garota de Ipanema” to Baden Powell's more obscure “Vou Por Ai,” each with a memorable melody adeptly sung by Leao. But also crucial are the arrangements on display, most of them minimal, drawing out each melodic phrase with grace. I've always especially loved Leao's rendition of “Samba de Una Nota So,” a song that requires impressive vocal agility; the pinging notes of the multi-tracked guitars perfectly introduce the song's brisk chorus, providing a moment of reflection before the proceedings continue. Every song on here contains these moments of delight, exposing a wonderful unity between the musicians involved--all the more remarkable given that some of them were never in the same room.

Even with all this at its side, Dez Anos Depois seems to demand an analysis removed from our usual standards. Though it is a masterful album by any objective measure, what I remember and appreciate most about it is how it feels like home. I click play--often with shuffle on, recommended to give the second side its due exposure--and feel enveloped, comforted, even in love. I firmly believe in the power of music to challenge us or to motivate us toward some specific end, but it's albums like these that mean the most to me. To truly feel welcomed by a piece of music is a rare thing indeed, and it is a testament to the power of this album that it sustains that feeling for over an hour. In this way, though its creation may have been a thing of chance, Dez Anos Depois strikes me as one of the most important albums ever recorded.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2013



15003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

probably a 5
comments and criticism as always welcome

Cygnatti
August 9th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

never thought I'd ever see a review for her. this is great stuff. I dig everything I've heard from her so far.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2013



15003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

yeah she has other great albums that definitely shouldnt be ignored in the face of this one but this is too greati mo

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2013



15003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Hype train!!!!

Cygnatti
August 9th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this really isn't sputnik's thing.

also, it's a crime that bossa nova doesn't have a tag yet.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
August 9th 2013



4950 Comments


thanks for this, will check

robin
Emeritus
August 9th 2013



4247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

help me listen to this alex

UrsaMajor
August 9th 2013



41 Comments


I've seen this mentioned for years in music circles, but I've never checked it out, likely out of sheer laziness. Going to hunt
this down now.

Good review, too. I liked how you incorporated your personal connection into the last paragraph smoothly.

porch
August 9th 2013



8453 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"this really isn't sputnik's thing"

i dunno, i think any semi-respectable user would be won over by insensatez. beautiful record, may as well up that rating

PunchforPunch
August 9th 2013



6184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mpb like Chico Buarque? i need this!

porch
August 9th 2013



8453 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

better than chico buarque

PunchforPunch
August 9th 2013



6184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's bold man but that makes me even more interested in this

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2013



15003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

My favorite on this used to be samba una nota but it's so hard to pick. Really loving Bonita lately

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2013



5992 Comments


Great review, checked some YT links for this album and they sound great.

Digging: Lisa Gerrard - Twilight Kingdom

Chrisjon89
August 10th 2013



3486 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet. awesome to see this reviewed. basically a 5. should 5.

hard to get a hold of this one at a reasonable price too.

liledman
August 10th 2013



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh Nara....

9MgTar
August 10th 2013



12 Comments


oh great after a list from punchforpunch now i found this! thank you, Robertsona.

WeepingBanana
August 10th 2013



10078 Comments


i've only heard several various songs from this gal. need to check a whole album

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2013



5992 Comments


I just found that her entire work is streaming for free from the site her daughter launched in her memory:

http://deepbrazil.com/2012/01/19/listen-to-all-nara-leao-songs-free/
http://www.naraleao.com.br


The stream for this album:
http://www.naraleao.com.br/index.php?p=discografia/1971-dez-anos-depois

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2013



10307 Comments


4.8 certainly doesn't sound like a true classic : 0

Digging: Literature - Chorus



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