A counterpoint to the popular rise of Tropicália, Valença was a native of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. He mixed several styles of Northeastern traditional music, like baião, coco, toada, maracatu, frevo, caboclinhos, embolada and repentes with newer pop influences and effects that often blew through the winds of psychedelia. He was raised to practice law but chose another route, finding solace in music, his first true love. Just as with Tropicália there’s a melding of flavors and styles in Valença music, finding a distinct modern upgrade for the traditional styles, creating something that is distinctly Brazilian and yet still on par with some of the best fuzzed out, pulsing rock of the ’60s and ’70s. His first solo album, after leaving group Ave Sangria, Molhado De Duor, is often considered a high water mark and its been generally out of print on vinyl since its release, finding a new home this year on Sol Re Sol Records.
The record has often found its way into high critical praise, listed as one of the best Brazilian records of the (or any) period and stacked up against the likes of Tom Ze, Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Jorge Ben or Gal Costa, that’s a high achievement indeed. Valença continued a long career that was championed by large audiences, eventually recording more than twenty albums and traveling largely outside of Brazil. The artist has never really retired, releasing works up through 2014 and continuing to capture the imagination of the populace, even including his works in popular soap operas of the day (a fairly common Brazilian practice). Molhado De Suor, however, still stands as a high achievement for the artist, a soaring album that feels strangely timeless, even with its use of effects that might damn it to datedness. Its a vibrant and loose album, bustling with rhythm and showcasing Valença’s powerful vocals. Glad to have this one back on the wax, where it belongs.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.