So Long, Saudade

Brazilian composer Antonio Adolfo teaches the sounds of his homeland

That demo is Malnic's cue to begin a short class on how you actually learn to sing the song. First, she stands by the piano explaining "lower abdominal breathing" by snapping her fingers as she lets the air out of her diaphragm, a melodic "aaaaah" sliding out of her mouth.

"In our first lesson, I sometimes have students lie down on the floor to feel the difference between how they breathe when they're standing up and when they're sleeping," she says. Then she demonstrates the difference between singing with a relaxed jaw and singing with a talking voice. Coordinating the breathing/singing process without thinking usually takes students about two months of weekly classes, provided they bring a tape recorder for later reference and practice at home, she explains.

When she finally breaks into full song — in English for the non-Lusophones — her voice projects dreamily over Adolfo's piano playing, carefully pronouncing the cadence of the opening lyrics.

"I think Brazilian music can be in all places just like the way it was combined with jazz years ago," Antonio Adolfo says.
c. stiles
"I think Brazilian music can be in all places just like the way it was combined with jazz years ago," Antonio Adolfo says.

Details

The Brazilian workshops run every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until September 22 at Hollywood Productions & Partners, 2040 Sherman St., Hollywood. Classes range from $25 to $200. Call 786-566-1527, or visit www.antonioadolfo.net.

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"Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking/And when she passes, each one she passes goes 'aaaah,' " Malnic sings, sighing contentedly into the last word.

The piano and the vocals shift into slow gear.

"Ooooh, but I watch her so sadly/How can I tell her I love her? ..."

In Brazilian fashion, the melancholy tune ends with Adolfo and Malnic breaking into triumphant laughter, taunting away the pains of unrequited love.

"That's something else that we have to offer," Adolfo says, "not just how to play or how to sing but how to interpret and feel the Brazilian atmosphere... We're not afraid to express our emotions."

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