Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tirez Pas Sur L'Ambiance: Tuca

Tuca is a personal favourite musical artist of mine - she is utterly unknown but as I plunged into the investigations of my two main music obsessions of the last few years - sixties/seventies pop from France and Brazil - her name kept coming up.

Tuca put out a couple of records in Brazil in the sixties but then decamped to France, fleeing the dictatorship that took particular trouble to crack down on the nation's artists. In one year (1971) she arranged and played on two records I would take with me to that mythical desert island... Nara Leão's Dez Años Depois (a two-record set of Jobim songs) and Françoise Hardy's La Question (Tuca is also credited as a co-writer on this, Hardy's best record).

Both records are immaculately produced - spare Brazilian acoustic instrumentation captured in the air of a Parisian recording studio... to hear them both together is to realize that Tuca was probably what made the records as great as they are, which was confirmed once I tracked down a copy of her final solo record, also recorded in France, Dracula I Love You (1974), which is steeped in her unorthdox approach (bossa nova guitar enhanced with both symphonic and electronic effects). She died a couple of years later, back in Brazil, her death attributed to an extreme weight loss.

Here's the first track from Dracula I Love You...

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