Now this is a blog exclusive. Hopefully, we all now know who Tuca is. Tuca, to refresh your memory, was the guitarist and arranger for both Francoise Hardy’s “La Question” and Nara Leao’s “Dez Anos Depois”, supremely gifted in creating an unheard of mix of both Brazilian samba/bossanova music and European Chanson style and composition. Both of these albums were masterpieces of both genres. However, few people knew what or heard of anything that transpired afterwards from Tuca. She, to provide a little background, was born in Brazil but spent a lot of her life trying to make it France. She had a husky demeanor in both voice and look, both of which caused her consternation and pain almost all her life. She released early albums full of tempting european influenced sambas, but again her image and aloof demeanor caused her to lose the backing of any record label that would sign her. Truly distraught, and lost, some of her early songs caught the eye of Francoise Hardy and she invited this reclusive artist to come and help her form the “La Question” album.
I won’t regale too much of that story quite yet. However, know that the “La Question” album was the work of two women who spent time practicing and playing all those unique guitar parts countless hours together, and in many cases Francoise spent countless time just trying to keep Tuca from leaving the sessions because of Tuca’s emotional problems. Somehow, Tuca expressed a genuinely dark, sophisticated sound that Francoise wanted…and later Nara Leao spun into her own Brazilian web. Its just a wonder they managed to get her on tape altogether and do it so successfully. With all this success behind her, Tuca came back to Brazil and was signed by the Som Livre label. This label gave her free reign to sing and play how she wanted to. Well, that was something…the Gallic sound she kneaded before, was now joined by an English neo-pastoral tradition (very similar to Pentangle or Trees), and some cool synthesizer sounds she was experimenting with. Her voice now vacillated around all the styles, exposing marvelous phrasing from such a limited vocal range.
Its a shame that only 4 years later Tuca would pass away because of a weight reduction regimen she followed in order to attempt to strike it bigger. The album itself should have spurred that fame. In the end, its another 1974 album that sounds so far ahead from its time, and to be honest from our time, that its a shame hardly anyone has heard it or knows about it. I’ll link to the album via the Youtubes, but if you feel like listening to the album somewhere else I’ve provided a zip file with all the audio tracks. The album itself has never been reissued and this for sure is the only place you’ll find it anywhere. Heck, I’ll just go relisten to “Ilha Do Quarto Azul” from this album again, man what a brilliant track.