Milton Nascimento: Ofetório




Milton Nascimento (idealization, arrangements and conducting)


Missa dos Quilombos (Verve 314 513 034)

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Milton Nascimento (idealization, arrangements and conducting),

Celsinho Moreira (guitar), Paulinho Carvalho (bass), Flávio Venturini (keyboards), Frank Colon (percussion), Jorginho do Atabaque (percussion), Darcy Jongueira (percussion), Caboclinho (percussion), Robertinho Silva (drums, percussion, percussion arrangements), Sérgio Santos (chorus), Edir Passos (chorus), Alexandrino Ducarmo (chorus), Gil Amâncio (chorus), Marquinho Preto (chorus), Olga Gomes (chorus), Elisete Gomes (chorus), Elizabeth Gomes (chorus), Paula Vargas (chorus)


Composed by Milton Nascimento, Casaldáliga and Pedro Tierra


Recorded: The Church of Our Lady Mother of Men, Caraça, Minas Geraes, February 1982


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Quilombos were settlements by runaway Brazilian slaves and free-born natives of African origin. They first appeared in the first half of the sixteenth century, and the most famous group of quilombos, Palmares, lasted for almost a century as a self-sustaining political entity. Milton Nascimento celebrated the resilience and independence of these colonies in his mass Missa dos Quilombos, recorded in 1982. The combination of African-style percussion with liturgical singing is mesmerizing here—but this mixture eventually contributed to the work's prohibition by the Vatican, which had long battled against assimilation of Candomblé elements into Roman Catholic ritual. On this recording, however, Archbishop Hélder Câmara participates, and it is not hard to link Nascimento's composition with Câmara's liberation theology. The "Ofetório" is my favorite part of this vibrant work. The large chorus, which might weigh down a lesser rhythm section, makes the most of Nascimento's expansive melody. This piece is rarely heard yet, like Ellington's "Come Sunday," it is perfectly suited for a secularized and trimmed-down combo performance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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