Joyce is one of those Brazilian musicians whose work you discover and think to yourself, how did I not know about this? Not only is her back catalog from the 70’s and onward a goldmine, she even grows better with time. She’s constantly releasing fresh material like 2001’s Gafiera Moderna (you need this).
Well, the kind people at Far Out Recordings have really done it this time. They somehow dug up Joyce’s “lost” acid folk album from 1976 that was never released, dubbed Visions Of Dawn (Paris ’76 Project). Generally, when “ultra obscure” material is reissued, its accessibility corresponds with its obscurity. Not this album. It’s one of Joyce’s most precious works, start to finish, and features her best instrument: voice.
Led by the sharp lyrics and gorgeous, expressive voice and guitar of Joyce the trio is completed by the expert musicianship of her close friends Nana Vasconcelos (percussion) and Mauricio Maestro (electric bass, vocals, guitar and producer) who were both crucial in creating this masterpiece.
The album is softer than her dancefloor classics you may know of, like Samba De Gago or Aldeia De Ogum (beautifully sampled for the backing of Aloe Blacc’s Bailar). Most of the vocal treatment is sans lyric and leads each composition as another instrument. The album opens with a folkier version of her classic song Banana but all others are completely new, to my knowledge. The mood is soothing throughout and when you finally arrive at the undulating breathwork on Chegada, you start to realize that something very special happened during those sessions in Paris in 1976.
For the local Chicagoans, Joyce’s Visions of Dawn is available at Dusty Groove. And if you want to catch up on all the Joyce classics, Mr. Bongo’s The Essential Joyce: 1970 – 1996 lives up to its title.