The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs

SSC1091 2000-01-01

Track List

Sonnet - 1:52
In March, I Remember - 7:58
Argument - 3:18
The Guide - 5:05
Not So Unique - 5:44
The Balance - 2:38
Back File - 6:41
Insomnia - 3:41
Daze - 6:03
The Occasional Bliss - 7:04
Sonnet(Reprise) - 2:28
Do Tell - 5:29
Imber Nocturnus - 2:24


Luciana Souza - voice, compositions, arrangements
Chris Cheek - tenor & soprano sax
Bruce Barth - piano
John Lockwood - bass
Marlon Browden - drums & percussion

Elizabeth Bishop traveled to many places: Morocco, Leningrad, the Galapagos, to name a few. Places I wish I knew. She lived in Brazil, Canada, Boston, and New York–places I know. Some of them, very well.

"In Bishop's poetry I hear a deep voice, honest and dignified. She sees clearly, and tells so simply. I borrowed her words for my music, and wrote melodies and harmonies around them. Her travels continue. I know I have places to go." -Luciana Souza


Luciana Souza moves to the Sunnyside label for her second album, an ambitious project focusing on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979).

In all, four of Bishop's poems receive original musical treatments. But in a rather bold move, Souza includes two of her own song-poems, "Daze" and "Do Tell," which stand up quite well in comparison. Six more originals with wordless vocals complete the program.

Souza's partners in this endeavor -- pianist Bruce Barth, saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Marlon Browden -- do a superb job with her delicate but often quite difficult material. Barth and Souza go it alone on two of the Bishop poems, "Argument" and "Imber Nocturnus." "Sonnet," which opens the disc and returns as a reprise, has a surprising, almost Carole King-like pop-folk vibe.

The remarkable "Insomnia" finds Souza involved in a bit of semi-vocalese, capturing the night imagery in the swooping, rapid play of syllables.

Admirers of this record will be interested in hearing Souza on Andrew Rathbun's True Stories, a like-minded encounter with the poems of Margaret Atwood. ~
David R. Adler, All Music Guide