Caravela Escarlate -
Caravela Escarlate

(CD 2019, 53:34, Karisma Records KAR156CD)

The tracks:
  1- Um Brilho Frágil No Infinito(5:12)
  2- Caravela Escarlate(4:38)
  3- Atmosfera - instrumental(6:29)
  4- Gigantes Da Destruição(6:53)
  5- Toque As Constelações(5:21)
  6- Futuro Passado(4:45)
  7- Cosmos - instrumental(8:34)
  8- Planeta-Estrela(11:34)

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Band history (provided by the band via Facebook). “Brazilian band Caravela Escarlate is rooted in the early Nineties: David Paiva had composed songs for many years (inspired by English and Italian progressive rock and popular Brazilian music) and started to experiment making music with several different line-ups. The band Caravela Escarlate name is derived from one of his compositions. The group alternated between active periods and a long hiatus. In 2010 David and keyboard player Ronaldo Rodrigues got in touch, David showed some of his compositions to Ronaldo and presented his idea of founding a trio, without a guitar player in the line-up. But both musicians were working with different drummers and there was a question about who would occupy the drummer post, the solution was to form two different bands. The new Caravela Escarlate history began in 2011, with rehearsals and their first gig in October 2011 at the Rio Prog Festival. In early 2012 the band began to record their repertoire, but the drummer failed to impress and left. Not until 2015 did David and Ronaldo looked for a new drummer: Ronaldo contacted the drummer Leandro Pires, who had already played with Marcus Moura (Bacamarte) and the rehearsals re-started. The band evolved fast and a new recording process started in late 2015. In early January 2016 everything was aborted and a lot of work was discarded. In late 2015 Ronaldo got in touch with the experienced veteran drummer Elcio Cáfaro and asked him to give names to fill the job for a new drummer. Elcio asked why Ronaldo did not invite him! Caravela Escarlate entered 2016 with renewed hopes. When David proposed to Ronaldo an entirely new repertoire that could be played and recorded as a duo, resulting in their first album entitled Raschuno. It was well received by the public. Simultaneously the rehearsals with Elcio Cáfaro took place with the band and its debut was July 2016. In late 2017 Caravela Escarlate released their second, eponymous album. In 2018 the band signed with Karisma Records, to re-release their second album worldwide (on CD and LP) in March 2019 and for the release of upcoming albums.”

Caravela Escarlate delivers very melodic and harmonic, mainly keyboard driven and Seventies inspired prog. The 8 compositions (including two instrumentals) are tastefully arranged and shift from dreamy to mid-tempo rhythms and sumptuous atmospheres. In one moment you hear a lush sound with powerful Hammond organ (evoking ELP, Trace or Triumvirat), the other moment a mellow climate with acoustic guitar and warm vocals. Or from a slow rhythm with delicate Fender electric piano to a tight and catchy beat with fat Mini Moog synthesizer flights. The music often brings Italian prog band Le Orme and ELP to my mind, but the native vocals add an extra emotional dimension to the music, like Caravela Escarlate does with the Brazilian vocals, wonderful. The fluent and dynamic rhythm-section delivers a very good job, both in the mellow as in the bombastic parts. The keyboard player colors the music wonderfully with a wide range of vintage instruments: from the omnipresent Mini Moog synthesizer to Fender electric piano, Mellotron flutes and violins and the distinctive Hohner clavinet (especially in Gigantes Da Destruição). My favourite track is the epic final composition Planeta-Estrela, showcasing the band in its full splendor. After a spacey intro there follows a lot of changing climates: from bombastic with Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer to dreamy with Fender electric piano, from compelling with Mellotron choirs to dreamy with Mellotron violins and tender vocals and from a long and sensational Moog synthesizer solo and a majestic Mellotron violin interlude to a final part with a swirling Hammond organ solo, fuelled by a strong and dynamic rhythm-section, wow!

If you like keyboard driven Seventies prog, like ELP, Triumvirat, Le Orme, Trace, Quill or Ars Nova, this is a band worth to discover. And the warm Brazilian vocals add a special flavour to their pleasant melodic and harmonic sound.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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