I realize this is a cliché but, what makes music so powerful is that it creates these little intimate moments that we get to replay over and over and over whenever we choose (and sometimes when we don’t). Through music, we get to re-live the private dance party that one summer night and the way your baby moved so freely, or that time it felt like no one else was there even though we were dancing in a crowd of people, or how joyful it felt singing at the top of your lungs alone in front of the mirror. A good song can make you feel alive because when you hear it again it reminds you of moments where you have really lived. When I turned on Seu Jorge’s latest release with his best friend Rogê, I knew right away this was going to be one of those albums that accompanies many future moments.
Seu Jorge and Rogê have been friends for over 25 years as they both pursued their careers in music. On February 7th they released what marks their first pursuit together- Night Dreamer’s Direct to Disc Session. This album is a love letter. It is an homage to an enduring friendship, to a country and to the listener.
Night Dreamer is a love letter to a friend. The seven tracks that make up Night Dreamer were laid down over four days each in one take. I’m blown away at their talent, to be able to do this and imbue so much emotion and beauty, they are truly in a class of their own. The songs aren’t overwhelmed with postproduction, they are intimate and warm. Having been friends for so long, Seu Jorge and Rogê have amassed a collection of ideas which formed the foundation of the album, making it a celebration of bonding, connectivity and ability. We can see how they love each other. Each singer has such a distinctive voice and yet they fit so well together. They compliment each other without trying to compete, the way any good friend wants to see you shine before themselves. Seu Jorge may be the more recognizable name, particularly outside of Brazil, but not once does he capitalize on that and attempt to make Night Dreamer about him. It is a partnership throughout.
Night Dreamer is a love letter to a country. Both men have recently left their home of Brazil for LA. While a corrupt government and shaky economy may have made that feel necessary, it’s obvious they miss home. “Meu Brasil” is a slow samba which both musicians have mastered, and really if you’re going to pen an homage to Brazil it better be with a samba. Their samba is pared down and relaxed. Seu Jorge’s voice is even a bit intoxicating with its husky drawl. Put down the whiskey, he is all you need. “A Força” is as powerful as its subject, the orisha. It begins with the Seu Jorge’s deep timbre which comes across a little shaky, but that’s not a critique. You can feel the power his voice holds in that quiet shake. You can feel the love both men have for their home and longing they must feel to return. I thought this song, in particular, spoke to their cohesive sound. Seu Jorge’s voice is deep and velvety while Rogê brings a softer, brighter quality. The way their voices weave together creates this rich and magical tapestry of feelings so relatable that it doesn’t matter that most people listening won’t understand the lyrics. You don’t need to know Portuguese, you can feel what they are saying, you can hear the fondness and love they have for each other and their home, and that’s all you really need.
Lastly, Night Dreamer feels like a love letter to all of us. Seu Jorge translates to “Your Jorge”. With this stripped-back album Seu Jorge and Rogê are offering themselves up to us; bare, vulnerable and wide open. Every song feels like a secret they are letting you in on, a secret that you simultaneously want to keep to yourself AND invite all your friends over, so they don’t miss out on the wonder of it. Night Dreamer starts out delicate and undemanding with Seu Jorge’s voice easing us into the experience with “Saravá”. The album ends filled with jubilant energy, with Rogê taking you out on the highest note. “Onda Carioca” is a total groove, really rounding out the experience of the album. This song had me looking for my man so I could grab him, put his hands on my hips and float around the room. “Onda Carioca” filled me with joy because I could feel the joy emanating from Rogê’s voice. I’m looking forward to creating moments with this music.