Morena Faceira is based on two different folk songs from the state of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil. They are documented in an anthology of Brazilian folk music entitled Melodias Registradas por Meios Não-Mecânicos, by Oneyda Alvarenga (Discoteca Pública Municipal, Sâo Paulo, 1946). Neither song is associated with any particular event, festivity, or ritual. Morena Faceira—the first song—simply describes a beautiful and charming brunette woman. The second song, originally titled Chiquinha (possibly in reference to a real person), are the words from a boy who is asking a brunette (“Chiquinha”) for a kiss—and he promises her that no one will see it!
This work tries to portray that initial spark that we experience when we first fall in love with someone: that feeling that is a combination of excitement, curiosity, enthusiasm, joy, and stupidity! We can only see the other person’s “qualities” and cannot stop thinking about that first kiss…. The opening “fanfare” (with body percussion as “drums”) sets the overall character of the piece as fun, with a strong rhythmic drive. If claps are not possible, singers can slap their thighs on the side instead. It is very important that as many singers as possible do the body percussion.
If the tenor part in mm. 39 through 54 is too low for the tenors, feel free to have some baritones sing that melody with them and/or adjust the dynamic level of the other parts so that the main theme sung by the tenors can still be heard clearly.
Daniel Afonso Jr.