Los Indios Tabajaras - Maria Elena
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RCA Victor LSP-2822

María Elena
Maran Cariua
Los Indios Danzan
A la Orilla del Lago
Moonlight Serenade
Baion Bon

Pájaro Campana
Star Dust
Ay María
Vals Criollo
Jungle Dream

It's a long way from the jungles of northern Brazil to Hoagy Carmichael, but that's just part of the path followed by the guitar duo known as the Tabajaras Indians in what must surely be one of the greatest off-trail adventure stories in the whole history of music.

The story began in the jungle of the State of Ceara, up in the northeastern shoulder of Brazil. Here an Indian tribe called the Tabajaras lives well isolated from the world of the white man. While peaceful enough, the Tabajaras have been generally unfriendly to the white man's civilization, which they have considered inferior to their own.

One of the leaders of the Tabajaras was a tribesman by the name of Mitanga who was the father of thirty children. One day, twenty-odd years ago, Musaperi, his No. 3 son, and Herundy, the next oldest boy, found a guitar lying in a path in the woods along which a party of white men had passed. Not knowing what it was, they carried it home and kept it hidden for a couple of weeks.

When it failed to explode as had firearms found by some of their fellow tribesmen, the two young boys took it out and examined it more closely. The sound that the strings made as they were touched by their exploring hands excited the boys' curiosity, and in some unexplained manner the brothers learned to play the instrument. They loved it enough to want to follow it into the white man's world from which it had come.

Rio de Janeiro was their first important stop, and here they scored a hit with their primitive yet effective handling of the guitar as an accompaniment to their tribal folk songs.  A theatrical agent spotted them and booked them for a series of tours throughout South America that lasted six years. Then they headed north for Mexico for a long engagement. Somewhere along the line they changed their Indian names to Natalicio and Antenor Moreyra Lima, although they were known everywhere they played as just "Los Indios Tabajaras."

About this time they decided to stop their concerts in order to take formal instruction in the guitar. Each worked with a different teacher, Antenor specializing in accompaniment and Natalicio working on melody. They studied the classics, and soon augmented their Indian folk lore and Brazilian repertoire with the works of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Falla and Albéniz.

Then, after two years of study, came a new debut and a tour of the opera houses of the South American capitals. This was followed by a long European tour which took them before concert audiences in Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens and Lisbon. They learned to sing and speak in Italian, German and Greek, in addition to their native Tupi, their adopted Portuguese, and the Spanish they had learned while touring Latin America.

These two young Indians are true virtuosos. Their unique personal and musical background is reflected in the numbers they play on these two sides. In addition to the tribal folk songs they learned first, they present Brazilian regional music and international favorites of Latin America. Star Dust and Moonlight Serenade, though, show how far they've wandered, both musically and geographically, since they first saw something strange lying on the matted floor of their native jungle.

Travel Editor, Esquire

© 1963, Radio Corporation of America