Carlinhos Lyra receives me in his cozy apartment, which is in Ipanema, of course. It is the only neighborhood in the world where he would live. It’s easy to leave here, catch a plane and do one more show in Japan. But never live in Japan, catch a plane and do a show in Ipanema. He greets me affectionately. I ask where is his guitar. “I don’t have one at home, only at my office,” he explains.
Carlinhos doesn’t even suspect that, for me, he is a myth. Since I never admitted that a common human being, a mortal like myself, could be capable of conceiving songs like “Minha namorada”, “Primavera”, “Marcha da quarta-feira de cinzas”. When I hear any one of them – and other master works of his – I feel, at the same time, it makes me feel like weeping and crying out with happiness.
I watch him closely, trying to discover from whence springs such inspiration. How so much talent fits inside a human brain.
He accommodates himself in an armchair near the window. I try to understand, while he doesn’t begin to tell his stories, why we Brazilians don’t have the right to hear his voice more frequently on the radio. Why we don’t see him on TV.
I try, but find no answer. He is singing better than ever. The songs and the lyrics have the same force and the same brilliance. And he as good singing as he is telling his musical adventures.
Apparently shy, he keeps in his breast, in his brain and in his heart a musical treasure still little know. There are those who think that, after the legendary songs he wrote in the sixties and seventies, alone or in partnership with (mainly) Vinícius, he would be living from this glorious past.
But no. He hasn’t stopped composing. Nor singing. Except that, for one of these inexplicable mysteries of national show business, there is less space reserved for him than for some musical newcomers without talent or seasoning.
He is a myth, although he doesn’t behave like one. Perhaps for being too simple and unique. We are accustomed to the idea that a myth is eccentric. Extravagant. Myth can’t be a guy who talks to us as an equal. Myth cannot be punctual. Myth has to drink or smoke or sniff.
And Carlinhos does none of this.
He only makes music.
He is a myth Brazil has not yet discovered.