Aldir Blanc, chronicler

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By Daniel Brazil*

The huge composer-lyricist ended up overshadowing the writer. Aldir Blanc is a really refined chronicler, with several books published

Shaken by the death of the lyricist, composer and poet Aldir Blanc (1946-2020), commentators and popular music lovers flooded social networks with versions of his greatest hits, such as The Master of the Seas e The Drunk and the Equilibrist, made with the main partner, João Bosco. Journalists recalled his creativity, his verve, his firm political positions, his sarcastic humor, his Carioca spirit. Some analysts recalled his ability to translate true chronicles, popular scenes, and scathing reports of urban situations into song lyrics.

Nothing fairer, if we pay attention to masterpieces like Facing Crime, Incompatibility of Geniuses. At the Level of… ou Siri Stuffed and the Baguette, portraits full of grace of a certain way of being carioca, between rogue and muggle, coexisting with violence, contempt, cronyism, betrayal and other deviations. He drank from precious sources, such as Noel Rosa, Geraldo Pereira, Wilson Batista, Billy Blanco and a few others. It is not easy to tell a story, to create a plot with an opening and an ending, in a few verses.

But the huge composer-lyricist ended up overshadowing the writer. Aldir Blanc is a really refined (or thick, depending on the time of day) chronicler, with several books published. Invited by the Pasquim group, he published his first volume of chronicles, Artist Street and surroundings, in 1978. It was there that he revealed himself as an astute investigator of popular habits, customs and idiosyncrasies, legitimate heir to a tradition that came from the pioneer João do Rio, incorporating the nonconformity of a Lima Barreto and sharing the sense of humor of a Stanislaw Ponte Preta.

The following collections (Door of Dye Shop, Brazil Gone to Dirty, A Nice Guy on 19th, Direct from the Counter) confirmed the literary talent of the composer-lyricist. His academic training (he studied medicine, specializing in psychiatry) blended perfect chemistry with his love for literature, distilling his expert portrayal of human types, hilarious situations, small and large trickery of a Brazil that is changing every day, stop smiling and show your teeth. Maybe he didn't write chronicles, but diagnoses...

To reread Aldir Blanc today is to rediscover this almost lost tradition of metropolitan satirical chroniclers. Critical humor texts migrated to TV, to comedies stand up, for social networks. Only Luiz Fernando Veríssimo can be compared in the context of contemporary Brazilian literature.

Even when Blanc ventured into other genres, such as memoirs (Vila Isabel – Childhood Inventory), children's book (A Box of Surprises), or tasty stories in honor of his favorite team (Vasco – The Cod Cross), the spirit of the “carioca chronicler” was indelibly impregnated. Aldir Blanc will still be remembered as one of the most original writers of our time, the last creator of a Rio de Janeiro that, after the pandemic, will never be the same.

*Daniel Brazil is a writer, author of the novel suit of kings (Penalux), screenwriter and TV director, music and literary critic

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