Yo ho! Nightrider here!

After listening to the Roberto Carlos song “Não Vou Ficar,” I noticed that Tim Maia wrote the song. Out of curiosity, I checked out who he was, and it turns out that Tim Maia is also a beloved Brazilian musician that brought Funk and soul to Brazil in the early ’70s. I recently purchased the vinyl compilation album The Existential Soul of Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever. We’ll get to this album in a moment.

Tim Maia, born Sebastião Rodrigues Maia, began his musical journey at age seven. He taught Erasmo Esteves (who later became the famous Erasmo Carlos) and Roberto Carlos Braga (who would eventually become the King of Latin Music) how to play guitar. They were friends with Jorge Ben (who wrote the famous song “Mas, que Nada!”). This period was the 1950’s, where Elvis was the King. In 1959, Maia left Brazil for the United States, where he eventually learned and listened to the African-American music scene in New York City with his ensemble called “The Ideals.” But Maia’s New York trip ended in 1963 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana and then deported to Brazil.

After trying to jumpstart his music career with Erasmo and Roberto Carlos, Tim performed in the São Paulo scene. He eventually got a deal with CBS with Roberto’s help. Maia wrote the 1969 hit “Não Vou Ficar” for Roberto. Then, Tim Maia struck a deal with Polydor/Phillips and recorded his hit single “Primavera.”

Maia’s career exploded with hits that permeated Funk, soul, samba rock (which Maia pioneered) and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). After a brief stint with the cult of Rational Culture, Maia’s popularity was undeterred. In 1998, Maia fell ill after a performance at the Municipal Theater of Niterói. He then died a few days later on 15 March 1998 at age 55.

The album The Existential Soul of Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever is a compilation of Maia’s big hits that represent Brazilian Funk and Soul. Maia’s lyrics are indeed existential in nature due to Maia’s stint with Rational Culture. But Maia knew how to write about having a good time as he was carefree and easygoing. Maia was also not afraid, to tell the truth about social issues and was outspoken.

Here is a small selection from The Existential Soul of Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever:

  • “Brother, Father, Sister and Mother” is a happy, humorous song about how double morals flow in a family. As Maia says in his ending lyrics, “Everyone is the same.”
  • “Ela Partiu” is translated to “She’s Gone.” This is a soulful song about a breakup.
  • “Over Again” is about trying to rescue a relationship all over again.
  • “The Dance Is Over” sends a message to all saying that whatever you’re “dancing to” in life is over; face reality and move on to something else. So enjoy your “dancing” while you can.
  • “Nobody Can Live Forever” is an existential piece. There is no such thing as immortality, and religion is nonexistent. How to move on from that? As Tim Maia sings, “Don’t you worry, Play your music.”

The Existential Soul of Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever is an experience that will leave you moving your head to Brazilian Funk. I highly recommend this album for funk enthusiasts that are looking for a unique take on Funk. Now if you excuse me, I need to warm up my turntable to play some funk!