Mar 31 2014

Bebel Gilberto in Rio

Pleasing her fans


In RioThe easiest choice for someone like Bebel Gilberto (New York, 1966), is to follow in her parent’s tracks. After all she has the legendary João Gilberto as her father and the acclaimed singer Miúcha as her mother. If, on top of that, your uncle is Chico Buarque de Holanda, then it’s obvious to immerse in the family’s musical styles. However, Bebel Gilberto opted to do that with a serious twist. In a resolute way she entered a much more contemporary direction. Her collaboration with the late sound wizard Mitar Subotić or in short “Suba” (1961-1999), led to one of the bestselling Brazilian albums outside Brazil, Tanto Tempo (2000). Bossa with electronic arrangements; music that’s easily qualified as lounge bossa. The mix of acoustic instruments and electronics, together with the soft voice of the singer justify that qualification. It doesn’t earn the singer much popularity in Brazil, but outside Brazil, Bebel is a welcome guest on most stages. She spends her life alternating between the US and the UK.

For her first live album/DVD the singer decided to go to Rio, where she grew up. On an improvised stage on Arpoador rock, overlooking Ipanema beach, Bebel performed her free show for a rather small and selected audience. For the DVD it all seems a bit odd. The scenery is outstanding, but when you see the ocean touching the beach and when you see people play on that beach and have fun, then it’s weird you don’t hear any of the accompanying sounds, not even a hint. Although it’s definitely not the case, it makes it look like we’re watching a playback show.

So I settled for the CD. And that turns out to be a fine album. Nevertheless, the voice of Bebel Gilberto sometimes sounds a bit artificial, especially if she tries to add enthusiasm. It’s the way it is. The duet with rap, funk artist Flávio Renegado in “Na Palma da Mão,“ brings this to the foreground. In that sense her voice is a little limited. But let’s focus on the beauty of that same voice. Bebel brings repertoire from her earlier albums. Bebel GilbertoThe album couldn’t get a more representative opener than Bebel’s cover of the Duran Duran song “Rio,” title track from their album from 1982. It’s a somewhat stereotyped image with which John Taylor, bassist from the English pop-rock band, sublimates his love for Brazil (Rio). It marks the beginning of a decent concert. In a clever way a few extra musicians were invited. From her long time collaborators it’s good to hear Masa Shimizu (acoustic guitar and electric bass) and keyboardist John Roggie again. They know the music of Bebel Gilberto perfectly and help her to create that unique sound. There’s also Jorge Continentino on reeds and acoustic guitar and Magrus Borges on drums. And for a surprising touch, the inimitable originality of keyboardist Sacha Amback was added along with the talent of the octopus on percussion, Marcos Suzano. On the CD Bebel pleases her listeners with seventeen well-chosen songs. Both producers of the album have a guest performance. Kassin (bass) on Bob Marley’s “Sun Is Shining” and Liminha (bass) on “Rio.” Uncle Chico (Buarque) adds vocals to his own composition “Samba e Amor.” The result is an entertaining album that certainly will satisfy the fans. It’s Bebel Gilberto the way we know her, generous and stylish!



Bebel Gilberto
In Rio
RP Music Biscoito Fino RP357 (2013)
Time: 73’42”


  1. Rio (Simon John Charles Le Bon – Nick Rhodes – Andy Taylor – John Taylor – Roger M Taylor)
  2. Momento (Bebel Gilberto – Masaharu Shimizu – Mauro Refosco)
  3. Na Palma da Mão (Flávio Renegado)
  4. Bananeira (João Donato – Gilberto Gil)
  5. Samba da Benção (Vinícius de Moraes – Baden Powell)
  6. August Day Song (Bebel Gilberto – Chris Franck – Nina Miranda)
  7. Simplesmente (Bebel Gilberto – Didi Gutman – Marius De Vries)
  8. Eu Preciso Dizer Que Te Amo (Bebel Gilberto – Cazuza – Dé)
  9. Aganjú (Carlinhos Brown)
  10. So Nice (Samba de Verão) (Marcos Valle – Paulo Sergio Valle – Norman Gimble)
  11. Mais Feliz (Bebel Gilberto – Cazuza – Dé)
  12. Tanto Tempo (Bebel Gilberto – Suba)
  13. Tranquilo (Kassin)
  14. Sem Contenção (Bebel Gilberto – Gerry Arling – Richard Cameron)
  15. Close Your Eyes (Bebel Gilberto – Suba – Roberto Dranoff – Patricia Ermel – Dinho Ouro Preto)
  16. Sun is Shining (Bob Marley)
  17. Samba e Amor (Chico Buarque)