A Beautiful Career
When Francisco “Chico” Buarque de Holanda was thinking about going on tour with the songs of his latest studio album (Chico, 2011), he decided to make something like a career-overview of it. Not an easy task if you consider that he had a choice of more than 400 compositions. Somehow he managed to come up with a list of 30 songs, some of which he seldom performs.
Although Chico Buarque is very successful as a dramatist, writer and poet, people mainly love him for his music. His compositions speak to the heart of his audience. It’s about love, religion and social issues, all drenched in a typical Chico Buarque-nostalgia. A nostalgia that’s also fed by his rather disarming voice and his blue eyes… The older generations hear their beacon of hope during the military dictatorship while the younger generations hear the great musical poet their parents grew up with.
At almost age 67, Chico Buarque put together his band for the concert that’s taped on this album. The show took place in the Vivo Rio concert hall in Rio de Janeiro in February 2012. On stage with the singer, guitarist and composer were musicians who go back with the master for a long time. Luiz Claudio Ramos (1949, Rio de Janeiro) is musical director and plays the acoustic guitar. His history with Chico goes back as far as 1973, when he participated on the recording of the music from the theatre play Calabar, O Elogio da Traição from Chico Buarque and Ruy Guerra. On electric and acoustic bass is Jorge Helder (1962, Fortaleza). On saxophones, clarinet, flute and piccolo we hear Marcelo Bernardus (1956, Rio de Janeiro), on piano is João Rebouças (1957, Rio de Janeiro). For this occasion, Chico Buarque invited a female voice, the one of singer/keyboardist Bia Paes Leme (1959, Rio de Janeiro). She’s a well-known and respected name in the Brazilian music scene as arranger, instrumentalist and singer. She has worked with Chico occasionally since 1999. Behind the drums is Wilson das Neves (1939, Rio de Janeiro), an icon in his own right. Finally there’s Chico Batera (1943, Rio de Janeiro) on percussion.
The music on this double album contains all ten songs from the album Chico, along with twenty works that highlight Buarque’s more than forty-year long career. The album opens and closes with the sound of an old train that comes and leaves. So you could say that the concert takes us on a train ride through Chico’s imposing career. (The sound of that train refers to the original performance of the 1973 song “Na Carreira”).
It strikes that it’s impossible to hear any chronological difference in the songs. Chico Buarque’s music is timeless and of a constant perfectionistic level. The band delivers more than one can expect, with a natural ease and full of understanding. In return, they’re treated with amicable respect by their leader. When “Rubato” is performed, Chico shares the applause with the modest co-writer of the composition, bassist Jorge Helder. Drummer Wilson das Neves, with his pure samba voice, is featured in two songs.
It’s hard to find anything that’s less than perfect among the thirty songs. The music breathes Brazil and paints an image of its emotionally charged but also colorful history. To create an extra atmosphere there were huge changing projections above the stage, showing three beautiful works of art. Two by painter Cândido Portinari (1903-1962) with scenes of Brazilian folklore and a sketch by Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012), the great progressive architect. This art complements Buarque’s music in a perfect way. As an all-round artist, Chico Buarque has an eye for details. The only thing we, the audience, have to do is to sit back and enjoy this beautiful music!
Sarapui Biscoito Fino 0096.12 (2012)
In the US:
The Essential Chico Buarque Recorded Live
DRG Brazil DRG-CD 31632 (2014)
- O Velho Francisco (Chico Buarque)
- De Volta ao Samba (Chico Buarque)
- Desalento (Chico Buarque – Vinicius de Moraes)
- Injuriado (Chico Buarque)
- Querido Diário (Chico Buarque)
- Rubato (Chico Buarque – Jorge Helder)
- Choro Bandido (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Essa Pequena (Chico Buarque)
- Tipo um Baião (Chico Buarque)
- Se Eu Soubesse (Chico Buarque)
- Sem Você nº 2 (Chico Buarque)
- Bastidores (Chico Buarque)
- Todo o Sentimento (Chico Buarque – Cristóvão Bastos)
- O Meu Amor (Chico Buarque)
- Teresinha (Chico Buarque)
- Ana de Amsterdam (Chico Buarque – Ruy Guerra)
- Anos Dourados (Chico Buarque – Tom Jobim)
- Sob Medida (Chico Buarque)
- Nina (Chico Buarque)
- Valsa Brasileira (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)
- Geni e o Zepelim (Chico Buarque)
- Sou Eu (Chico Buarque – Ivan Lins)
- Tereza da Praia (Tom Jobim – Billy Blanco)
- A Violeira (Chico Buarque – Tom Jobim)
- Baioque (Chico Buarque)
- Rap de Cálice (Chico Buarque – Gilberto Gil – Adaptation: Criolo)
- Sinhá (Chico Buarque – João Bosco)
- Barafunda (Chico Buarque)
- Futuros Amantes (Chico Buarque)
- Na Carreira (Edu Lobo – Chico Buarque)