Feb 22 2005

Elis Regina: MPB Especial 1973

From the Heart


MPB EspecialNo other Brazilian performer has marked our musical scene as strongly as Elis Regina (Porto Alegre, RS, 1945 – São Paulo, SP, 1982). Believed by some as the most influential and best Brazilian singer, Elis was also a highly controversial star. Her nickname, Pimentinha (Little Pepper), says it all. She was as temperamental as she was a superb performer. She is responsible for having launched the careers of names that include Belchior, Milton Nascimento and João Bosco and Aldir Blanc. When she died at the young age of thirty-six, she left a void in the Brazil that will likely never be filled.

Very little video material is available with Elis Regina. Aside from personal video copies of her appearances in Brazilian TV, nothing was available commercially until now, when Trama released this DVD. The material in the DVD comes from the TV Cultura series with Brazilian songwriters and performers talking before a camera. The interviewer, Fernando Faro, is never heard. The result is a series of apparent monologues with the artist talking to the camera. Elis Regina talks about her childhood, her family, her influences, the music she sang, her friends and the many moods that were a constant in her life. In between interviews, she sings some memorable numbers from her career. She talks about people that marked her life, such as Gilberto Gil, whom she said at the time of the interview was the most complete composer in Brazilian music. She also mentions problems she had with Edu Lobo, Cyro Monteiro and others, but she never goes into detail about what those problems were. It is evident throughout the entire program here that her emotions were always very high. In fact, when she attempts to sing “Formosa,” a song made famous by Cyro Monteiro, she stops moments before breaking down. Her candid admiration for Baden Powell and Sueli Costa, for example, are freely discussed. One beautiful moment in the DVD is when she recalls how she met Chico Buarque. She talked about how insecure he was and how introspective he was when he came to her house to play some of his music for her. After several moments of silence between her and Chico Buarque, he finally began performing a dozen of his songs for her. The idea was to have her select a few for a new album. Because she was certain that Chico Buarque did not like her, she decided not to record any of the music he performed for her. She then proceeds to say that he took the songs to Nara Leão, who released an album with Chico Buarque’s songs, all of which were hits and catapulted Leão’s and Buarque’s careers into the stardom. Elis smiles and admits her mistake. That was one rare moment of her being very vulnerable before the camera. The camera work is intense and very focused. Throughout the entire program, you are constantly in close-up with Elis’s face and occasionally her hands. It gives viewers a very intimate approach to the artist both physically and emotionally because of the camera proximity as well as the nature of the monologues.

As for the music, there is not much to say that would sound redundant. Covering classics she recorded, Elis performs with her inimitable style songs by Gil, Jobim, Duran, Powell, Lobo and more. The trio accompanying Elis Regina is formed by Luisão Maia (bass), Paulinho Braga (drums) and Cesar Camargo Mariano (piano). It cannot possibly get any better than that! Besides the historical value of such a release, it is with remarkable pleasure that anyone is now able to enjoy the incomparable and eternal Elis Regina. The Diva lives on!



Elis Regina
MPB Especial 1973 
Trama DVD 944-5 (2004)
Time: 99’00”
Language: Portuguese only (no subtitles)
Color: Black and White
Region: All
Fernando Faro produced and directed
the original TV broadcast Programa Ensaio
(TV Cultura)
No bonus features


  1. Doente, Morena (Gilberto Gil – Duda Machado)
  2. Ladeira da Preguiça (Gilberto Gil)
  3. Boa Noite, Amor (José Maria de Abreu – Francisco Mattoso)
  4. Preciso Aprender a Ser Só (Marcos Valle – Paulo Sérgio Valle)
  5. Upa, Neguinho (Edu Lobo – Gianfrancesco Guarnieri)
  6. Formosa (Baden Powell – Vinícius de Moraes)
  7. Estrada do Sol (Dolores Duran – Tom Jobim)
  8. Vou Deitar e Rolar (Qua Qua Ra Qua Qua) / Aviso ao Navegantes (Baden Powell – Paulo César Pinheiro)
  9. 20 Anos Blues (Vitor Martins – Sueli Costa)
  10. Atrás da Porta (Chico Buarque – Francis Hime)
  11. Canção do Sal (Milton Nascimento)
  12. Cais (Milton Nascimento – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
  13. É Com Esse Que Eu Vou (Pedro Caetano)
  14. General da Banda (José Alcides – Satiro de Melo – Tancredo Silva)
  15. Águas de Março (Tom Jobim)
  16. Meio-de-Campo (Gilberto Gil)
  17. Folhas Secas (Nélson Cavaquinho – Guilherme de Brito)