Jul 23 2006

Fernanda Abreu: MTV Ao Vivo

20 Years of Samba-Funk


MTV Ao VivoRio’s samba-funk singer Fernanda Abreu (1961) prefers the convenience of a recording studio. Yet, in these times of DVDs, the need to do a live album is almost obvious. MTV seduced Fernanda to forget about her principles for just once and taped a special for this occasion created show for their series “MTV Ao Vivo.” Fernanda chose to do the show in the city center of her own Rio de Janeiro, at the rather modest but steamy Carlos Gomes theatre (with a capacity of a little under 700 seats). The repertoire should be special, not just her latest show with songs from the most recent album A Paz. So the singer asked her fans on her internet community to send in song lists. On those lists also songs from Fernanda’s previous artistic life as singer from the rock band Blitz (1982 – 1986) were chosen. The result is a set-list that gives an overview of the singer’s whole career and could very well serve as a kind of “best of.”

Fernanda Abreu hit the stage at the end of March 2006 surrounded by musicians from her regular band. One of the featured accompanists is guitarist, keyboard player and arranger Rodrigo Campello. As an experienced musician, he knows exactly what the music needs. Under his direction, this band burns with funk, soul, r&b and rock. Bassist André Carneiro puts in a word with creative bass lines that deserve special attention. Drummer César Farias and percussionist Vanderlei Silva keep the rhythm very tight, supporting the guitar and keyboards of Fernando Vidal and Ricardo Fiúza. Background vocalists are Juju Gomes (who also works with Ivete Sangalo) and Flávia Santana

Fernanda AbreuThe cd opens with a shock for the unprepared listener. A dated disco song with cliched lyrics like “D.I.S.C.O. we’re gonna disco… all night” is not really a turn-on. It happens to be Fernanda’s first big hit, from her solo debut album SLA Radical Disco Dance Club (1990).  The next song shows what the rest of the cd really is about: razor sharp dance music. Fernanda calls her danceable funk the soundtrack of Rio’s favelas (slums). The samba-funk “Rio 40 Graus” is inspired by and named after a movie from Pereira dos Santos in 1954. Like in the movie, in this song the urban life of Rio’s slums is illustrated. From Jorge Ben, considered by Fernanda as Brazil’s samba-funk specialist, the song “Jorge da Capadócia” is enthusiastically performed. An impressive surprise is how the Blitz hit “A Dois Passos do Paraíso” (1983) is transformed into a beautiful sounding contemporary ballad. Together with a new song, “Dance Dance,” it’s among the albums quieter and most beautiful moments. The two songs form a perfect opening for another bright moment on the cd, the impressive medley “Roda Que Se Mexe/Kid Brilhantina.”

With a stirring rhythm, the pleasant “Veneno da Lata” is an original, co-written with Soul II Soul keyboardist Will Mowat. “Kátia Flavia” is performed close the original of one of its composers, Fausto Fawcett. The urban poet and theatre artist had a hit with the song when it appeared on his debut album E os Robôs Efêmeros in 1987. The song even caught the attention of film producer Roman Polanski, who used it in his film Bitter Moon in 1992. On “Você Pra Mim,” Fernanda’s voice sounds at its best. While this ballad quietly moves on, the singer shows to be an all round vocalist. And very attentive too: the text for the busy “Bloco Rap Rio 2006” has  been updated since it appeared on the 1997 album Raio X. The song flows over in “Bloco Funk” before the album ends with a good old samba-enredo from 1982, “É Hoje.” Of course the samba is arranged related to the rest of the music: Samba-funk!

For the usual commercial reasons, the DVD was not released yet at the time of writing (they clearly want to sell the cd first). But it is known that it contains a few extra tracks among which two duets (one with Paralamas’s Herbert Vianna and one with Mart’nália). I’m sure that Fernanda’s music isn’t only fun to listen to, watching the concert may give it even an extra dimension. For those who didn’t know it yet, Fernanda Abreu is no doubt the uncrowned queen of Rio’s samba-funk. She proves it again with this sparkling, high-energy album.



Fernanda Abreu
MTV Ao Vivo 
Mercury Universal/MTV Brasil 60249878169 (2006)
Time: 66’48”


  1. A Noite (Fernanda Abreu – Carlos Laufer – Luiz Stein)
  2. Baile Funk (Rodrigo Maranhão)
  3. O Brasil É o País do Suingue (Fernanda Abreu – Fausto Fawcett – Laufer – Hermano Vianna)
  4. Jorge da Capadócia (Jorge Ben)
  5. Você pra Mim (Fernanda Abreu)
  6. Garota Sangue Bom (Fernanda Abreu – Fausto Fawcett)
  7. Baile da Pesada (Fernanda Abreu – Rodrigo Maranhão)
  8. Kátia Flavia, Godiva do Irajá (Carlos Laufer – Fausto Fawcett)
  9. Dance, Dance (Rodrigo Maranhão)
  10. A Dois Passos do Paraíso (Ricardo Barreto – Evandro Mesquita)
  11. Roda Que Se Mexe / Kid Brilhantina (Fernanda Abreu – Rodrigo Campello – Suely Mesquita / Alexandre – Bedeu)
  12. Veneno da Lata (Fernanda Abreu – Will Mowat)
  13. Rio 40 Graus (Fernanda Abreu – Fausto Fawcett – Laufer)
  14. Bloco Rap Rio 2006 (Fernanda Abreu)
  15. Bloco Funk (Fernanda Abreu)
  16. É Hoje (Didi – Mestrinho)

Bonus tracks on DVD:

  1. Um Amor, Um Lugar (Herbert Vianna) with Herbert Vianna
  2. Tudo Vale a Pena (Pedro Luís) with Mart’nália
  3. Aquarela Brasileira (Silas de Oliveira)