Jun 07 2005

Katia B: 2005 Concert Review

Só Deixo Meu Coração na Mão de Quem Pode Concert Review


Katia BWhen you go to a concert, you usually know what to expect. However, sometimes you go to a concert wondering what the music sounds like when performed “live on stage.” The two cds Katia B released so far (read both reviews here) made me wonder that way. Her music is immersed in a modest use of complicated electronic effects. Studio recordings make it easy to shape the music in whatever way you want it to sound. On stage that’s another matter. With that in mind, I was curious to visit the concert Katia B was in charge for during the annual Paris music event “Fête de la Musique.” The “Musiques du monde dans un jardin” evening of the festival featured five groups from various parts of the world, among which the impressive formation of Katia B. And impressive it was!

Of course the show opened with the title song of Katia’s most recent album Só Deixo Meu Coração na Mão de Quem Pode. After a short bossa opening, the band fully jumped into this complex, yet catchy composition. Immediately it was clear that this band is capable to bring on stage what is promised on cd. The limitations of studio effects didn’t affect the music at all. The beautiful and seductive voice of Katia sounded as perfect as on cd, sometimes accentuated with accurate effects. And of course it helped to have a band of outstanding musicians on stage. As no one else, Katia B understands the musical intentions of the late Suba, who was a personal friend of the singer from Rio. She pays respect to the musical innovator through her music. And for that, the musicians seem to be carefully selected. JR Tostoi made a most impressive appearance on guitar. He took care of the difficult task to underline the influence Suba has in Katia’s music, as did percussion giant Marcos Suzano. With his remarkable talent he provided the extra dimension this music needs. Cecília Spyer’s crystal clear voice forms the perfect backing vocals. Cecília is a singer who I always want to hear more of, and during this concert her voice was featured in a thankful and important way. Katia’s husband João Barone joined in on drums, sounding great as always. Gustavo Corsi played on the acoustic guitar. It’s amazing how important the addition of acoustic guitar (and sometimes cavaquinho) proved to be. Not only for the omni present bossa influence of the music, but also as a contrast with the sometimes heavy percussion or electric guitar. Plínio Gomes on bass and cavaquinho completed the line up. The bass was used in a most traditional way. So a very balanced band indeed!

Katia BThe choice of music formed a nice balance, too. Not only songs from the latest album, but also a very surprising rendition of “O Sonho,” an Egberto Gismonti composition from 1968. The song may also be known as “Moon Dreams,” recorded by Flora Purim on various occasions. Katia’s worthy and wordless rendition featured inventive soloing by JR Tostoi and once again proved the cleverness in arranging, which can also be said by Katia’s tribute to the above mentioned Suba, “Are You Sleeping?”   After Suba’s untimely passing, Katia completed this unfinished composition, which can be heard on the albumTributo. On her own album Egberto Gismonti is featured in this composition with his recognizable piano style. On stage JR Tostoi was able to put in his own feelings about the remarkable piece of music. He created an impressive sound that complimented Suba respectfully. From Katia’s debut album Katia  B we heard Caetano Veloso’s composition “A Rã” and the show ended with the inevitable samba, which respectfully featured vocalist Cecília Spyer. Inevitable because Brazilian musicians always seem to end their show with a crowd-pleasing samba.

Another thing that struck was Katia’s perfect command of the French language, not only through a song in that language, but also in her contact with the audience; a truly international artist. Waiting and deserving to be heard by a large open minded and progressive audience. Katia B performs contemporary music with a strong basis in bossa. Strongly recommended.



June 21, 2005 – Paris, France
Jardin du Ministère
des Affaires Étrangères
Fête de la Musique Festival