A Commanding Live Performance
Have you ever seen Leila Pinheiro live? Here is your chance if you said no. If you said yes, you will still want this DVD. It opens with Leila Pinheiro singing a cappella. In a prayer-like song, she asks for the blessing of Our Lady of Nazaré in her hometown of Belém, Pará, in north Brazil. Leila then begins a parade of her greatest hits and more. Of course the first song in that group had to be the one who put Leila’s name in every household in Brazil: “Verde.” The arrangement uses a lot of brass accompaniment, but it is the song and Leila’s vitality that grab you right from the start. It’s a great song with lots of swing in Leila’s performance. In one of several appearances, Julhinho Teixeira (accordion) then introduces the melancholy notes of “Besame.” The mood of the DVD keeps going, alternating between uptempo songs and soft ballads. Likewise, the camera work shifts from Leila to the various musicians (Marcelo Mariano on bass, Ricardo Silveira on guitar, etc.), and the video itself has moments of black and white photography. It is all very classy and full of surprises, especially since there is absolutely no booklet or liner notes accompanying the DVD.
The first surprise of the concert is the lovely duet of Leila on piano and Roberto Menescal on guitar singing “Amor nas Estrelas.” The chemistry between these two icons is a joy to watch. Roberto Menescal sometimes does not even seem to be playing as his hands move so smoothly on the guitar. The band is mesmerized — and you will be, too — watching in amazement as those two played. Not to break the mood, in “Você em Minha Vida,” Marcelo Martins’s tenor sax solo is a highlight that makes this song a little more special. With a passion for Brazilian rock (BRock), Leila starts a new set paying tribute to one of our greatest rock artists, Renato Russo. The added vocal accompaniment by the group 4 Manos completes this nice rendition of “Monte Castelo.” We then have a chance to hear Leila venture into new material. I had heard her doing “Nem às Paredes Confesso” a couple of years ago, but in this performance, she polished the arrangement and transformed the Portuguese fado into an acceptable slow samba. Just at the right time, Leila then switches to the bolero “Quando o Amor Acontece,” by João Bosco with lyrics by poet Abel Silva. Leila shines in this genre, and the inevitable comparison to the late Elis Regina is evident. Leila flirts with Julhinho Teixeira as he does again a magnificent solo on the accordion. From her own piano solo in “Serra do Luar,” Leila moves to “Nua Idéia,” by the masters Caetano Veloso and João Donato. For those die-hard fans of her Bossa Nova work, this is a special treat and at the same time just the beginning of better things up ahead. When she sings “Catavento e Girassol,” she is accompanied by none other than Guinga himself. To watch him play his guitar so close (the camera has great shots here) completely steals the show. Guinga does not hide his pride in Leila’s performance. This is indeed a magical encounter.
Before you can recover from the previous track, Leila switches gear and band. Now in a bar environment, she is joined by some of the best samba musicians, including Rildo Hora (harmonica), Maurício Carrilho (7-string guitar) and Luciana Rabello (cavaquinho). This next four-song set is something you probably have never heard Leila do before. She sings samba — real acoustic samba — with the same ease as she does ballads and pop. The atmosphere is one of celebration as Leila performs songs by Paulinho da Viola, Elton Medeiros and others. If you are not a fan of Leila’s, this set could change your mind. It also leaves us wondering whether she will ever release an all acoustic album in this format. It’s certainly something she should explore. She’s got the talent, the voice and an impeccable taste for repertoire. I will have to admit that this samba set completely surprised me. Though I know what an accomplished artist Leila is, I never thought she could pull this off so well.
In addition to the show (recorded in June 2000), the DVD contains lots of bonus material, of course. The sound is available in DTS 5.1 (my favorite for that real “in the show” feeling), Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitles offer four language choices: Portuguese, English, Spanish and Japanese (Leila has a large following in Japan). Guitar chords are an added bonus for those who want to learn and play the music — as if watching Guinga and Roberto Menescal were not enough! There is a making of the show as well as Leila’s visit with her guests, some home video of hers as a little girl and a special short movie of her visit with Tom Jobim. The studio version of Gonzaguinha’s “Feliz” is beautifully done with Leila at the piano alone. Though not mentioned in the DVD at all, there is a last, big surprise. After “Feliz,” Leila performs Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes’s “Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar.” Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that. Oh well, had I known she would sing that song, I would have bought this DVD a long time ago.
Mais Coisas do Brasil
Universal 04400609389 (2001)
- Vós Sois o Lírio Mimoso (Euclides Faria – Leila Pinheiro)
- Verde (Eduardo Gudin – Costa Netto)
- Besame (Flávio Venturini – Murilo Antunes)
- Amor nas Estrelas (Roberto de Carvalho – Fausto Nilo) [w/ Roberto Menescal]
- Você em Minha Vida (Roberto Carlos – Erasmo Carlos)
- Monte Castelo (Renato Russo) [w/ 4 Manos]
- Um Dia, um Adeus (Guilherme Arantes)
- Tudo Bem (Lulu Santos)
- Nem às Paredes Confesso (Arthur Ribeiro – Ferrer Trindade – M. de Souza)
- Quando o Amor Acontece (João Bosco – Abel Silva)
- Todo Azul do Mar (Flávio Venturini – Ronaldo Bastos)
- Serra do Luar (Walter Franco)
- Nua Idéia (Leila XII) (Caetano Veloso – João Donato)
- Catavento e Girassol (Guinga – Aldir Blanc) [w/ Guinga]
- Ame (Paulinho da Viola – Elton Medeiros)
- Onde a Dor Não Tem Razão (Elton Medeiros – Paulinho da Viola)
- Saudade Louca (Arlindo Cruz – Acyr Marques – Franco)
- Coração em Desalinho (Mauro Diniz – Ratinho)
- Andar com Fé (Gilberto Gil)
- Feliz (Gonzaguinha)