Aug 05 2011

Maria Bethânia: Amor, Festa e Devoção

Another Outstanding Performance


Amor, Festa e DevoçãoLove, celebration and devotion. Three nouns that characterize the sentiment of Maria Bethânia’s most recent studio efforts. In 2009 the singer from Bahia released two albums, Encanteria and Tua. The first about faith; the latter about love. The tour that supported the releases combined the repertoire of the two albums along with some well chosen additions. The complete concert is now available as a most pleasing live recorded double album. It’s like a tradition for Maria Bethânia to work this way. On one hand she loves the quietness of the recording studio. When all the music arrangements are made and the instrumental tracks are recorded, she feels completely at ease to add her vocal lines. On the other hand, she also enjoys performing her repertoire on stage, in the presence of a large audience; adjusting arrangements and reacting to the response. So what can be more satisfying for her than to combine those two working methods? Many of Bethânia’s studio albums are followed by a live album.

Born in Santo Amaro da Purificação (Bahia, 1946), Maria Bethânia Vianna Telles Veloso has an impressive career of 46 years, during which she easily became one of the most cherished performers of Brazil. A status she earned because of her deep-rooted human interest and her tireless cultural engagements. Instead of quietly looking back at those 46 years, Bethânia keeps on looking forward, enjoying the work of younger generations of songwriters. She decided to dedicate Amor, Festa e Devoção to her mother, Claudionor Vianna Telles Veloso, commonly known as Dona Canô. The life and importance of Dona Canô (born in 1907, also in Santo Amaro da Purificação) is reflected in the title of the album. Love, celebration and devotion are guiding words for Maria Bethânia. She explains that the underlying meanings of those words, faith, hope and charity, characterize the powerful image of her mother. At age 103, Dona Canô is still an inspiration for Maria Bethânia.Maria Bethânia

The repertoire on Encanteria and Tua features an interesting mix of older and more recent compositions. Seventeen of the twenty-two songs of the twin albums are represented on Love, Celebration and Devotion. The rest of the live album’s set list consists of sentiment related songs. Some of them are chosen because they’re favourites of Dona Canô’s. Maria Bethânia also ventures into the repertoire of her brother Caetano Veloso. His “Não Identificado” was a favorite of their father José Teles Veloso (1901-1983).

Maria BethâniaThe atmosphere of Brazil’s musical soul is very well interpreted in an instrumental medley, performed by the extraordinary band that accompanied Maria Bethânia during the concert. The accent of her band is this time on the tasteful percussion. In the medley the band members get a chance to show their skills, something they do without turning it into a tour de force. Good taste is the magic word for the band that is led by (acoustic) guitarist and arranger Jaime Alem, who already worked for about two decades for Bethânia. His arrangements answer faultlessly to the desires of the vocalist. Bassist Jorge Helder is a settled and respected name in Brazilian music. He, too, has a long career (almost two decades) with Maria Bethânia. His bass lines reflect Brazilian music history like no one else’s. During this concert he occasionally switches to the mandolin. Vitor Gonçalves is on the electric piano and accordion. His star rises in the Brazilian jazz scene and can be heard on albums by (among others) trombonist Vittor Santos and the band 8VB (from bassist Bruno Migliari and guitarist Chester Harlan). On the drums we hear Carlos César, who also has a background in choro. It’s a quality that fits perfectly into the setting of Bethânia’s concert. Percussionists are Reginaldo Vargas and Marco Lobo. Reginaldo Vargas is no stranger to Maria Bethânia. He has worked with her on various albums. Marco Lobo is a well chosen addition to the band. With his enormous variety of percussion instruments the percussionist from Bahia (1964) knows as no other how to translate the sounds of Brazil’s (rural) northeast into music. It’s with this band that Maria Bethânia hit the stage of Vivo Rio in March 2010, one of Rio de Janeiro’s more recent concert venues, situated along the Guanabara Bay next to the Museum of Modern Art.

Barefooted, as always, on a stage covered with rose leafs, Maria Bethânia has no problem to capture the attention of her audience of 3000 people. The stage is a sacred place for Bethânia. With heavenly music like this one can only agree. Her performance is outstanding, each arrangement is among the most beautiful and the songs connect to each other in a perfect way. This is Maria Bethânia at her very best. The response from the audience is cute with cries from recognition and adoration. It’s why the beloved performer keeps on offering her loyal audience music, music with a deep root in Brazilian history, full of romance and immersed in inevitable “saudades.”

The concert is also available in DVD-format (same repertoire) on the Biscoito Fino label.



Maria Bethânia
Amor, Festa e Devoção
Biscoito Fino BF795 (2010)

Love, Celebration and Devotion 
DRG Brazil DRG-CD-31627 (2011)
Time: 1º26’16”


CD 1

  1. Santa Bárbara (Roque Ferreira)
  2. a. Rosa dos Ventos (Chico Buarque)
    b. Vida (Chico Buarque)
  3. Olho de Lince (Waly Salomão)
  4. Feita na Bahia (Roque Ferreira)
  5. Coroa do Mar (Roque Ferreira)
  6. Encanteria (Paulo César Pinheiro)
  7. Linha de Caboclo (Paulo César Pinheiro – Pedro Amorim)
  8. É o Amor Outra Vez (Dori Caymmi – Paulo César Pinheiro)
  9. Tua (Adriana Calcanhotto)
  10. Fonte (Saul Barbosa – Jorge Portugal)
  11. Explode Coração (Gonzaguinha)
  12. Queixa (Caetano Veloso)
  13. Você Perdeu (Márcio Valverde – Nélio Rosa)
  14. Dama do Cassino (Caetano Veloso)
  15. Até o Fim (César Mendes – Arnaldo Antunes)
  16. Serenata do Adeus (Vinícius de Moraes)
  17. Balada de Gisberta (Pedro Abrunhosa)
  18. Pout Pourri Instrumental
    a. Pout Pourri Instrumental Zanzibar (Edu Lobo)
    b. Seará (Jaime Alem)
    c. Lia de Itamaracá (Domínio Público)
    d. Desenredo (Dori Caymmi – Paulo César Pinheiro)
    e. Santo Antônio (Hermeto Pascoal)
    f. Fica Mal com Deus (Geraldo Vandré)

CD 2

  1. Não Identificado (Caetano Veloso)
  2. Curare (Alberto de Castro Simões da Silva)
  3. Estrela (Vander Lee)
  4. Serra da Boa Esperança (Lamartine Babo)
  5. Doce Viola (Jaime Alem)
  6. Guriatan (Roque Ferreira)
  7. Pescaria (Wilson Ribeiro Pimentel – Conceição Alves)
  8. a. Saudade Dela (Roberto Mendes – Nizaldo Costa)
    b. Ê Senhora (Vanessa da Mata)
    c. Batatinha Roxa (Domínio Público – adaptação: Roberto Mendes)
    d. A Mão do Amor (Roque Ferreira)
  9. Saudade (Chico César – Paulinho Moska)
  10. a. É o Amor (Zezé de Camargo)
    b. Vai Dar Namoro (Chico Amado – Dedé Badaró)
  11. O Nunca Mais (Roberto Mendes – Capinam)
  12. Bom Dia (Herivelto Martins)
  13. Andorinha (Silvio Caldas)
  14. Bandeira Branca (Max Nunes – Laércia Alves)
  15. a. Domingo (Roque Ferreira)
    b. Pronta pra Cantar (Caetano Veloso)
  16. O Que É, o Que É (Gonzaguinha)
  17. Encanteria (Paulo César Pinheiro)
  18. Reconvexo (Caetano Veloso)