Romantic to the Core
Released simultaneously with Encanteria, Tua brings another side of Maria Bethânia so familiar to her countless and loyal fans. Tua is Maria Bethânia’s heart singing just for you. At least that is the impression you will have upon listening to this gorgeous album. Everything from the album cover to its liner notes and the soothing and rich arrangements and guest starts will please the most demanding listener. It is true that both Encanteria and Tua would have easily fit in a long CD, the thematic approaches in both albums, however, warrant two separate releases.
Unlike other popular Brazilian stars, Bethânia has the gift of picking songs that fit her voice and style very well. Composers like Dori Caymmi, Adriana Calcanhotto, Chico César, Paulo César Pinheiro, Aldir Blanc are only a handful sample of the caliber of the music we find in her albums. They are all here along Roque Ferreira, who was prominently featured in Encanteria, and other first-rate songwriters such as Jorge Vercillo, Moacyr Luz and Capinam. Adding to the repertoire quality and renditions, there are special guests João Carlos Assis Brasil (piano), Victor Biglione (guitar), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Hamilton de Holanda (mandolin), Paulinho Trompete (trumpet), Kiko Continentino (piano) and Lenine (voice) playing along with Bethânia’s regular band under the direction of guitarist Jaime Alem.
Featured in Dori Caymmi’s Inner World, “É o Amor Outra Vez” opens Tua. With João Carlos Assis Brasil introduction, we are instantly wrapped in a warm arrangement. The first verses are only voice and piano, an absolute beauty in itself. When Jaime Alem’s acoustic guitar joins in with André Vasconcelos’ bass and Marcelo Costa’s drums, the song takes flight in a peaceful arrangement. Adding yet one more layer, Paulinho Trompete’s trumpet closes the circle in this strong opener. The title track, “Tua,” was written by none other than Adriana Calcanhotto, a master of poetry and ballad. The song is performed in a trio format only with a great steel guitar solo by Jaime Alem accompanied by Jorge Helder on bass and Marcelo Costa on drums. This is typical Adriana Calcanhotto, but in Bethânia’s voice the song is not only serene but also rich. For “Até o Fim,” Toninho Ferragutti added a French flavor with his accordion solo. Though all arrangements in Tua are penned by Jaime Alem, “Até o Fim” was arranged by Toninho himself. In his accomplished and unadorned style, Toninho is also featured in “Saudade,” a melancholic duet with Lenine reminiscing about the beauty of moonlit lakes and hills in the Brazilian countryside. Another great track is “Remanso,” featuring Hamilton de Holanda’s unmistakable mandolin. More like a serenade than the traditional choro style associated with Hamilton, “Remanso” is about calm eyes, sunset colors and Picasso blues. Aldir Blanc, another poet master in Brazilian music, is at his best in these lyrics. In the same intimate and serenade style, “O Nunca Mais” solidifies the intimacy spread throughout Tua. Bethânia ends that song a cappella. The peace and quiet is such that I find myself holding my breath not to disturb the serenity.
Closing the album, Toninho Ferragutti and João Carlos Assis Brasil return in Roque Ferreira’s magnificent “Domingo,” written in 2008. This composer from Bahia (Nazaré das Farinhas, 1947) became known in Brazil through the voice of Clara Nunes, one of our most beloved samba performers. Here in “Domingo,” Roque Ferreira reaffirms his place in Brazilian music. The arrangement is a duet between Toninho and João Carlos with Bethânia at times barely whispering some of the lyrics in perfect unison with those instruments. Right before closing, Toninho’s accordion solo will remind you of Elis Regina’s “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista” introduction. It is a very fitting tribute. Roque’s verses are an ode to love with emphasis on peace and happiness. Sadness and suffering should take place on another day, not on Sundays. Even if love chooses to go away on a Sunday, there’ll be no complaining, the song says, because “on Sundays my life is the circus, and I am the tight rope walker with no room for pain.”
Tua is a milestone in Maria Bethânia’s vast discography. In her intimate manner, she sings of love without falling in the commonplace and mundane.
Biscoito Fino BF914 (2009)
- É o Amor Outra Vez (Dori Caymmi – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- Tua (Adriana Calcanhotto)
- A Mão do Amor / O Que Eu Não Conheço (Roque Ferreira / Jorge Vercillo – J. Velloso)
- Até o Fim (César Mendes – Arnaldo Antunes)
- Remanso (Moacyr Luz – Aldir Blanc)
- Fonte (Saul Barbosa – Jorge Portugal)
- Dama, Valete e Rei / Você Perdeu (Bill Farr / Márcio Valverde – Nélio Rosa)
- Guriatã (Roque Ferreira)
- Saudade (Chico César – Paulinho Moska)
- Lamentação / O Nunca Mais (Mauro Duarte / Roberto Mendes – Capinam)
- Domingo (Roque Ferreira)