What makes Maria Bethânia (born in Santo Amaro da Purificação,
Bahia; 1946) indistinguishable from other singers of her generation
is that, besides staying true to her own concept (music combined with
constantly enriches her repertoire with compositions from both past
and present. This live cd-set is not only the concert version of her
most recent studio
album Maricotinha. It also commemorates the 35th anniversary
of her career, completely in line with the trend these days. Although
there was a special album for her 25th anniversary too...
Of course the Maricotinha album is well represented here, but
there's still room for some 40 more little pieces of art covering songs
the diva performed throughout her impressive career. The track that
lends its title
to this cd was discovered by the singer only a few years ago. Nana
Caymmi was humming something while visiting Maria Bethânia at her home.
Surprised she couldn't hum along, Bethânia asked what song it was.
Nana replied it was a samba her father Dorival wrote. Next it became
in Bethânia's repertoire. And she's liked to be referred as Maricotinha.
(After performing the song, Maria Bethânia says "Thank you, Maricotinha
The program for this concert is extremely well balanced. Songs by her
obvious composers (Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Edu Lobo, Dorival
Caymmi, AC Jobim,...) are alternated by compositions from a next generation
Frejat/Cazuza, Vanessa da Mata, Chico César, Lenine, Adriana Calcanhotto,...).
In between Maria Bethânia recites little poems from her favorite poets,
among those Ferreira Gullar, Fernando Pessoa and the late Natália
The poem "Quando o amor vacila" has no credits. It was just there,
no one knows where it came from... It's evidence of great respect and
good taste that Bethânia corrects an error she made in the last sentence
of a poem by Sophia de Mello Breyner, one of Portugal's most important
poets. The booklet of the cd shows the correct text. Composer Sueli
Costa is represented
by an extra studio recording of "Coração
After the beautiful saudades arousing rendition of Carlos Guinle/Dorival
Caymmi's "Sábado em Copacabana," Maria Bethânia shares
a first story about the early days of her career. About going to Rio
at age 17, nothing to lose, a lot to gain.
"When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, in (19)65, it was Copacabana that welcomed
me. With its smells of French fries and gasoline. Its afternoons with unexpected
thunder and lightening. And its unforgettable, magical, pure glamorous evenings."
Also her frequent appearances at the so called "boates" (bars with
live entertainment) are narrated in an easy going way.
"The public in a bar is a bit different from that in a theatre (...) They
drink a bit, flirt a lot and forget a little about the singer who sings for them.
That was cool, because I learned to sing everything while performing in bars..."
The 1968 album Ao Vivo na Boate Barroco is an example of such
an event (although of course poorly recorded, specially compared with
this superb registration). The appropriate performance of Gilberto
Gil's composition "Se
eu morresse de saudades" is followed by a second story. (Note that
the cd is recorded in São Paulo's Direct TV Hall, while the DVD
shows the concert at Rio's Canecão.) São Paulo was the
second big city she stayed at, playing at bars and beautiful theatres
("casas de espetáculos").
She also mentions it was in São Paulo where she learned about
Chico Buarque "with
his eyes with the color of the sea and his beautiful songs." Followed
by a composition of São Paulo born but Rio raised samba lover
The band is superb. Jaime Alem is the musical director and accompanying
on acoustic guitar and additional keyboards. Pianist João Carlos
Coutinho, drummer Carlos Bala, percussionist Reginaldo Vargas, guitarist
João Castilho and
bassist (both acoustic and electric) Rômulo Gomes are the perfect
band members. Cellist Márcio Mallard adds his talents, as do
violinists Bernardo Bessler and Ricardo Amado. Beautiful cello and
violin performance on "Noite
As said before, the recording is of an extraordinary beauty. Also the
presentation of the cd-set is very well taken care of. A true tribute
to a majestic
career of one of Brazil's most important performers.
CD recorded live at the Direct TV Hall in São Paulo, December 2001.