Dec 12 2005

Simone: Ao Vivo (2005)

With Thanks to the Special Guests…



Ao VivoA few decades ago, Simone released a live album called Ao Vivo no Canecão (1980). It took years and years before another live cd reached the stores (Brasil, O Show, 1997). But all of a sudden, Simone seems to enjoy the opportunity to record her most recent shows for a cd release. Here’s another one, recorded at the Teatro João Caetano in Rio de Janeiro during August of 2005. This Ao Vivo is the registration of the show that followed after the release of Baiana da Gema, featuring the music from Ivan Lins and Vitor Martins. There is one significant difference with her other live releases, though. This album will be available on DVD as well. Simone’s first DVD was something like The Making of Baiana da Gema, but here we’ll be able to witness the show Simone built around that album. That’s the extra bonus. The bonus Simone’s label EMI gave itself was to gain some extra money by waiting to release the DVD until after curious people like myself bought the CD. (The DVD, which contains seven extra songs, still wasn’t released at the time of writing.)

The live recording is made more attractive by the addition of a few special guests. The first, of course, is Ivan Lins himself. Simone and Ivan sound great together. From the moment Ivan joins in, he gets the chance to do his own thing, enforcing Simone to be part of his song. Simone & Zélia DuncanSimone is big a star enough to let that happen, which results in two beautiful duets. They are among the best moments on this CD. Second guest is Milton Nascimento. Somehow the magic between the two singers fails to happen. Their mutual guest appearances on each other’s earlier studio works always led to incredible tracks. Here both stars sound a bit forced. On “Cigarra” only some moments reflect those early days a bit.  Third guest is Rio’s most cherished singer for this moment: the lovely Zélia Duncan. Her enthusiasm and dedication to everything she does always bring a moment of happiness on stage. She has a remarkable stage presence, besides being a gem of a singer. Her two duets with Simone are not different. Maybe that’s why she’s invited on stage by so many artists these days. On the first duet, Simone shows her open mind for more recent repertoire again with a perfect interpretation of “Não Vá Ainda.” Simone also doesn’t shy away for the beautiful Jorge Drexler composition “A Idade do Céu.” She shows her unique talent again and manages, along with Zélia, to be the modest but perfect interpreter of the Uruguayan composer’s song. The 55-year-old singer pays tribute to the late Cássia Eller with an impressive and moving rendition of “Nós.” It’s surprising how powerful and playful Simone sounds in this song.

For this opportunity Simone also dived into her older repertoire. The inclusion of “Começar de Novo” seems like a logic choice (after all, the song is composed by Ivan Lins and Vitor Martins). Unfortunately it now sounds too much as a deja-vu, like “Tô Votando”; both also to be found on Ao Vivo no Canecão.

As you might expect, the band formed around keyboard player Ricardo Leão is faultless.  The final result is an enjoyable, although far from a spectacular new album. The featured guests are a more than welcome addition to the recording. Simone is following the same good working concept during her career, mixing old compositions with new ones. The bonus track on this album is a studio recording of “Então Me Diz.” Hopefully the beauty of that song serves as a foretaste of the next album.

There is also an interview in Portuguese with Simone related to the release of this album. You can read it here, “Então Me Diz…”



Ao Vivo 
EMI 340231 2 (2005)
Time: 56’42”


  1. Saravá, Saravá (Ivan Lins – Martinho da Vila) / Tô Voltando (Paulo César Pinheiro)
  2. Começar de Novo (Ivan Lins – Vitor Martins)
  3. Vitoriosa (Ivan Lins – Vitor Martins) – w/ Ivan Lins
  4. Dandara (Ivan Lins – Francisco Bôsco) – w/ Ivan Lins
  5. O Que Será (A Flor da Terra) (Chico Buarque)
  6. Jura Secreta (Sueli Costa – Abel Silva)
  7. Encontros e Despedidas (Milton Nascimento – Fernando Brant) – w/ Milton Nascimento
  8. Cigarra (Milton Nascimento – Ronaldo Bastos) – w/ Milton Nascimento
  9. Dia Branco (Geraldo Azevedo – Renato Rocha)
  10. Nós (Tião Carvalho)
  11. Não Vá Ainda (Christiaan Oyens – Zélia Duncan) – w/ Zélia Duncan
  12. A Idade do Céu (Jorge Drexler; version: Paulinho Moska) – w/ Zélia Duncan
  13. Parei Contigo (Ivan Lins – Paulo César Pinheiro)
  14. Então Me Diz (The Blower’s Daughter) (Damien Rice; version: Zélia Duncan)