BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2015: JOBIM Relives The Hits Of The Master Of The Bossa Nova
Reviewed by Ewart Shaw, Friday 12th June 2015
Is anybody able to translate La Garota de Ipanema, The Girl from Ipanema, into Kaurna or Bangarla, or any other indigenous language? It's not for me, of course, I have enough trouble singing in Russian.
Alda Rezende, the Minais Gerais born, NZ resident, vocalist, asked from the stage, explaining that Antonio Carlos Jobim had been a great supporter of indigenous rights in Brazil. She then sang La Garota de Ipanema in English, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Maori. That was the last piece in a show dedicated to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, known as Tom to his friends, one of the great composers of popular music of the last century, but still best known for the world's most recorded song, that sensual paean of frustrated desire on a Rio beach. It's been recorded by more people that have recorded Cohen's Hallelujah, so that's lots.
Alda was one of three guest soloists invited by Alastair Kerr, founder, musical director and percussionist of the band Panorama do Brasil. It's a small ensemble that has taken on the challenge of opening up the world of Brazilian music, a music influenced by the slave trade and the indigenous communities, as well as the rhythmic sense of the Iberian Peninsula, to the Australian public, though in this case they didn't stray too far from the best known songs. Alda arrived on stage, short dark hair, green top, black skirt, no attempt at artificial sparkle, with an energetic and mobile stage presence and a voice as deep and dark as.(cliché time).really good coffee. Portuguese and Spanish look a lot alike on the page, but the Portuguese slur their vowel sounds in an intoxicating way, and collapse consonant groups into kisses.
Spanish may be the loving tongue, but Portuguese is a slightly drunken massage for the tongue. Whoever coined the phrase 'French kiss' obviously had never spoken the language of Lisbon and Rio.
It was once described to me by a Portuguese composer as "Russian spoken backwards".
Alda's voice is a seductive instrument but she never pushed the emotional content of the songs, allowing Jobim's music, songs such as Desafinado and One Note Samba, to engage with the audience on their own beautiful terms. Desafinado means slightly out of tune, and she wasn't.
Doug de Vries is immersed in the guitar music of that great country, and told a wonderful story of playing Chega de Saudade in front of huge Brazilian audience at a festival and having the entire crowd sing the song along with him. This meant he could actually improvise his accompaniment to their singing. We didn't sing along, but he certainly showed of his great finger work on that, and other songs.
The third invited guest was Vince Jones. Was it thirty years ago, we'd head down Hindley Street to Lark and Tina's, food by Philip Searle, Lanson Brut Cuvee at $10 a bottle, and young Vince Jones, voice, piano and trumpet, the Chet Baker combination. We are all a lot greyer now. The voice is dryer, the trumpet playing still full of character, and his fondness for scat singing in his upper register mighty eccentric, but full of fun. He was frequently singing higher than Alda, which shifted the balance in their duets in a very interesting way.
All that was missing was the last great ingredient. Heat. It was really cold on the stage. The show is popular enough for all three performances on that tightly packed stage to be booked out, but I wished I'd worn a beanie.