Maria Bethânia

Noite Luzidia, Vol. 1: Live 2001

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The craze for DVD music videos in newly affluent Brazil may explain why this historical Maria Bethânia show was released in late 2012, rather than in 2001 when it actually took place. Recorded at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Canecão on September 4, Noite Luzidia was a one-time-only all-star celebration of Bethânia's 35 years in music. The full list of guests included Caetano Veloso, Vanessa da Mata, Chico César, Carlos Lyra, Mariana de Moraes, Lenine, Branco Mello, Arnaldo Antunes, Gilberto Gil, Roberto Mendes, Renato Teixeira, Adriana Calcanhotto, Ana Carolina, Chico Buarque, Moreno Veloso, Nana Caymmi, and Dori Caymmi, plus two bonus tracks performed solo in studio by Edú Lobo and Milton Nascimento, respectively, and for unknown reasons added to the package. While listeners unfamiliar with Brazilian music may be amazed at the number of names -- which would be doubled if composers were added -- what is actually most astonishing is the sheer diversity of artists involved, both in stylistic and generational terms. Indeed, this show constitutes authoritative proof that, in the course of her long and almost invariably magnificent career, Bethânia has become a sort of fairy godmother or patron saint of Brazilian popular music, an indefatigable crusader who is equally busy at keeping alive all regional traditions (either by breathing new life into the classics or unearthing obscure gems), and ensuring a bright future, as she has always made a point of promoting the works of young composers. In true Brazilian fashion, this event was put together rather hurriedly and some performances betray a certain degree of improvisation, while others are instant magic. Songs range from some of Bethânia's signature tunes to several tracks from the album she was about to release at that time, the excellent Maricotinha. [While the audio counterpart is split into two volumes, released separately, the DVD features the entire concert plus a handful of extras.]