Maria Bethânia

Tua

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The twin release to the festive Encanteria, Tua is a collection of reflective love songs by Maria Bethânia that only confirms her creative renaissance in the 2000s. As in all of her recent offerings (and in stark contrast to some of her over-produced 1980s albums), the intimate settings work wonders for Bethânia's interpretative prowess. As usual, Bethânia's composers and collaborators are among Brazil's finest: Arnaldo Antunes, Adriana Calcanhotto, Dori Caymmi, Paulo César Pinheiro, Aldir Blanc, Chico César, José Carlos Capinam, and several others. This is subtle, exquisitely romantic music, mostly based on understated piano or acoustic guitar figures, brightened with perfectly timed touches of accordion or bandolim. If a collective celebration was at the heart of the more percussive Encanteria, Bethânia the singer takes center stage in Tua. Other than in the beautiful duet with Lenine in "Saudade," the album is dominated by Bethânia's supremely expressive voice, one that with the years has grown more nuanced and less melodramatic. That Maria Bethânia is a formidable singer was never in doubt, yet over at least the past decade it is becoming indisputable that she is also a formidable artist on the evidence of her superb releases for the Biscoito Fino label, of which the 2009 diptych Tua/Encanteria is another fine example.

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