Ana Carolina

Ana & Jorge: Ao Vivo [DVD]

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Both Seu Jorge and Ana Carolina are artists of great expression in 21st century Brazilian music, but ones who at first glace appear to belong to different categories: Jorge, born in Rio de Janeiro, led the samba revival up from the 1996 works with the group Farofa Carioca and became a fairly known actor in the role of the dark and charismatic character Knockout Ned in the Oscar-nominated film Cidade de Deus (City of God). Carolina initially adopted a more "pop singer" approach despite her deep voice and very characteristic tone and attitude. When they decided to do shows together in São Paulo, some eyebrows raised. The resulting show, album, and DVD prove they have much more in common, and that such talented artists put together on the same stage could only result in glorious music. In front of the audience, they sound and look like two giants, delicately praising each other; in such a harmonious collaboration, one could think they have been playing together since the cradle. Not true, though, and this is far from being a down pit -- much to the contrary: they both add to each other's music in a seamless blend, creating a unique type of music, one that adds Brazilian flavor to a set of light songs, dominated by voices and acoustic guitar, where a traditional samba meets Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" (Portuguese version by Carolina) in quite a complete spectrum.

The DVD works almost in a subjective view, as if you where in the audience (in a pretty high seat, of course) always looking the acts from the front, and very smart close-up takes, once in a while, deeply capture the singers' emotions. The general feeling is that of a very informal and friendly relationship (clearly depicted in the rehearsal's footage in the extras section).

Jorge begins the show alone, playing some of his best songs, with a stage presence that can dominate the place even from sitting on little bench playing the acoustic guitar (resembling the deep impression he left on Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizou, where he came to a wider public outside Brazil). At one point, he starts playing "Carolina" (the song) and this serves up as introduction for the red-haired singer. As she takes the stage, holding just a percussive Brazilian instrument called a "pandeiro," the duo effort begins to grow in a very strong point where they play a song called "Comparsas/O Pequenez e o Pit Bull," where they sing about being on the stage with a "horse without wings" (a reference to the Afro-Brazilian religion called candomble, where the participants can be overwhelmed by the forces of the candomble gods, acting as "horses" that these gods ride -- so to say), referring themselves as "overwhelmed" by the presence of the partner. This song done, the setting is perfect and the audience is won. From this point on, they deliver a most memorable show. For fans of Carolina and Jorge, this is a must-have. And for anyone looking for a fresh approach to contemporary Brazilian music, made in and for this time, this DVD (also available on CD format) is a great starting point.

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