There is no shortage of Gilberto Gil live albums, but then again each is a bit special and most tend to be pretty great. BandaDois is a CD/DVD package that captures Gil at his most intimate, as he revisits his entire career alone on a small circular stage, surrounded by rays of blue light and smoke. Solo guitar-and-voice live albums can get a bit monotonous, unless one is talking about someone who can play and sing as wonderfully as Gil, let alone do both simultaneously. Music simply flows through the body and soul of the most youthful 67-year-old in the world, who can croon, sing in falsetto, whistle, tweet, or chirp in the same effortless manner that his fingers write the book on all the possible rhythmic and harmonic permutations of samba, Brazilian folklore, African music, pop, and the kitchen sink of world music, all at the same time and all without as much as a hint of virtuoso cockiness. Rather, all is done in the joyful, serene, and self-effacing trademark style that has deservedly turned Gil into a universally beloved artist. Oh, and he can cherry-pick his compositions from one of world music's most brilliant and respected catalogs, too, as well as dispensing tributes to Jackson do Pandeiro and Doryval Caymmi, and a couple of new songs proving (as his latest studio album, Fé na Festa, can eminently attest) that he remains a superior creative force. In all fairness, one would be hard-pressed to say that the acoustic renditions of BandaDois are better than the originals -- if the consummate musician that Gil is chose to record most of those with a full band or with electric instruments, you could be sure there would be very good reason to do so. But BandaDois succeeds splendidly in showing Gil's many classics in a new light, which is exactly what all-acoustic live albums should do. Just to spruce things up, Gil is joined by his sons Bem on tambourine and guitar (on 16 out of 24 songs on the DVD; the CD only features 16 tracks) and José on bass (on "Refavela" and "Babá Alapalá"), as well as by singer Maria Rita, daughter of Elis Regina and now a star in her own right, on "Amor Até o Fim." The extras on the DVD include step-by-step lessons on how to play five of Gil's best compositions, which are guaranteed to send guitar freaks worldwide drooling. And since Gil is the staunch supporter of open sharing that he is, all the clips are freely available on Gil's YouTube channel. What else is there to say? You simply have to love the man, and his flat out-of-this-planet music. And it just keeps on getting better: for his 2010 tour Gil reformatted the BandaDois project into BandaTreis, with the addition of Jacques Morelenbaum on cello.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes