Maria Bethânia

Drama Luz da Noite

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This exceptional 1972 recording by Maria Bethânia, the matriarch of tropicalia and bossa nova, was produced by her brother, Caetano Veloso. Bethânia had been performing outside her native Brazil in Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Norway, and in 1973 Antonio Bivar and Isabel Chamber commissioned the direction of the full-blown stage show Drama Luz da Noite (Drama, Light From the Night). The show was recorded live in December 1973, and features the songs of Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Luiz Melodia, and Paulo Vanzolini, among many others who wrote specifically for her. The finest tunes are those written in collaboration with Veloso and the adapted traditional Bahian songs. The live stage version is not comparable to the exquisite LP from the previous year, which features some of the tropicalia movement's finest tunes. However, this work reveals the genius of Maria Bethânia, a mainstay (along with her brother) of the new Brazilian bossa nova sound of the early '70s.