Live in Bahia

Caetano Veloso

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Live in Bahia Review

by Chris Nickson

Caetano Veloso has released his share of live albums over the years, but he still manages to make each one a delight, which is no mean feat. Live in Bahia takes him home to the region where he grew up, and where the audience is his from the first note. Put out to coincide with the publication of his book, Tropical Truth, he's not afraid to delve through songs old and new, and although his fans would lap up anything -- they're certainly happy to sing along -- he keeps them (and himself) on their toes by offering interesting rearrangements and not being afraid to experiment, like the slight rap on "Haiti" or the spiky, electric "Rock'n'Raul," which has echoes of Nirvana. Longtime arranger and co-producer Jacques Morelenbaum deserves much credit for the album's varied sound. At sixty, Veloso's voice isn't quite the supple instrument it was, but it can still wrap itself lovingly around notes and phrases, and his qualities as a writer are in evidence throughout. His take on the classic "Samba de Verão" is playful, inserting unexpected breaks, and he turns "Trem de Cores" into a singalong. Most interesting, perhaps, is "Tropicália" -- the movement might be 35 years old, but in this version, Veloso can still make the song shock. He remains an artist of the first order.

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