Maria Bethania, along with her brother Caetano Veloso, have been at the forefront of MPB (Musica Brasileira Popular) or tropicalia since the mid-1960s. Bethania has predominantly recorded pop ballads with a light jazz sound and done so well that she became the first female Brazilian artist to have a record go platinum.
But that’s not the music you’ll find in Brasileirinho. Bethania’s pet project explores a range of Brazilian music genres from “Salva as Flohas, which deals with the roots of samba to “Purificar o Subae” a newer samba composed by Caetano Veloso, to the candomble “Xango Menino”. Nana Caymmi joins Bethania in “Sussuarana”; and Miucha harmonizes in “Cabocla Jurema” accompanied only by a guitar.
About half the songs have a poetry recitation to open the number, but really, whether or not you understand Portuguese, it doesn’t matter.
Now if all of this sounds a little esoteric, well, I suppose it is. But that doesn’t matter either. For pure listening pleasure, the songs are lovely and Bethania’s versatile torchy voice is hard to beat.
This is not an album for an evening of kicking up your heels. It’s the one you’ll reach for after a hard day at the office, when you’re in the mood to put some tropical beauty in your world.