Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Voice like honey

Last night we saw Marisa Monte sing at the Barbican. Monte sings "musica popular Brasileira" - or post-bossa nova urban music, combining a myriad of old and new urban styles, from samba and bossa nova to pop and rock. Notable performers of "musica popular Brasileira" include Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil - the last two who we've seen sing this year. And of course the beautiful Monte, who has recorded samba and folk as well as songs by Lou Reed and Marvin Gaye, and who has worked with distinctly modern musicians such as David Byrne, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Laurie Anderson.

Last night she sang with a voice by turns dark and husky (my favourite, rockier, harder edged songs), and airy and light. Her voice resonated against a compelling backdrop of moving walls of light and digital footage of electric butterflies and birds, and reached out to fill the entire hall. The largely Brazilian audience whooped and danced and clapped with joy. Once upon a time it would be lighters held aloft during slow songs. Last night it was mobile phones swaying in the air and recording the music.

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