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Maria Bethania
The Brazilian Chanteuse

Brazilian Music
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Canticos, Preces E Suplicas
(2003)

Each of Maria Bethania’s records take the form of prayers for her millions of admirers in Brazil and in the world. The singer, whose interpretations seem to carry a strong dose of religiosity at the simple emission of her voice, finally assumes the ecumenical character of their art. In her second release through Biscoito Fino, Maria Bethânia presents Cânticos, Preces e Súplicas á Senhora dos Jardins do Céu, which, with her voice, acquire still greater intensity – and devotion.

In this homage to Our Lady,
Bethania offers songs, prayer bead songs, litanies, poems and prayers to the “Mother of all love.” In Oferta de Flores, the CD´s opening song, Bethânia sings surrounded by strings regimented and conducted by the maestro, Jaime Alem. This is a play from the public domain, with an intensely devotional character, popular in the Recôncavo Baiano and in the processions of Santo Amaro da Purificação. Ave Maria, by Caetano Veloso, was composed for the wedding of two friends in Salvador at the beginning of the 60´s. The prayer, in Latin, was recorded for the first time on the tropicalist record by Caetano in 1967, and it is fit for the rustic version by Quinteto Violado, in 1973. Bethânia´s version brings out a Brazilian religious character, in which the samba recomposes the tropicalist liturgy. The singer, Nair Cândia, gives special participation on the cut.

O Doce Mistério de Maria is a poem written by the theatrical director, Fauzi Arap, at the request of Bethânia. Recited by the singer, the verses are complemented by O doce Mistério da Vida, a version by Alberto Ribeiro for Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, by Victor Herbert, recorded in Portuguese by Bethânia herself in the 70´s. Sancta Maria is a prayer bead song from Santo Amaro da Purificação put to music in the 19th century by Domingos de Farias Machado. In Bethânia´s words, parts of the prayer bead songs are sung, “from my memory kept from my childhood, when I offered flowers, or was Angel, arch-angel and had the privilege to crown her.”

Also by Domingos de Faria Machado, the prayer bead songs, Totta Pulchra and És Lírio, arranged as chamber music, just as Hino de Nossa Senhora da Purificação, interpreted by the guitar of Jaime Alem. Ave Maria, by Schubert, appears with words in Portuguese by Vicente Paiva and Jayme Redondo and João Carlos Coutinho on the piano. Feitio de Oração, paraphrasing the samba by Noel, is a poem by Waly Salomão, coming from “bottlefuls of seeped herbs from the darkness of thick woods.” Salve Rainha is a well-knows Christian prayer, recited by Bethânia.

Mãe de Deus das Candeias includes Gilberto Gil´s music for pilgrim´s verses, collected by Bethânia. The recording is made of Gil´s own voice and guitar. Ladaianha de Santo Amaro was written by her sister, Mabel Velloso, on the occasion of Maria Bethânia´s 50th birthday. Ladainha de Nossa Senhora is recited by Dona Canô Velloso, accompanied on the clavichord by Eriberto Carvalho. The cantata, Magnificat, by Johann Sebastian Bach, ends the CD in a grandiose emotion which goes above all the beliefs of Bahian Barroch: Magnificat anima mea dominum. --Biscoito Fino

More About Maria Bethania:

Bethânia was the first brazilian singer to reach the mark of 1 million CDs sold, with Álibi, in 1978. That`s not bad for someone who, as a girl in Santo Amaro da Purificação, in Bahia, dreamed of being an actress. Her debut on stage was in 1963, in Salvador, singing a samba by Ataulfo Alves in the play Boca de Ouro, by Nelson Rodrigues. In 1964, Maria Bethânia and other musicians just starting out, like her brother Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and Tom Zé, presented a show Nós Por Exemplo, in Salvador. Bethânia was only 19 when she received an invitation from Augusto Boal to substitute Nara Leão in the anthological show Opinião, in Rio de Janeiro. Soon after the first presentation, she brought down the house in Rio interpreting Carcará, by João do Vale and José Cândido. In the same year she recorded her first CDs, and soon after was being called the Queen Bee of brazilian popular music. Maria Bethânia has released more than 30 CDs, some of them in partnership with great names of brazilian popular music, as Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque and “Doces Bárbaros” (Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa). In 2002, she released the long-awaited CD Maricotinha Ao Vivo, by Biscoito Fino. In 2003, Biscoito Fino released the DVD Maricotinha Ao Vivo and the CD Cânticos Preces Súplicas à Senhora dos Jardins do Céu. Along with the label Quitanda, the CD Brasileirinho was released in September/2003.--Biscoito Fino


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