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Ivete Sangalo Biography

Mtv Ao Vivo (CD)   Ivete Sangalo - Ao Vivo Mtv (DVD)


by Ricardo Pessanha

Born in 1972 in Juazeiro, the city in Bahia where bossa nova pope João Gilberto is from, Ivete Sangalo was one of those children who impressed everyone with her unbelievable musical sensitivity. At three, barely able to say the lyrics correctly, Ivete Sangalo surprised family audiences singing the hits of the moment. Her parents, from whom Ivete inherited her amazing musicality, were delighted with that precocious display of talent and, of course, have encouraged her since then.

 Through out her teen years, Ivete kept on singing and playing percussion during family gatherings. Being the youngest of six brothers and sisters, Ivete was exposed to all kinds of music. She listened to lots of traditional MPB (her parents' favorite), and also pop, rock, reggae and many other music styles -   Ivete's older brothers' and sisters' choices. At school, Ivete continued playing her guitar and singing. Picnics, rallies, music festivals... whenever she had a chance, there was Ivete Sangalo and her inseparable guitar. And if there were no special occasion, Ivete would invent one. Many times she'd cut classes just to get together with friends and sing.

 A little nightclub in Ondina, a neighborhood in Salvador, is where Ivete had her first "professional" gig. Her sister Mônica, who already sang and played there, introduced her to the owner. Mônica and Ivete had good laughs with Ivete's first pay: a meal "kindly" offered by the club owner.

 After that Ivete began to sing in other cities in Bahia and Pernambuco, a neighboring state. During this period she was invited to open for Geraldo Azevedo in a concert in the Teatro do Centro Cultural João Gilberto in her hometown. Back to Salvador and another invitation came in: to sing in a micareta (off-season carnival celebrations) in Morro do Chapéu, an interior city. There she met producer Jonga Cunha with whom Ivete started a very fruitful partnership. Their first project was a show in which Ivete sang many different music styles, but there was definitely an emphasis on rhythmic, danceable funk, enriched by Ivete's personal touch.

 In the meantime Ivete didn't stop. She toured the interior of Bahia as a backing vocalist for singer Lui Muritiba. She still can tell lots of lighthearted stories from those times on the road, when Ivete learned how to be the perfect crowd pleaser she is today. Siriguela, another nightclub in Ondina, was too small for the enthusiasm of the audience at the debut concert of Ivete Sangalo and her band in August, 1992. Ivete's musical maturity and privileged voice, together with impeccable interpretations and contagious stage performance made it clear that a new star had been born. With this concert Ivete seduced both critics and public, and won the Dorival Caymmi Award -- equivalent to the Grammy for musicians from Bahia -- for best singer that year. 

In 1993 Ivete took part in a special project called Meio-dia singing in Mercado Modelo, a traditional folk art fair in downtown Salvador. This show was a tremendous success and contributed a lot to increase the number of Ivete Sangalo fans. Right after that, Ivete had three gigs at Bar Canoa, a place frequented by intellectuals and opinion makers. Once again the success was amazing. At this point Ivete's producer invited her to work with Banda Eva. He guessed that Ivete's collaboration not only as a singer, but also as bandleader and artistic director, was exactly what the band needed. Jonga Cunha guessed right. Soon Ivete's natural leading power plus her perfect feeling for understanding and fulfilling audiences' needs took Banda Eva to the top of the charts.

Banda Eva's first album with Ivete Sangalo featured the hit "Adeus, Bye, Bye" and conquered the admiration of MPB star Maria Bethânia, who predicted that Ivete would soon become Brazil's best singer. But it was in 1994, when Ivete released her second album with Banda Eva (the first for PolyGram), that she hit it big. Pra Abalar (Made to Shake) was aptly named. It features a fantastic panorama of Bahian music along its eleven tracks. Among them, two smash hits: "Flores (Sonho Épico)" and "Alô Paixão". These two songs are perfect instances of the energy and capacity of Ivete Sangalo and her band to create highly contagious tunes. The other highlights on Pra Abalar are "Abadá" and the title track. Both are pure dynamite. It's just impossible to listen to them and not feel like dancing. Ivete's slender beauty and magnetizing stage presence conquered thousands of new fans. The top-notch arrangements and instrumental performance created the perfect setting for Ivete Sangalo to display her incommensurable talent.

And the musical excellence would go farther. That's what happened on Ivete's third album with Banda Eva, Hora H (PolyGram), released in 1995. "We have always been very concerned with the quality of our records. We were not extra careful with the arrangements on Hora H. I think the best result was a natural consequence of our growth as a band", says Ivete. ''Cupido Vadio", "Me Abraça" and "Pegue Aí" are the highlights on Hora H. The peculiarity to this CD is the Latin tinge made clear by tracks like "Beijo Veneno", "Naná, Naná" and "Querer". "A little 'latinidad' is good to broaden our horizons, to experience other kinds of music", explains Ivete.

1996 was the year of Beleza Rara (PolyGram), the fourth album with Ivete at the head of Banda Eva. This CD is another fantastic journey through the world of axé music, samba, toada, merengue, reggae and baião spiced with Ivete's irresistible charm. Beleza Rara is loaded with hits like "Levada Louca", "É Agora", "Amei Demais" and the title track.

In 1997 came Ao Vivo (PolyGram), which sold almost 2,000,000 copies. Recorded in front of a live audience in the gardens of a hotel in Salvador, Ao Vivo features every hit Ivete Sangalo has scored singing with Banda Eva. "The idea of making a live record was the best", says Ivete. Along the fourteen tracks, one can feel the level of energy generated by the concert. The reaction of the audience, singing and screaming almost driven into a trance by the band's performance, is amazing.

Ivete Sangalo's last album with Banda Eva was Eva, Você e Eu (PolyGram). This studio album features Ivete Sangalo at her best, singing a superb repertoire of axé music with energy and sensuality, backed up by a team of splendid musicians. The greatest hit on Eva, Você e Eu is "Carro Velho", written by Ivete herself. Under the leadership of Ivete Sangalo, Banda Eva became one of Brazil's most successful bands in the 90's, selling a total of 4.5 million albums.

Ivete Sangalo's debut solo album is a true work of love. Released in 1999, this self-titled CD is sheer ecstasy. The first track, "Canibal", is one of the many highlights on the record. Penned by Ivete, "Canibal" is tribal, Bahian, percussive. All the ingredients that made Ivete a star are present throughout the work: the harmonious fusion of elements from axé music, merengue, samba, reggae, maracatu, forró and baião with the Afro-Brazilian pulsation wrapped up in an irresistible pop format.     

Then it was time for Beat Beleza. As always, the national tour to promote this album started in Salvador, with shows in the Parque de Exposições, the same venue where she’d launch her third solo album, Festa (2002). After the successful Festa tour, it was time for Píer Bahia Brazil to travel around the country. It all started in Fortaleza, the capital of the Northeastern state of Ceará. The show mixed the summer hits with new material, getting the audiences ready for the launching of Ivete’s 4th solo album, "Clube Carnavalesco Inocentes em Progresso", that’s full of brand-new songs. The idea of the Píer Bahia Brazil tour was to recreate the highly energetic atmosphere of the shows Ivete staged in her venue – Píer Bahia – in Salvador during summer. And Ivete keeps the Bahian spices that give a very special taste to her Brazilian sound.

If there were no Ivete Sangalo, someone would have to invent one. This line, which generally is quoted in reference to Brazil, fits perfectly to define the importance of Ivete Sangalo in today's Brazilian music arena. Ivete is a talent that rose in the musical paradise of Bahia, the state of all the saints, to sing to the world. With her sensual contralto voice, the way she moves, the way she sings, Ivete Sangalo has conquered Brazil. "Now is the time for music from Bahia to reach out for the world. We've got rhythm and joy, and these features have become international languages," says Ivete herself. ©Ricardo Pessanha
 

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