Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Time Out interview: Beth Carvalho

Samba's leading lady talks to Bruna Velon about music, the city and her starring roll in this year's New Year's Eve celebrations in Copacabana

With a 45-year and 33-album career already under her belt, Beth Carvalho is an integral part of Brazilian music royalty. Whether being known as the Godmother of Pagode, the Queen of Samba or simply as a Brazilian Culture Ambassador, she is always a woman of the people, and it is fitting, therefore, that on 31 December she will once more take her live show to the sands of Copacabana to open the biggest new year’s eve party on the planet.

"It will be the third time I've participated in this wonderful celebration. It's a great feeling to sing for more than 2 million people. This year, I will perform a tribute to Mangueira and a medley from (famous bloco) Cacique de Ramos, as well as songs from my new album Nosso Samba Tá Na Rua,” says Beth, who plans to watch the fireworks afterwards with the traditional snack of three grapes for good luck.

Among the hits set to fill the set will be the classics Vou Festejar and Coisinha do Pai, a track that has even been played on Mars, courtesy of a Brazilian NASA engineer.

The singer is not only beloved by her audience, but by musicians of all generations of samba and she remains an integral face on the scene. "The best pagode in town is Clube do Cozido, by my friend Zeca Pagodinho. I like the Lapa venues such as Carioca da Gema and Lapa 40 Graus. Trapiche Gamboa and Cacique de Ramos are also a good bet," reveals Beth, who has sung roots samba together with the best singers, musicians and poets of the genre.

In addition to Brazil, the singer has already taken her shows to Europe, the United States (including Carnegie Hall in New York, considered one of the biggest stages the world), Latin and Central America. The worldwide notoriety has put her in the running for a Grammy on several occasions.

“When I play abroad, there always seems to be a lot of Brazilians in the audience or people who in some way are linked to our culture. I always feel a great affection from them,” says the singer, who in 2012 will continue to tour her new album.

As for what the new year holds, Beth has a few tips to keep an ear out for; “Moyses Marques is very talented. My daughter Luana Carvalho's career is also taking off. My new album has a song on there that she wrote, Arrasta Sandália,” she beamed.

So for anybody heading to Copacabana on 31 December simply take the refrain ‘Eu vou festejar, vou festejar’ (‘Im going to party, Im going to party’) and repeat, starting the year in the way it should undoubtedly be continued.

Beth Carvalho opens the Copacabana celebrations on 31 December at 8.30pm on the Copacabana Palace stage.
 

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors
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