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It could almost be the subject of a song by Arnaldo Baptista himself, like a snake biting its tail and symbolising the eternal beginning. After a year in which the veteran musician reinvented himself, playing shows throughout Brazil, as well as producing new paintings for a solo art show at Emma Thomas gallery, Arnaldo ends 2012 where it all began, in the Pompeia neighbourhood where he grew up, and where he began playing with Os Mutantes, the psychedelic rock band of which he was a founder member.
In this solo show, ‘Sarau o Benedito?’, Baptista is accompanied only by the piano, playing Os Mutante material as well as new works, including from his highly anticipated new album, Esphera. He even does a few covers, including an excellent ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John, interspersed with improvisations that mix classical and pop – Chopin meets Bob Dylan – all guided by Baptista’s singular musical vision.
Baptista’s shows are notoriously moving, and one of the reasons is their incredibly intimate tone: he might almost be playing in his own living room. ‘The setlist depends on the audience vibes,’ explains Baptista, ‘and whether we’re at peace or at war. It’s very improvisational.’