If the first sign of Tropicália legend Caetano Veloso forging something of a new musical path was his production of Gal Costa’s 2011 album Recanto, last year’s release of his own album, Abraçaço, confirmed that certain melancholic blues were beginning to inform his work.
The first new music from the notoriously prolific Bahian’s pen since 2009’s Zii e Zie, last year’s record completed a trilogy that Veloso says began with Cê in 2006. If its predecessor held a heavier, rockier thread as a result of being written and test-driven largely on tour, Abraçaço is a more complex beast, flitting between influences as diverse as funk carioca and pagode, only rarely pandering to the well-trodden, more radio-friendly ends of the samba and MPB spectrum.
And as a sign of his ever-inventive nature, Veloso explained that the album’s name, Abraçaço, actually stems from online experiences. ‘I sometimes use Abraçaço [a made-up superlative of abraço, or hug] at the end of my emails. It not only alludes to a big hug, but also a long and strong hug,’ the musician explained via Twitter.
On the accompanying tour that began last month in Rio (and sold out in a flash), the full album is sprinkled in between a set that spans five decades, as ever, bridging the impressive generation gaps invariably found in the audiences of his shows.
The singer’s mellifluous vocal style may still be considerably more appealing than some of his on-stage moves; but the man is untouchable in the hearts of his devotees, and the breadth of his audience simply grows with each new decade. Aside from a trawl of the well-received new album, expect some mass singalongs as well as more austere, politically charged reflection from the back catalogue.