When he began his tour at the end of 2012 for the album Abraçaço, Caetano Veloso probably didn’t expect the following months to be as turbulent as they were. But at least he wasn’t alone. The Bahian musician, who has never been scared to say what he thinks but has been relatively discreet in recent times, was one of the protagonists in the so-called ‘biography controversies’ in which he, his ex-wife Paula Lavigne, and artists of the calibre of Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and Roberto Carlos defended their right to prior authorisation of biographies and other copyright ownership issues.
But with the dust settled on the legal battle, Mr. Veloso returns to São Paulo with the show from his last album, accompanied by his Banda Cê for the third time – a rock trio consisting of musicians Pedro Sá (electric guitar), Ricardo Dias Gomes (bass) and Marcelo Callado (drums), all of whom are at least 30 years younger than their frontman.
Abraçaço, the third record from this recent rock phase, is thoroughly steeped in melancholy: ‘Estou Triste’ is one of the most beautiful and sombre examples from the 72 year-old artist’s vast songbook, which today spans his almost five-decade-long career.
It’s not hard for him to tease out gems from such an extensive back catalogue. Older songs such as ‘De Noite na Cama’, ‘Eclipse Oculto’, ‘Reconvexo’ and ‘Triste Bahia’, the latter from his classic 1972 Transa album, sit alongside brilliant recent tracks.
But if he seems far from the exuberant Tropicalista who led the revolution in Brazilian music at the end of the 1960s, then his voice and his relationship with the audience continue to be compelling and sincere – and there’s always the chance he’ll drop in a comment on current affairs, such as the recent protests in Brazil, the World Cup, or even about São Paulo. Like him or not: it’s always worth paying attention to Caetano Veloso.
Caetano Veloso (Fernando Young/Press Image)
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By Fabio Rigobelo
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