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Producer’s Note
In line with his previous musical films such as « Martha Argerich Evening Talks » which he directed in 2002, Georges Gachot takes us on a journey into the universe of Maria Bethânia the famous Brazilian singer who was formerly the counterculture muse before becoming the romantic ballads diva.
In addition, Gachot brings together a fantastic choice of performers: Nana Caymmi, Miucha, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, each one of them having witnessed and taken part in one of the greatest music histories of our time.
Seizing the opportunity offered by the release of Maria Bethânia’s two new albums, one of them a tribute to the romantic lyrics of Vinicius de Moraes (the remarkable poet and writer, namely the co-author with Tom Jobim of “The Girl from Ipanema” and a friend of Bethânia during his lifetime) and the other, Brasileirinho, a journey into the heart of the history of Brazilian music, the film takes us back to the sources of inspiration of a movement resulting from jazz and European classical music and leading to Bossa Nova and later to Tropicalism.
The film offers an insight into the intimate sphere of the work of Maria Bethânia, surrounded by her musicians, artistic advisors and friends and represents a marvellous opportunity to understand from the inside the history of this Brazilian music. Maria Bethânia describes her musical background in parallel with the development of Brazilian society and music.
The different scenes show in great detail the process of record production including discussion on lyrics, choice of pieces, rehearsals with the musicians as well as studio recordings fascinated by the complexity of Brazilian musical structures. Whilst welcoming us in her homes in Rio and Salvador do Bahia, Maria Bethânia explains her musical choices, her working method as well as the preparation of studio sessions and concerts.
Talks also take place with some of the people closest to her such as Caetano Veloso, her brother, or the international superstars Gilberto Gil or Chico Buarque who wrote many songs for her. The early life of Maria and Caetano as well as their first artistic works are recalled thanks to a stop in Santo Amaro da Purificaçao, the village in the Bahia region in which they spent their childhood. With each encounter, we are able to leave the present moment, including music such as it is sung and recorded today, to return to the history and roots to better understand how this music evolved from Baroque traditions to Tropicalism.
We see also the presentation of these albums at concerts when the audience repeats songs from Vinicius de Moraes and “Brasileirinho”. In this last record, in a style somewhat close to the Baroque movement, Maria Bethânia explored once again musical structures closer to traditional Brazilian music.