It was around midnight on a very pleasant Friday when Ivan Lins, one of the
most important names in Brazil's popular music scene for over three decades
stepped on stage at Newark's Palacio Europa, a beautiful show venue located
in the famous Ironbound Section of that New Jersey city that is home to a
large Luso-Brazilian community.
Lins, accompanied by a
incredibly competent five-piece band, opened with "Somos Todos Iguais"
(We're All the Same), a song that dates to the early days of his career, and
followed that with a very subtle rendition of 80s hit "Abre Alas"
(Clear The Area).
The subtleness of Lins
and his band was such that one of the show's producers, who was seated at
the same table I was at repeatedly went to the mixing table to check if the
general volume was too low.
After the second number,
Lins paused to thank everyone for being there, and said that he was happy
to be playing once more to an audience composed mostly of people from his
He also mentioned that
2004 marks the 20th anniversary of his successful musical and business partnership
with lyricist Vitor Martins (with whom he co-founded the Velas label in 1990)
and then introduced "Atlântida," their latest collaboration,
which is featured in the latest album by Brazilian pop singer Simone.
The new song was quickly
followed by the 70s hit "Começar de Novo" (Starting Over),
a song that was the theme of Malu Mulher, a highly successful 1979
Globo TV series that featured Regina Duarte as a very independent divorcéea
controversial theme for Brazil at that time.
At one moment, he announced
that he was proud to be from Rio de Janeiro, the town that is also the birthplace
of many musical legends, including Antonio Carlos Jobim and many others.
That statement drew steady
applause from the other Cariocas in the audience as he began playing
"Aqui É o Meu País" (Here Is My Country), a patriotic
song with a romantic twist.
One of the concert's highlights
was romantic ballad "Maravilhosa" (Marvelous), when the audience
took over the singing while Lins happily played along on his Yamaha piano
to a roomful of mostly female voices.
Another great moment was
the lively samba "Desesperar Jamais" (Never Despair), in which Lins
played mouth trombone during the long instrumental sections that showcased
keyboardist Marcio Brito.
I was greatly impressed
by the technique of guitarists Zé Carlos (acoustic) and Leonardo Bueno
(electric). Both played beautiful solos and drew appreciative applause from
After about 90 minutes
of music, Ivan Lins left the stage momentarily and promptly returned for an
encore that included "Madalena," his first big hit made famous in
the voice of the late Elis Regina.
I felt that Lins is not
much of a showman as the definition itself goes, but he definitely has a lot
of charisma, which definitely helps him carry the show.
Apart from that, he is
the writer of many huge hits (many recorded by artists such as The Manhattan
Transfer, Sarah Vaughan and many others), and the inclusion of most of those
during the set surely pleased everyone who forked over $40 to see this great
It was a great show, and
it made me feel somewhat sorry to have missed his other appearances in the
tri-state area in earlier years.
For more information:http://www.newyorkbrazil.com
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that,
he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing The Greenwich
Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published
by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island
Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and
other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at