See and Hear Brazil’s Gilberto Gil in the US Before He Retires

Brazil's Gilberto Gil, singer, composer, Brazilian Culture Minister Tickets are still available for Gilberto Gil's one-night-only gig at Carnegie Hall on March 20. According to a recent interview by Caetano Veloso, his old friend is contemplating retirement from the music scene, so this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

Tickets start at US$ 23, and can be purchased online via Carnegie Hall's website, www.carnegiehall.org or by calling 212-247-7800.

Speaking of Veloso, he shows no signs of slowing down, as one can hear from his latest album of original music, Cê. (Nonesuch), which goes back to basics, quickly recorded with the backing of a simple rock trio.

"Não Me Arrependo" (I Have No Regrets) pertains to his recent breakup ("Not the biggest of your mistakes/or my mistakes/or my remorse/will make it disappear"), beginning with a drowsy bassline, it evolves as the melody follows the despair in the singer's voice.

"Odeio" (I Hate) is the disc's heaviest moment, with a long electric guitar riff that introduces lyrics that contain a mixed imagery that culminate with the refrain "I Hate You, I Hate You".

Among the weaker moments is "Porquê?" (Why), with its feeble jazz arrangement that doesn't really go anywhere. That, however, does not mar the disc's overall quality, for the music surprises you far more than it disappoints.

Just the beauty of "Waly Salomão", the hastily written in tribute of Veloso's longtime friend (who passed shortly before the recording sessions) is worth the price alone.

For only the second time since Starbucks took on music retail, they are releasing an international act (the first was Italy's Zucchero two years ago). This time around, it is Céu's début (Six Degrees) which brings influences from Lauryn Hill, Marisa Monte (who, incidentally, is a confessed fan), Elis Regina, African music and fado. The CD's release is scheduled for early April, which coincides with a yet to be confirmed U.S. tour.

Among the various expat Brazilian musicians, there are two releases that have caught our attention. The first one comes from West-Coast-based Célia Malheiros who recently released Cenário Brasileiro (Brazilian Scenery, self-released).

On this album, she showcases mostly original material, showing the various rhythms of Brazil, going from bossa nova to xote, the beat that is familiar with the northeastern part of the country.

The legendary João Bosco guests on the title track, which features Luis Brasil on guitar and Zé Canuto (of Gal Costa's band) on bass. She is currently touring on the West Coast. Information about her can be found on www.celiamalheiros.com

Then, Carla Hassett goes in a completely different direction on her latest disc, Quero Saber (I Want To Know, Paulista Records). Clearly drawing influence from Flora Purim, she sings mostly original material in English and in Portuguese.

The album opens with a bass riff that reminds you of The Beatles' "Come Together" that evolves into a funky beat. Listen to the clever cover of "Julia" , a song written by John Lennon for the Beatles' White Album. Here she gives the tune a Portuguese lyric that is intertwined with English. For more information, visit www.CarlaMusic.com

Ernest Barteldes is a freelance writer based on Staten Island, New York. He can be reached at ebarteldes@yahoo.com.

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