Monday, February 25, 2013
I’m a bit behind my time today, but here we are with the wrap up of this month’s series featuring the great Brazilian singer Gal Costa. As I mentioned last week, in March there will be an installment of Any Woman’s Blues each Monday, so that’s something exciting to look forward to!
Choosing four songs to somehow give an idea of a singer with such a long, diverse & rich career as Gal Costa is challenging at the very least, if not a fool’s errand. As I planned for the series, & even into this month, my selections changed. At one time, I thought of the series as all Gal Costa performing Tom Jobim’s songs, & certainly that would have made for a great set of videos too. Costa is a fantastic interpreter of Jobim’s material. But I decided to try to show more of her diverse range. Still for quite some time I planned on ending the series with Gal Costa covering “Wave” at a concert in the 00s—in full full & beautifully melodic voice in her 60s, & I do recommend that video for those who’d like to hear more of her music.
But in the end I decided on a video recorded in 1996, in which she duets with her longtime friend Caetano Veloso on his lovely song about love & connection, “Tá Combinado.” Costa’s friendship with Veloso dates back to their youth in Bahia, & continued through to the present day—in fact there’s a recent interview with them available on YouTube, but it is in Portuguese without subtitles.
Caetano Veloso, like Gal Costa, was a major figure in Tropicália, the Brazilian psychedelic counter-culture music of the 1960s & 70s (also, as I have mentioned in previous posts, a movement that included all forms of art.) Veloso’s songs at that time were seen as subversive by the military dictatorship that took power in 1964, & he was sentenced to exile (along with Gilberto Gil) in 1969, & lived in London for a few years before returning to Bahia in 1972. I should note that Veloso’s sister, Maria Bethânia, was also a major figure in Tropicalismo.
This is a beautiful song & the performance by two seasoned performers with impeccable delivery & pure melodic voices is a great pleasure. It is also, in my opinion, a deeply sexy video—proving that sensuality doesn’t cease being available just because you’re in your 50s!