Maria Bethânia Encanteria
- Released: October 22, 2009
- Originally Released: 2010
- Label: 101 DISTRIBUTION
From the late '60s to the early '90s Maria Bethƒnia was one of Brazil's best, but also most successful, female singers. In many ways, the fading of her commercial appeal represented a liberation of sorts for the magnificent Bahia singer. No longer forced to please a massive audience, in the 21st century Bethƒnia positively embraced her new creative freedom through a series of outstanding artistic projects, admirable in both their aesthetic coherence and their peerless realization. At 63, a thoroughly rejuvenated Bethƒnia is also still amazingly prolific, as attested by the simultaneous release of her two new 2009 studio albums, Encanteria and Tua. As it is the norm in this new phase of Bethƒnia's career, each album has an overall theme or concept: love for Tua, and devotion for Encanteria. In an enchantingly (and all-too Brazilian) counterintuitive way, the former is a stately collection of autumnal ballads, while the latter is quite an upbeat affair. Indeed, Encanteria draws its inspiration from Brazilian regional religious festivities -- particularly from Bahia, of course -- and the overall mood of the record is of joyful celebration. A collection of sambas in their multiple regional variations and derivations (samba de roda, samba macumba, xote), Encanteria effortlessly accommodates several compositions by new rising stars such as Bethƒnia prot‚g‚ Roque Ferreiro and Vanessa da Mata, as well as tributes to old composers or performers such as Edith do Prato and Jaime Alem. As if all that were not splendid enough, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil drop by to join Bethƒnia in "Saudade Dela," by default turning it into the automatic highlight of this album and gifting Brazilian music fans worldwide with the chance to hear these three colossal artists and lifetime friends singing together one more time. Sheer magic. ~ Mariano Prunes
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