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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VINCICIUS DE MORAES, MARIA BETHANIA & TOQUINHO

By MARIE ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Published May 5, 2006

Days In Mar del Plata
Circular Moves

Live In Buenos Aires, the unlikely 1970 performance collaboration between Brazilian poet/composer/singer Vinicius de Moraes (who died in 1980), guitarist Toquinho and singer Maria Creuza, proved a critical and popular hit. So successful was the outing that the club owners invited de Moraes—who had partnered with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell to invent bossa nova—back to perform the following summer. The group—this time including up-and-coming singer Maria Bethania (sister to Caetano Veloso) as well as Toquinho and the same Argentinean combo—stepped into the studio to record an album vibrating with swaying bossa (or musica nova, as de Moraes called the music comprising Days In Mar del Plata) and verbal wit. The then-24-year-old Bethania, fresh from her first success, sings Veloso’s “E De Manha” in the earthy alto that would keep her at the forefront of Brazilian music. Toquinho, also 24, provides a technical foundation lacking in florid touches but rich in nuance (check out the instrumental “Testamento”). De Moraes’s poetry— whether as a break during “Samba da Bençäo” (written by de Moraes/Powell) or as the centerpiece (“O Dia Da Criaçäo”)—would find a place in today’s poetry jams.