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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Maria Bethania

By Ernest Barteldes
Published April 27, 2007

Sings The Vinicius De Moraes Songbook

Here Caetano Veloso’s younger sister lends her dramatic voice to classic songs by the late poet and diplomat, Vinicius De Moraes. For the most part she avoides clichéd choices like “The Girl From Ipanema,” instead opting for lesser-known gems like “Tarde Em Itapoã” (Afternoon in Itapoã), which is a tune co-written with guitarist Toquinho, and “Gente Humilde” (Humble People), an obscure song that gave Chico Buarque his first published songwriting credit. Another notable track is “Bom dia Tristeza” (Good Morning Sadness), a rare collaboration between De Moraes and Adoniran Barbosa, where the lyrics seem loosely based on “Good Morning Heartache.” Bethania brings the song even closer to the classic American original by giving it a sultry, bluesy arrangement. Throughout, Bethania’s backed by such bossa nova heirs as guitarists Marcel and Phillipe Baden-Powell and pianist Daniel Jobim as well as Argentine guitar whiz Victor Biglione and legendary bassist Jorge Helder.