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Maria Bethania

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 25, 2007

Tempo Tempo Tempo Tempo
DRG Brazil

Recorded live in São Paulo in August 2005, this 2-hour DVD shows the Brazilian singer–one of the most important of her generation, alongside Gal Costa and Elis Regina—in top form, singing a collection of songs from the songbook of Vinicius de Moraes (she recently released an album with songs by the late poet, who was instrumental in popularizing the Bossa Nova movement in the 1950s). The DVD’s title comes from the chorus of “Oração Ao Tempo” (Prayer To Time), a tune penned by her older brother, Caetano Veloso, and it fits like a glove into her dramatic interpretative skills—Bethania began her career in musical theater. Eden Abnez’s “Nature Boy” receives a Portuguese-language translation by Veloso that leads into “A Felicidade” (Happiness, from the movie Black Orpheus). Among the other highlights are “Olhos Nos Olhos,” a song Chico Buarque wrote for Bethania, and “Samba Da Benção” (Blessing Samba), during which she stops to thank everyone who helped her throughout her career, in one way or another. It’s instructive to notice how Bethânia tackles the bossa nova material in comparison with Gal Costa, who has also recently released a live album with similar tunes. While Costa gives a jazz-inspired delivery of the lyrics, Bethania imparts meaning to every word, using her entire body to convey the songs’ messages. The extras feature a rare interview with the singer (who notoriously refuses requests), showing her in her living room going through songs that move her while talking about her musical history, her family and other personal matters.