Maria Bethânia – As Cancões Que Você Fez Pra Mim

Maria Bethânia is the sister of top Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso. Born in 1946 in the interior region of Bahia, Brazil’s northeastern state, she’d planned to become an actress. In 1963, Bethânia and her brother moved to the nearby state capital city of Salvador, where she impressed audiences singing in a musical (written by her brother). Bethânia has been a professional singer ever since. While in Salvador, she and her brother became friendly with Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa, and the four led a significant cultural movement called Tropicálismo that changed Brazilian music and art. It was so radical that Veloso and Gil were exiled, but Bethânia and Costa kept the movement alive in Brazil. Bethânia is a dramatic singer whose versatility is matched by her desire to experiment with a wide variety of songs and genres, and a willingness to introduce works by up-and-coming songwriters.

This 1993 album was recorded twice. One version was recorded with Portugese lyrics (as above). The other, called Las Canciones Que Hiciste Para Mi (Philips 518-787), is in Spanish. Both are majestic. Each is a collection of 11 songs written by Roberto and Erasmo Carlos and sung with a small combo backed by an enormous string section (magnificently arranged by Graham Preskett). Bethânia’s powerful, dramatic interpretations are affecting on both the Portuguese and Spanish versions, but her passion breathes life into the Portuguese versions of “Fera Ferida,” “Palavras,” and “Eu Preciso de Você.” Analog recording, but sounds better than most digital discs.

Philips 518-214

Available only as an import, but worth the price:

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