Review

Completing 50 years of life and 33 of career in 1995, Maria Bethânia realized the show Âmbar, which ended up yielding this live recorded double album. Its title was taken from "Imitação," a song by the late composer Batatinha, who died soon after the recording of the first album, Diplomacia. The unknown and excellent composer was recorded by Bethânia in her first album, Maria Bethânia, from 1965 ("Só Eu Sei" and "Diplomacia"). Her crush for drama is expressed through the poems (mostly by Fernando Pessoa) read between songs, which keep a strong connection with the song just finished or subsequent. The double-album format is favorable to the inclusion of so many important songs of her career, here recalled in her unprejudiced mix: the lyrical "Beatriz," the militant "Rosa Dos Ventos," the old seresta "Chão de Estrelas," Gonzaguinha's modern romantic tunes "Não Dá Mais Pra Segurar" and "Grito de Alerta," Raul Seixas' "Gitâ," old dramatic sambas-canção ("Lama," "Negue"), and others. Contemporary composers also are present: Chico César ("Onde Estará O Meu Amor"), the improbable Arnaldo Antunes ("Alegria"), and Adriana Calcanhotto ("Âmbar"). In short, Maria Bethânia at her best. ~ Alvaro Neder, Rovi

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