Monday, October 25, 2010

Zélia Duncan

The Brazil Film Fest ended Sunday night with an intimate performance by Brazilian pop star Zélia Duncan. It ended a musical day at the Fest, which screened documetaries on Brazilian Music earlier in the day.

I had already watched Beyond Ipanema, but it was a great chance to enjoy once again this well-cut and energetic primer on Brazilian Music. The other doc, A Night in 67, was almost a re-broadcast of the Brazilian Music Festival of 1967, when some of the classics of Brazilian Music were being born. Brazil had a tradition of having very popular and heated music competitions like this in the 60s and 70s. Here you can see icons like Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Roberto Carlos and Os Mutantes in their early 20s and already producing amazing music. And everybody smoked in the set.

Zélia took the stage accompanied by two musicians and a diverse repertoire that went from samba to rap, a mix that is typical of her mixed-up career, as she likes to say. Her sound is more folksy than pop (her greatest idol is Canadian Joni Mitchell) but with enough hooks and melodic sensibility to make you sing along. And then there are the lyrics. Zélia is not only an accomplished composer, but also a very smart poet who bends Portuguese at her will.

Here's her performance of a hit from the Mutantes, a band she became part of in 2006 during their comeback sans Rita Lee.

She was very approachable at the end of the show and seemed genuinely interested in meeting her fans abroad. Zélia is also involved with a variety of cultural projects and it seems only natural that she would expand her reach overseas with her brand of Brazilian sound.

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