Caetano Veloso ‘Abraçaço’ (Universal) 4/5

Caetano Veloso_CD Abraçaço Luva

The Brazilian musical legend that is Caetano Veloso, who is the natural successor to Joao Gilberto and has carved out his own unique voice and sound over five decades, returns with an album that is brimming with vitality and he succeeds in bring thoroughly modern in approach, while retaining a classical underpinning that has been a hallmark of his highly eclectic career. Co-produced by son Moreno Veloso and Pedro Sa and with bassist and keyboardist Ricardo das Gomes a major contribnutor to the overall sound, the album has all the feel of a singer in his thirties rather than one about to enter into his seventh decade on the planet. Veloso Sr’s ability to combine retro and modern so effortlessly is illustrated on the repetitive chorus and pumping bassline of ‘Parabéns’. Subtlety in the fusing of genres and in the phrasing of lyrics has been a trait of Caetano Veloso’s work from the mid-1970s onwards and on the title track, he manages to weave in some gentle reggae rhythms in bass and drum without it ever sounding like a pastiche and the delivery is very understated. This is one of the most lyrical numbers on the album and a definite key song. Veloso has never been afraid of experimenting and throughout his career, his music has taken unusual twists and turns. The stripped down guitar and vocals that start off on ‘Quando a galo cantou’ typifies this and eventually the atmosphere changes with a dissonant guitar and percussion entering, the song thereafter evolves into something more experimental in nature while still maintaining its melodicism. In a more traditional vein, the gentle neo-bossa of ‘Vinco’ is delightful and here the singer is accompanaied by guitar and minimalist percussion. Eleswhere there are frequent shifts in mood and tempo on ‘A bossa nova é fodà’ and a staccato rhythm with Indian classical and indie rock on ‘Funk melódico’. Another highly enjoyable outing which indicates that Caetano Veloso is still finding challenging new avenues to explore. Tim Stenhouse

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