São Paulo has earned itself a well-deserved place in Brazilian popular music. Both singer-songwriter Rita Lee (of Os Mutantes fame) and composer/performer Toquinho (who collaborated for many years with Garota de Ipanema co-writer, Vinicius de Moraes) were born there. The city is also name-checked in Criolo’s 2011 heartfelt lament “Não Existe Amor em SP” from his debut album.
On 22nd November, however, São Paulo comes to London in the form of yet another one of its prodigal children: pianist and singer Eliane Elias.
Eliane is a force of nature. Especially live. Her interaction with her band is a joy to watch and those in attendance at the EFG/Serious-sponsored Barbican concert will be left in no doubt of her dazzling piano skills. Her cover of Tom Jobim’s Desafinado is unconventional but no less elegant for it. While the easy-listening, sanba-lite label has stuck to Elias for most of her career, she is an uncompromising and very accomplished instrumentalist and singer in her own right. Special mention should go to her accompanying musicians, each of whom shines individually.
The show on the 22nd November, part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, will also include another Brazilian star. Manaus-born and Rio de Janeiro-raised singer-songwriter Vinícius Cantuária has carved a rich and long career as a bossa nova and jazz guitarist, drummer and percussionist. Relocated to New York in the 90s, Vinicius went on to collaborate with the likes of Laurie Anderson and David Byrne, amongst others. His guitar playing is a mix of the passionate and subtle, his voice sometimes no more than a whisper. A fair summary of his music would conclude that his melodies suit the mood of an early evening, a late night and the morning after.
The combination of Eliane’s explosive stage presence and Vinicius’ versatility will make for an unforgettable experience. Let us hope it is not the last time these two greats of Brazilian music play together.