Monday July 01, 2013
Marisa Monte Performs at the Beacon Theatre
By: John Pareles
On Wednesday night the Brazilian songwriter Marisa Monte told a sold-out audience at the Beacon Theater (where she returns on Friday) that she was “very happy to be in Brazil last week.” That was when protests spread across the country, first over bus fare increases and then over far more widespread discontent. “I was able to see something that maybe means a new way of democracy in Brazil,” she said.
That led her into a new unrecorded song that she wrote in December with her frequent collaborator, Arnaldo Antunes, and her band’s guitarist, Dadi: “Dizem (Quem Me Dera),” “They Say (How I Wish).” It’s a utopian vision of progress and hope with a touch of the late Beatles: “We have the intelligence/To bring an end to violence,” it vowed.
That aura of benevolence runs through her songs, burnished by one of the most exquisite voices in Brazilian music. Poised and serene, honoring melodies by gliding through them with a minimum of embellishment, Ms. Monte cradles each word and makes each phrase glow from within. In Brazil, she is a superstar; “Tribalistas,” her 2002 collaboration with Mr. Antunes and the Bahian hit maker Carlinhos Brown, was a million-seller.
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