I really wanted to love this show. It should have been a great performance: two highly regarded vocalists, a tight backing band, entertaining dancers, bright colors, a very impressive display of “capoeira” (Brazilian martial arts), plus the fact that most of the band members come from one of the sexiest countries on earth. I kept waiting for the love to happen. At times I had a glimmer, but it never lasted. What went wrong?
This was not a performance suitable for a concert hall, even one as intimate as the McKinney Theater. This was a lounge act in the wrong venue. Brazilian music is celebration music, that the listener has to participate in to fully appreciate. As it was, the audience was like a sponge, soaking in the performance, but unable to add energy to it.
The band leaders, Sonia Santos and Ana Gazzola also contributed to the malaise with a stage repartee that was stale and half-hearted. It was obvious that they had done this countless times, could do it with their eyes closed and it showed. I was further disappointed at the lack of original material included, particularly as both artists are known for their composing and interpretive skills.
The backing band was tight and provided some very good solos, but without the depth of sound and percussion Brazilian music has they just never quite got the audience all the way there. The three ladies that provided decorative dancing would have been of great use as backing percussionists when they weren’t dancing.
Nonetheless, the show did have a few standout moments. In addition to the martial arts exhibition, the artist’s composition, “Go Back to Brazil” which then segued into the closing number, “Baixa do Sapateiro” hit the mark with the energy and enthusiasm I was expecting all along. Perhaps my expectations were high, but the level of performance was certainly too low.
BOOGIE TO THE BEAT