Released as Noites do Norte ao Vivo in Brazil and Europe, Caetano's latest CD was recorded in July and August of 2001 over the course of two nights in Salvador, Bahia and one night in Sao Paulo. Its primary focus is songs from Noite do Norte, his 2001 Nonesuch release exploring themes of race, slavery and Brazil's quest for a national identity. Live in Bahia also features new arrangements of such hits as Cajuina and Tropicalia and the bossa nova classic Samba de Verao, as well as songs from the past that are closely linked thematically to the principal material on the disc, such as Two Naira Fifty Kobo and Sugar Cane Fields Forever.
Singer, composer, poet, author, and Tropicalismo cofounder Caetano Veloso is the sound and soul of Brazil. This two-disc set, recorded in 2001 in his birth state of BahÃa and in the megapolis known as SÃ£o Paulo, confirms his extraordinary status. With a rhythm section, percussionists, and the able arranging and cello playing of his longtime partner, Jacques Morelenbaum, Veloso's feathery falsetto delves into some new and old staples in his celebrated songbook. In Veloso's sound world, rock, Ramp;B, and reggae easily mix with Afro-Brazilian rhythms and song forms. A lot of the material, like the anthemic "13 de Maio" and "Zumbi"--which salutes the legendary black leader of a runaway slave republic--comes from his Noites Do Norte, which dealt with his country's legacy of slavery. Veloso also shows his debt to the bossa nova era by dusting off Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Caminos Cruzados" and the mid-'60s chestnut "Samba de VerÃ£o." But Veloso's voice and guitar playing and the audience participation on such classics as "AraÃ§Ã¡ Azul," "Nosso Estranho Amor," "Mimar VocÃª," and "Cobra Coral" really demonstrate his loving link with his people. Released simultaneously with his long-awaited autobiography, Tropical Truth, this aural document sums up the art of Caetano Veloso in all of its soulful, syncopated science. --Eugene Holley, Jr.