Maria Bethânia

Maria Bethania is the sister of Caetanoveloso and a well-known singer. Her dramatic, scenic performances in a deeply Brazilian tradition have made her performances very personal. This has earned her a loyal audience for decades. She wanted to be an actor from the beginning as a child. Music was always available to her, though, because her mother loved singing. Although her father wasn’t musically talented, he loved listening to Noel Rosa and Dorival Caymmi compositions. Her family moved to Salvador at the age of 13, and she started to attend “university circles,” intellectual gatherings that gathered around art performances and exhibitions. Her desire to be an actress was strengthened by her access to theatre plays. Caetano, then a novice, was the musical partner to Alvaro Guimaraes. Veloso created a soundtrack for Guimaraes’s movie Moleques de Rua. According to Guimaraes, Veloso should have had his sister sing in it. Bethania, then 16, tried to decline the offer as she was not used to singing under such pressure. Guimaraes loved Bethania’s timbre and included her 1963 production of Nelson Rodrigues musical Boca de Ouro. She performed a cappella. They met Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil that same year. Veloso was invited next year to host a Brazilian music show at Salvador’s Teatro Vila Velha. Nos, por Exemplo featured Veloso, Maria Bethania, Gilberto Gil, and Gal Costa (still referred to as Maria da Graca). It was a huge success, and the show was reenacted two more times with Tom Ze (still being presented as Antonio Jose). Even more people were impressed by the success of the group, which presented Nova Bossa Velha and Velha Bossa Nova. Veloso and Gil directed Bethania’s musical Mora na Filosofia that year. Bethania was the only actor. She was still a student at school and had poor grades. In January 1965 she was shocked to be invited to replace Nara Leao. Leao was an already established singer, who had suffered vocal problems. Bethania’s opening was a huge success. Her dramatic performance of “Carcara”, (Joao do Vale/Jose Candido), made her a national star overnight. This was repeated during the Sao Paulo seasons. Guilherme Araujo (then assistant to Aluisio de Oliveira) invited Bethania, via Veloso, into recording for the label. Bethania recorded her first single in May 1965. She also recorded her first LP a few months later. The Arena Canta Bahia was opened by the Vila Velha gang at Sao Paulo’s Teatro de Arena on September 26, 1965. Guilherme araujo invited Bethania to open her show Recital at Cangaceiro nightclub in Rio. It was also the beginning of Guilherme Araujo’s management of Veloso Gil and Costa. He received 20 percent for 70 songs and would be sued in 1992 by Gil. She also performed at Barroco (Rio). The Teatro Opiniao also featured Bethania in the show Pois E that year. She was accompanied by Gilberto Gil, Vinicius De Moraes and Vinicius de Moaes. Bethania’s October 1966 performance of “Beira mar” at the I FIC was the next month. She recorded the 1967 Elenco album Edu Lobo E Maria Bethania with Edu Lobo. She would appear in Yes, Nos Temos Maria Bethania (Teatro de Bolso, Rio), Comigo Me Desavim(Teatro Miguel Lemos, Rio), Recital Na Boite Blow Up, Sao Paulo), Brasileiro Profissao Esperanca [Teatro Casa Grande, Rio]) throughout 1970. In 1968, she appeared on the LP Veloso, Gil e Bethania, (RCA), and the solo LP Recital na Boite Barroco. Bethania issued the LPs Maria Bethania Ao Vivo in 1969 and 1970, respectively. She recorded the 1971 LP A Tua Presenca for Philips. She opened Rosa Dos Ventos’ show at Rio’s Teatro da Praia in July with the Terra Trio. This performance resulted in a live album, recorded by Roberto Menescal. She toured Europe in 1971 and performed at the MIDEM in Cannes, France, and in Italy. She appeared next year with Chico Buarque, Nara Leao and in Quando o Carvaval Chegar. Philips released the soundtrack to the movie in 1972. Bethania wrote the lyrics to Caetano Venloso’s “Trampolim”, which was released on her album Drama. The European tour that followed took her to Italy, Germany Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway. She opened Drama, Luz da Noite in 1973. The show was also recorded as an album. In honor of the tenth anniversary of her career, she opened A Cena Muda (1974), which was recorded and released in November 1974. Bethania and Chico Buarque performed live on June 6, 1975. The show was recorded and released under the title Chico Buarque E Maria Bethania Gravado Ao Vivo No Canecao. She recorded Passaro Proibido in 1976. She toured Brazil in July 1976 with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa. This tour resulted in a film by Jom Tob Azulay, as well as a double album by Philips. Her show Passaro da Manha, which she opened on January 13, 1977, was released as a studio album under the same title. It brought her her second gold record. Bethania and Veloso released a live show in May 1978 as Maria Bethania, e Caetano Veloso Ao Vivo. The 1978 LP Alibi was issued. It was certified as a gold record and went on sale. Bethania became the first Brazilian female singer with one million copies. She also produced a show under the same name in July 1979. She released Mel in December 1979. This album also brought Mel to life in January 1980. Talisma was also released in the same year. She opened her show Estranha Forma de Vida the following year and released Alteza. Bethania was a performer on the Nossos Momentos show in 1982. She took a different turn in 1983 with Ciclo, a departure from her well-known formula and a new direction for her career. 1984 saw her perform in A Hora da Estrela with songs written by Chico Buarque and Veloso. The album A Beira e o Mar followed. The first 20 Anos show was held in 1985. Bethania signed with RCA the following year for Dezembros. It contained unpublished songs from Tom Jobim and Chico Buarque and Caetanoveloso. “Cancoes e Momentos” was written for her by Milton Nascimento. She recorded Maria in 1988 with Jeanne Moreau, Gal Costa and other guest stars. This was also the name of her first show that opened in 1988. The album Memoria da Pele, which Bethania presented as the host of the show Dadaya — As Sete Moradas, was released in 1989. Her 25th anniversary in career was celebrated with the album and show 25, Anos. Nina Simone and Egberto Gismonti were also present. Olho D’agua was her 1982 album. It was featured in the soundtrack to a major soap opera. The 1993 album As Cancoes Que Coce Fez Para Mim was also a show and it was the most-sold record that year (1,000,000 copies). The album Ambar was recorded by EMI/Odeon. A live show was also recorded and released as Imitacao Da Vida in 1997. Allmusic

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