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Monday, December 4, 2023

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Arts + CultureMusicBrasileiro blast: Brazilian legends electrify the Bay

Brasileiro blast: Brazilian legends electrify the Bay

Ride the wave with concerts from Arthur Verocai, Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto, Daniel Jobim, and Rogê

While it’s not the 60s and 70s bossanova heyday anymore, there are still a flurry of Brazilian artists—both classic and contemporary—making waves internationally. In the past couple of months alone, two incredible singers have already made their way to the Bay: Sessa brought his divine lyricism to The Chapel in June. In May, Tim Bernardes put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at Swedish American Hall, with his masterful display of bohemian psychedelia from his incredible latest solo album, Mil Coisas Invisíveis, as well as songs from his old group, O Terno. 

But if you missed these two standouts, do not fret my friends, because there are more Brasileiros on the Bay Area live music horizon! Two undisputed legends and two of today’s brightest makers will be gracing Bay Area stages this indian summer and I’m here to tell you about why you’ll want to take a trip to the tropical shores and vibrant cobblestoned-lined streets of Brazil —  in your mind, obviously — at these upcoming gigs. Check it:


Arthur Verocai’s 1972 self-titled album is the stuff vinyl dreams are made of. It’s truly an integral Brazilian record for any collector and fan of Brazilian music and informs a lot of the music made by artists that we love today. The thing is, the timeless arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has never toured the US before. He’s 78 now and the time is right: Verocai comes to the UC Theater for an unbelievable installment of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s Jazz Is Dead elite revivalist series. The performance will feature Verocai leading a 30-piece orchestra as they play the entire 1972 classic album in full and then some. 

Verocai has recently popped back into mainstream consciousness via arrangements for Aussie future soul band Hiatus Kaiyote and Canadian hip-hop instrumentalists Badbadnotgood. Even 50 years later, his finger is still on the pulse and it’ll be a special summer evening in Berkeley on August 19. Tickets and more info here.


Released in 2000, Bebel Gilberto’s seminal Brazilectro fusion album, Tanto Tempo, is one of the most internationally successful Brazilian albums of all-time. That’s because the sultry-voiced daughter of the great João Gilberto and singer Miúcha glides gorgeously over Serbian producer Suba’s (RIP) electro chill in amazing ways. [The Peter Kruder remix of the title song is one of the best ever!—Ed.] Over the years, Gilberto has toured continuously typically at mid-sized concert halls, coursing through Brazilian standards and her own hits. But in September, she’ll be making an intriguing, partially seated appearance at the relatively intimate Independent. 

Gilberto’s unmatched elegance has made her one of today’s foremost vocalists in the traditional Brazilian spirit. But it’s how she changed the modern formula on Tanto Tempo—in both Portuguese and English—that makes her forever an original. Tickets and more info here.


I’ll admit, I never delved into Rogê’s music until he released the fabulous Night Dreamer Direct-to-Disc Sessions collaboration with the higher profile Seu Jorge—one of my top albums of 2020. But the Carioca (a native of Rio de Janeiro) has been surging ever since, moving to Los Angeles and releasing his latest solo album, Curyman, this past March. 

For all of the whitewashing that some newer Brazilian artists have put down in trying to make their music pop overseas, Rogê is the real deal. Look no further than “Pra Vida,” the opening track to his modern samba album which was produced with Thomas Brenneck of soul instrumentalists Menahan Street Band (Charles Bradley’s backing band.) The track’s deeply layered arrangement is brimming with traditional Brazilian percussion, backing vocalists that sound like they’re celebrating life at a sidewalk cafe in Copacabana, and Rogê’s acoustic guitar.

Spin the track, bump the album and then seriously consider joining a legit Brazilian party at The Chapel in September. Tickets and more info here.


Speak of the devil, Seu Jorge is coming back to San Francisco and he’ll be accompanied by Daniel Jobim, the grandson of the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. Better yet, this one’s at the grandiose Palace of Fine Arts. There’s hardly a Brazilian artist as recognizable stateside than Seu Jorge, a crown he wears following his role of Pelé Dos Santos in Wes Anderson’s cult-fave The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Jorge’s covers of David Bowie’s songs in Portuguese brought new life to the Starman’s greatest hits on screen and live on in the Exclusive Studio Sessions album. “This is a privilege that film gave to me, being tied with Bowie,” he told me back in 2016

But this performance is a special one, and won’t look like previous Bay Area performances by Jorge at the Regency in 2016 and UC Theatre in 2020, as Jorge and Jobim will be interpreting the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim. The composer behind world-sweeping bossa nova standards like “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Corcovado,” and “Wave,” Jobim belongs on nothing short of a Brazilian music Mount Rushmore. There’s hardly a more qualified pair to honor him in San Francisco this October. Tickets and more info here.

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Adrian Spinelli
Adrian Spinelli
Adrian is a Brazilian-born, SF-based writer covering music, booze, festivals, and culture. Follow him on Twitter @AGSpinelli.

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