by Caetano Veloso

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One of Brazil's longest-reigning pop deities, Veloso -- now over 50 years old -- shows he can still produce innovative and thoroughly enchanting music on this 1998 release. On LIVRO, Veloso lays down a solid rhythmic foundation of percussion characteristic of his native northeastern state of Bahia. Over that, he layers strings, brass, and various instruments. Veloso's


One of Brazil's longest-reigning pop deities, Veloso -- now over 50 years old -- shows he can still produce innovative and thoroughly enchanting music on this 1998 release. On LIVRO, Veloso lays down a solid rhythmic foundation of percussion characteristic of his native northeastern state of Bahia. Over that, he layers strings, brass, and various instruments. Veloso's caressing voice floats above the wonderful hodgepodge of harmonies and rhythms, sounding as if he were going to swoon from the beauty of it all. The result is music that sounds traditional and folkloric, lush and stark -- often at the same time. Showing himself to be both cosmopolitan and a traditionalist, he follows a sweet, drum-punctuated paean to Bahia with a cool, muted homage to Manhattan. Veloso displays his edgier side on "Doideca," with angular, modern-sounding percussion frenetically beating as a piccolo spirals above it, and on "O Navio Negreiro," a poem read in a monotone over a funky percussive accompaniment. But Veloso is nothing if not a romantic, and several tracks carry his exquisite lyricism aloft on a swinging chorus of drums and percussion, creating a unique, eye-opening sound.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
From the warm embrace of a ballad ("Você é Minha") to the syncopated swish and sway of a samba ("How Beautiful Could a Being Be?"), Veloso's versatility is breathtaking. And Brazil's poet king is at the height of his powers on LIVRO, destined to be remembered as a masterwork in his storied career. It begins with Caetano singing "Vem" ("Come"), drawing out the vowel so sweetly that it's simply an offer you can't refuse. Then a battery of Bahian percussionists roll out a thick, welcoming carpet of drums that lure you into a lush musical wonderland that you won't want to leave. LIVRO is yet another virtuosic display from this prodigious Brazilian singer-songwriter. Who else could write a sultry but cool-as-Miles ode to Manhattan ("Manhatã") and then follow it up with a toe-tapping twelve-tone(!) techno number ("Doideca")? It's all held together not only by the thick glue of Brazilian percussion that permeates most songs on the album, but by Caetano's consistent ability to forge gorgeous, unpredictable melodies. LIVRO closes with "Pra Ninguém," an homage to the great Brazilian singers, past and present. Someday, when this song becomes a standard -- and it will -- the last line deserves to be altered to say: "E melhor do que o silêncio só Caetano" -- "And better than silence [there's] only Caetano."
All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Caetano Veloso continues his free-thinking explorations of tropicalismo on this ambitiously arranged, elaborately packaged suite of songs devoted to whatever happens to cross his mind. Veloso says that he was listening a lot to the collaborations of Miles Davis and Gil Evans around this time, and Jaques Morelenbaum's charts often reflect their darkly urbane ethos. Yet for Morelenbaum's yin there is also the yang of the battering Bahian percussion that dominates many of the rhythm tracks. "Livros" in Portuguese means "books," so Veloso gives you a sample of his book Verdade Tropical in the booklet notes and pays eloquent tribute to them on the title track: "Books are transcendental things/But we can love them with our hands." He is alternately awestruck and appalled by the ambiguities of New York City on "Manhata"; here, the arrangement definitely contains haunting echoes of Evans. He can venture into atonality on "Doideca" (12-tone, but pointedly translated in the booklet as "loony"), recite the horrors of a slave ship voyage, tell someone off ("Nao Enche," which means "Piss Off"), or simply sing "How beautiful could a being be" over and over, presumably to a child, in falsetto to a hot groove. One of the most amazing songs is an epic about the life of Alexander the Great; it comes off like a great saga song. Finally, he runs down a long list of all his favorite Brazilian singers, seemingly leaving out no one, only to close with "Better than this there's only silence/And better than silence, only Joao." Can't add anything to that, except don't miss this CD if you love Brazilian music.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Caetano Veloso   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Zeca Assumpção   Acoustic Bass
Carlinhos Brown   Percussion,Drums,Steel Drums,Sabar,Campana
Nara Gil   Background Vocals
Walmir Gil   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Soloist
William Magalhaes   Keyboards
Carlos Malta   Flute,Piccolo,Baritone Saxophone
Jota Moraes   Xylophone,Vibes
Jaques Morelenbaum   Cello,Hand Clapping,Soloist,Maculele
Ramiro Mussoto   Kalimba,Berimbau,Hand Clapping
Fernando Nunes   Bass
Giancarlos Spala Pareschi   Spalla
Victor Santos   Trombone
Pedro Amorim   Cavaquinho
Mauricio Carrilho   Guitar
Jorge Helder   Bass,Hand Clapping
Daniel Jobim   Background Vocals
Moreno Veloso   Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,Djembe,Hand Clapping,Guitar (Tenor),Maculele
Jose Carlos Ramos   Tenor Saxophone
Paula Morelenbaum   Background Vocals
Marcelo Bernardes   Flute
Paschoal Perrota   Violin
Marcelo Costa   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Agogo,Guiro,Bacurinhas,Afoxe,Maculele
Gustavo de Dalva   Tambourine,Djembe,Hand Clapping,Kettle Drums
Marcelo Martins   Flute,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Luis Brasil   Guitar,Drums,Berimbau,Agogo,Hand Clapping,Bacurinhas
Drauzio Chagas   Tuba
Paulo Sérgio Dos Santos   Clarinet
David Ganc   Flute
Luiz Carlos Justi   English Horn,Oboe
Dari Moraes   Hand Clapping
Jessé Sadoc   Trumpet
Ubaldo Versolato   Baritone Saxophone
Daniel Garcia   Tenor Saxophone
Pedro Sá   Guitar,Background Vocals,Maculele
Dadi   Bass,Hand Clapping
Belo Veloso   Background Vocals
Francois de Lima   Trombone
Nahor Gomes   Flugelhorn
Proveta   Alto Saxophone
Du   Tambourine,Snare Drums,Hand Clapping,Bacurinhas,Kettle Drums
Vittor Santos   Trombone
Zé Canuto   Flute,Alto Saxophone
  Bass,Conga,Tambourine,Bells,Snare Drums,Djembe,Agogo,Bacurinhas,Kettle Drums
Flávio Melo   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Phillip Doyle   French Horn
Cristiano Siqueira Alves   Clarinet
Ismael de Oliviera   French Horn
Jorge Ribeiro   Hand Clapping
Márcio Victor   Conga,Drums,Snare Drums,Djembe,Soloist,Bacurinhas,Kettle Drums
Victor Alcantara   Tenor Saxophone
Leonardo Reis   Djembe,Hand Clapping
Sueli Faria   Baritone Saxophone
Antônio Augusto   French Horn
Léo Bit Bit   Tambourine,Berimbau,Djembe,Agogo,Hand Clapping,Bacurinhas,Caxambu
Ulisses DeAbreu   Trombone
Boghan   Tambourine,Bells,Snare Drums,Djembe,Agogo,Hand Clapping,Barrel Drum,Chocalhos,Kettle Drums
Valdir Ferreira   Trombone
Hudson Nogueira   Alto Saxophone
Pinduca   Chimes
Nelson Oliveira   Trumpet
Eliezer Rodrigues   Tuba

Technical Credits

Maria Bethânia   Special Participation
Caetano Veloso   Arranger,Liner Notes,Direction
Zeca Assumpção   Arranger
Barney   Studio Coordinator
Carlinhos Brown   Special Participation
Nara Gil   Arranger
Walmir Gil   Arranger
William Magalhaes   Arranger
Carlos Malta   Arranger
Jota Moraes   Arranger
Jaques Morelenbaum   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements,Direction
Ramiro Mussoto   Arranger,Drum Samples
Fernando Nunes   Arranger
Giancarlos Spala Pareschi   Arranger
Victor Santos   Arranger
Antonio "Moogie" Canazio   Engineer
Pedro Amorim   Arranger
Jorge Helder   Arranger
Moreno Veloso   Arranger
Marcelo Bernardes   Arranger
Paschoal Perrota   Arranger
Marcelo Costa   Arranger,Percussion Arrangement
Max Pierre   Art Direction
Gustavo de Dalva   Arranger
Marcelo Martins   Arranger,Woodwind Arrangement
Luis Brasil   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Drauzio Chagas   Arranger
Silas Degodoy   Engineer
David Ganc   Arranger
Fábio Henriques   Engineer
Luiz Carlos Justi   Arranger
Luiz Zerbini   Graphic Design,Paintings
Daniel Garcia   Arranger
Pedro Sá   Arranger
Dadi   Arranger
Belo Veloso   Arranger
Francois de Lima   Arranger
Nahor Gomes   Arranger
Proveta   Arranger
Du   Arranger
Vittor Santos   Arranger
Zé Canuto   Arranger
Flávio Melo   Arranger
Phillip Doyle   Arranger
Cristiano Siqueira Alves   Arranger
Ismael de Oliviera   Arranger
Isabel de Sena   translation
Fernanda Villa-Lobos   Graphic Design
Jorge Ribeiro   Arranger
Márcio Victor   Arranger
Victor Alcantara   Arranger
Vanius L. Marques   Engineer
Leonardo Reis   Arranger
Sueli Faria   Arranger
Antônio Augusto   Arranger
Léo Bit Bit   Arranger
Ulisses DeAbreu   Arranger
Boghan   Arranger
Valdir Ferreira   Arranger
Hudson Nogueira   Arranger
Pinduca   Arranger
Nelson Oliveira   Arranger
Barrao   Graphic Design

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