Caetano Veloso and David Byrne – Live at Carnegie Hall (2012)

Share this:

The only question, really, is why this concert has been sitting on a shelf since 2004.

That spring, Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso invited David Byrne, leader of the Talking Heads from 1976–88, to participate in a special event at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Recorded for broadcast on NPR, the concert featured an acoustic set of each — with Veloso and Byrne joined by cellist Jacques Morelenbaum and percussionist Mauro Refosco. For Veloso, that means delicately conveyed versions of “Desde Que o Samba e Samba,” “Sampa,” “O Leaozinho” and “Manhata.” For Byrne, reimaginings of “Life During Wartime” and “Road to Nowhere.”

But the most intriguing moments happened when they shared the stage.

Veloso, who already had 40 recordings on his resume (including 13 on Nonesuch, which will issue Live at Carnegie Hall on March 13), is been best known as a cofounder of the avant-garde theater, poetry, and musical movement called Tropicalismo, along with Gilberto Gil and others. They were inspired, at least in song, as much by American rock and pop artists as they were by the native language of bossa nova, and that plays out here in the way that Veloso effortlessly blends in — even while adding his own subtle shadings — on familiar Talking Heads tunes like “Heaven” and “Nothing but Flowers.” He’s completely absorbed these tracks, and that allows him to effortlessly improvise around the edges.

[SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: We dig into some favorite Talking Heads cuts, including “Once in a Lifetime,” “Crosseyed and Painless,” “Memories Can’t Wait,” “I Zimbra” and “Sax and Violins.”]

Of course, Byrne had already shown a deep affinity for Veloso’s native music, as well — having fallen, as he says, “headlong down the rabbit hole of Brazilian music.” That led to 1989’s Rei Momo, amongst other projects. Still, Byrne never took this once-in-a-lifetime night on stage for granted, admitting: “I was incredibly nervous, and I remember having flubbed on a chord or two (some of those remain on this recording, I’m afraid) … but of course it was Caetano, and Carnegie Hall, so I was also incredibly thrilled and flattered.”

Together, they imbue the proceedings with a singular warmth and graciousness — crafting this seamless simpatico. The collaboration on “Dreamworld: Marco De Canaveses,” which showed up in a studio version on the album Red Hot and Rio 2, is the unquestioned high point. It sounds like two brothers finishing each other’s sentences.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B006X08EZY” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001FWRZ1O” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0000C23DI” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005JJSG94″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000002LIV” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Share this:
Close