Friday, April 27, 2012

Concert Review: Sergio Mendes Makes Pinoys Swoon

Title: Sergio Mendes Makes Pinoys Swoon
Written by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Ferdie Arquero

In the frenetic, fast-paced world that we live in, isn’t it nice to listen to music that invigorates the soul and relaxes the mind? That’s what bossa nova does to me. I grew up listening to Brazilian jazz legend Sergio Mendes for as long as I can remember, thanks in part to my dad who would pop in Sergio cassette tapes whenever we would go on multiple hour road trips.

As I grew older, I learned to appreciate the smooth, cool rhythms of jazz for myself, especially after a long day at work. There’s something about Sergio Mendes easy-listening style and contemporary soft pop melodies that can only be described as swoon worthy. One song can easily conjure up memories of romantic trysts like candle light dinners or walks by the beach.

Another great thing about Sergio Mendes is the fact that, unlike other veteran musicians who stubbornly stick to their sound, Sergio has learned to modernize his music. One big proof of this was his 2006 album Timeless. The said compilation featured Sergio’s collaboration with Black Eyed Peas’ will. I. am, an album which successfully introduced a new generation of fans to Mendes’ unique and captivating blend of Brazilian and jazz sounds.

That’s exactly what I saw at his concert last April 24 at the Araneta Coliseum- a lively coming together of old and new Sergio Mendes supporters. Dubbed as Sergio Mendes & Brasil 2012 Live In Manila, the crowd was definitely wowed as the Latin performer performed bossa nova hits like The Look Of Love, Never Gonna Let You Go, Rainbow’s End, The Trouble With Hello Is, and Night And Day, etc.
Sporting his suit and signature hat, Sergio kicked off the night by saying “Magandang gabi.” There wasn’t much interaction with the audience as Sergio and his band Brasil 2012 focused on delivering a superb performance. The crowd clearly didn’t mind as they laughed, clapped, and even danced in their seats to the timeless hits. As a newly-converted Bossa Nova fan I really enjoyed the infusion of rap lyrics and hiphop beats performed by one member of Brasil 2012 named H20. He gave the songs a new flavor and communicated with the much-younger members of the audience.

Another part of the concert that truly delighted me was when another member of the band performed capoiera in between numbers. I found the swift gestures and rapid beats very cool. It brought a cultural element to the show and made me really feel like I was transported to Brazil. Because of all of these elements I was treated to a show unlike any other. As Sergio Mendes told the great Ricky Lo in his Philippine Star Fanfare column, Bossa Nova will never die.  After his spectacular concert at   Araneta, I know exactly why.

SPOTTED: President Noynoy Aquino and Grace Lee, Korina Sanchez and Mar Roxas, Gretchen Barreto and Tony Boy Cojuangco, blogger Carlos Celdran, etc

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