MIlton Nascimento – Royal Festival Hall ’08 (Live Review)

He is no longer the beautiful young man he once was but the voice can still charm the birds from the trees and the gentle humour of the man can keep them entertained once they are sitting on his shoulders


For a Brazilian event, this was remarkably low key. OK, dominated as it was by the songbook of the immortal but gentle Antonio Carlos Jobim, this was not going to be a stomping big night out but even when Milton Nascimento played his own songs, the audience stayed in their seats respectfully — something I thought I’d never see in the presence of a visiting deity from Brazil.
There was a sweet vibe between Nascimento and the Jobim Trio (comprised of relatives of the great man himself). Nascimento, the boy from Minas Gerais with the sweetest voice of them all was part of the wave of musicians who would sweep bossa nova away but it would be wrong to imagine this was done in the same antagonistic way as musical styles in this country or in the States succeed each other. Older styles and folk styles were often venerated and pillaged for ideas by each new wave (indeed they still are). So there was a touching arc to hear Milton Nasicimento sing the songs he would have sung as a youth listening to the radio but with which his name is not attached.
The gig kicked up a gear when he switched to his own, considerable, songbook and for me the highlight was ‘Cravo e canela’ but of course it always would be as this is a song I have long loved. The whole gig was very short, fittingly perhaps as the main man was wearing a different watch on each arm. Everything in the end comes down to time.
–Photo by Damian Rafferty–

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