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Brazil a Todo Vapor

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Album Review

A Todo Vapor is a really fascinating live document of Gal Costa from the early '70s where she proved to be as exciting and diverse on-stage as she was at that time in the studio. The first seven tracks (of 18) feature Costa alone, accompanied by only her own acoustic guitar and the performances are dramatic, intimate, precise, emotional, and stunningly clear. These tracks display her voice perfectly, pushing up front all of the natural characteristics of Costa's incredibly strong pipes in with the urgent beauty one can only obtain from a live performance. A Todo Vapor would've been a fine set with only these tracks, but the real treat comes in about halfway through the eight-minute epic, "Vapor Barato," when out of nowhere, her band joins in and turns the slow, intimate descending progression into a scorching lament with Costa wailing over the top, showcasing her impressive dexterity and emotional fervor. This intensity and incredible form continue throughout the rest of the recording; the band is tight and progressive, experimental and dynamic — actually quite mad — similar to her band on her two self-titled records from 1969, so it's no surprise that the group brings inconceivable brilliance to "Pérola Negra," "Chuva, Suor E Cerveja," and others as well as churning out a particularly inspired version of "Hotel das Estrelas." The recording quality isn't bad for the time, but it does suffer from some poor editing between songs. Still, A Todo Vapor is a great document to add to further expand the character of Gal Costa.


Born: 1946 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Genre: MPB

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Gal Costa is an awarded singer with an extensive solo discography and international experience. A fundamental presence in the Tropicalia movement, she has been in Brazil's leading team of singers for decades. Since very young, she has been involved with music as a singer and violão player; when her mother's business broke she became a record shop attendant, where he spent long hours listening to music, especially João Gilberto. She became acquainted with Caetano Veloso in 1963, and friendly disputed...
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Brazil a Todo Vapor, Gal Costa
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