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Your weekend arts forecast: Sounds from Brazil and Ybor

Bill DeYoung



Blame it on the bossa nova, Eydie Gorme crooned on a 1963 hit record, it’s a one-way mainline to love.

One of many sensual and seductive delights to come out of Brazil, bossa nova music – that soft, undulating sway of jazzy guitar chords and singing just above a whisper – retains a massive international fan club, decades after its introduction and commercial heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Bossa nova requires a vocalist with precise breath control and pitch; a little too much breath, or too much extra expression, they might as well be doing samba in the dance-party streets of Rio de Janieiro.

“Most singers nowadays are trying to show off volume and all kinds of juggling, you know?” says Clearwater-based vocal artist Daniela Soledade. “And bossa nova is exactly the opposite of that. It’s very minimalistic. It’s just simple and beautiful and melodic.”

She performs tonight (April 18) at the Palladium Theater, with jazz guitarist Nate Najar and saxophonist Jeff Rupert, in a program called From Rio With Love, Bossa Nova.

If that lineup sounds like the classic bossa nova trio, guitarist João Gilberto, singer Astrud Gilberto and sax player Stan Getz, it’s intentional. The 1964 Getz/Gilberto album (featuring “The Girl From Ipanema”) popularized bossa nova around the world.

She’s currently spending her days in the recording studio, where Najar is producing her debut album. This song has just been released as the first single:

Born in Rio, Soledade has been in Florida since she was 16, when her mother married a Cuban American gentleman from Tampa. At first, it was tough for Daniela, who spoke no English at the time.

Bossa nova, she says, “runs deep in my veins.” Her grandfather, Paulo Soledade, co-wrote with musical pioneers Antonio Carlos Jobim (composer of much of Getz/Gilberto), Vinícius de Moraes, Toquinho, Baden Powell and others. Her father Paulinho is an artist/producer whose resume includes work with Ivan Lins and Gilberto Gil.

The majority of young Brazilians don’t dig the bossa nova, or its sprightlier cousin samba, as much these days. The contemporary trend, Soledade explains, is towards MPB (“Música Popular Brasileira,” or Brazilian Popular Music).

But she’s stuck on the classics. “In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful thing, musically speaking, that we have created in Brazil,” Soledade offers. “Nothing that’s been made now, in my opinion, compares. It’s so rich, the melody, the lyrics, the harmony, the feel, just so beautiful.

“That’s why I’ve always loved it, and I continue to love it the same way.”

Tickets and info are here.

ICU/Catherine Wheel at MFA

Theo Wojick, the late Tampa Bay artist whose works are on view in Cantos, at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, was a towering figure on the boho arts scene of Ybor City in the 1980s (an era lovingly and creatively recalled in Paul Wilborn’s book Cigar City: Tales of a 1980s Creative Ghetto).

One of the most popular local bands of the era (this was before the ridiculous prefix “alt” was attached to any rock ‘n’ roll act that didn’t sound like Journey) is reuniting for a one-off show at the MFA Saturday (April 20).

Known initially as ICU, and later as The Catherine Wheel, the group frequented the Impulse, Masquerade and Cuban Club in Ybor, and other such venues across the bay.

The show, starting at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6), features original members Jonathan Harrison, Gerald Hammill, Martin Connor and Doug Prescott, along with Mark Warren (of Mod-L Citizen).  Tickets available here.

And now, this

Interesting stuff at thestudio@620. Tonight (April 18) Bob Devin Jones directs a staged reading of Art People, an original play by local playwright and theater critic Mark E. Leib, who also teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida. Showtime is 7 p.m. Details and tickets. And 22 young artists participate in Saturday’s The Art Garden, a “Multi-Media Arts Extravaganza” at 7:30 p.m. including dance, live painting with harp accompaniment and spoken word plus fashion and original clothing designers. Info and tickets.

The Mainsail Art Festival is at Vinoy Park for its 44th weekend; hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. It is, of course, a juried art show, with $60,000 in prize money. Organizers expect 100,000 visitors to come by, stroll, gawk and (hopefully) buy something. It’s just a short (albeit warm) walk up the street to the Saturday Morning Market, which means we should expect a lot of co-mingling on opening day. There’s continuous live music, children’s activities, food and drink, plenty of shade and great views of the marina, the Cross Bay Ferry and the Pier-in-progress. Details are here.

Baked in the Florida Sun (Saturday, April 20) is a benefit for Keep St. Pete Lit, featuring live painting by St. Pete artist Chad Mize and poetry readings by local poets, including Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke. Live music, local food, bev and craft vendors, books and other cool stuff. It starts at 5:30 p.m. at the offices of Behar + Peteranecz Architecture, 2430 Terminal Drive S. (in the Warehouse Arts District). Admission is $5 at the gate. It’s part of the ongoing 2019 SunLit Festival. Monday’s SunLit Event, A Celebration of the Erotic (7 p.m. at Venus) has live readings from Lisa BirnbaumAmber DiPietraMaureen McDole and Enid Shomer (among others) and a panel discussion.

Let us not forget the thespian arts, all outdoors this weekend – American Stage with Mamma Mia! at Demens Landing Park, and Much Ado About Nothing from the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival, at Williams Park.



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