Recording information: Citibank Hall, Sao Paulo (08/22/2015/08/23/2015).
Directors: Guilherme Zattar; Bem Gil; Moreno Veloso.
Photographer: Marcos Hermes.
Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil's friendship is one of the most joyous and celebrated in all of world music. The pair from Bahia have been collaborating since their teens in the early '60s, and their efforts have not only profoundly shaped Brazilian culture but also transcended borders to become a truly universal treasure. Over the past 50 years, Gil and Veloso have written dozens of songs together and shared the bill on several studio and live albums. On their own, they have also frequently released acoustic albums, the most recent examples being Veloso and Maria Gadú's Multishow ao Vivo (2011) and Gil's BandaDois (2010), yet they have never made one of these together up to now. It was, clearly, only a matter of time. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their first recording, 1965's "De Manha," Veloso and Gil decided to embark on a world tour to revisit their monumental catalog with only their voices and guitars. The CD/DVD Dois Amigos: Um Século de Música documents for posterity one such performance, which took place in Sao Paolo in August 2015, resulting in a lovely if thoroughly predictable memento. Anyone familiar with the acoustic albums mentioned above will know exactly what to expect, as both artists have been playing many of these same songs in pretty much the same way many times before. Surprises are scant, as when one of the two takes his turn on a song written by the other, or when they introduce the only new composition, "As Camélias do Quilombo do Leblon," their first joint effort since 1993. Roughly one third of the repertory is devoted to tracks associated with the seminal tropicalismo period of 1967-1973, while the rest includes some of their biggest solo hits and a few choice covers of songs they used to listen to in their childhood years by the likes of Ary Barroso, Tony Dallara, Simón Díaz, or Osvaldo Farrés. Veloso and Gil have aged exceptionally gracefully, but at 73 (both were born in 1942) time has obviously taken its toll. Fortunately, they complement each other very well: if Gil sings now in a significantly lower register, his playing is as impressive as ever; if Veloso, on the other hand, uses his guitar to mostly keep time, he has grown into a much more assured and refined singer. In short, while nowhere as revelatory or revolutionary as Veloso and Gil's historic achievements, Dois Amigos: Um Século de Música delivers exactly what it promises: two friends, two voices, two guitars, 50 years of glorious music. ~ Mariano Prunes