Portrait of the artist as a (young) old man

caetano cd cover

While Bowiemania sweeps the western world,  I may as well mention that there’s another chameleon-like singer-songwriter out there who’s managed to stay fresh and relevant without the help of Garbo-like disappearances. As usual, my Portuguese dictionary only goes so far in helping to decipher the dense, poetic lyrics on Caetano Veloso’s new disc, “Abraçaço”. The music, though, speaks in all languages. I always prefer his collaborations with the great cellist Jaques [sic] Morelenbaum (no wonder Almodóvar wanted to put them on celluloid) but there’s no question that Veloso’s return to an art rock vocabulary has a potency all its own. My Sunday Times review is here [£].  Bowie’s name, incidentally, turns up in this 2010 conversation between Veloso and one of his leading admirers, Beck.

CV: […] Glam was beginning. It was 1971. It was really the beginning of Bowie… [T]he guy that produced my records… told me, “Caetano, you must meet this guy David Bowie. And you should write together.” […]

BH: That would have been an incredible record.

CV: (laughs) “You must work together. You’re going to like his wife Angela a lot too.” Then he said, “I’m going to introduce you to him. They need somebody to work with them who has a poetic mind.” So he took me to the Roundhouse to see David Bowie’s show and then he briefly introduced me to him after the concert backstage. But briefly mostly because I told him I didn’t like it. (laughs) So it took me quite a while to really learn that Bowie was good. I’m old, you must understand. I am one year older than Mick Jagger, you know? […] So when I saw Bowie it was so stylized, a little cold. It looked as if it were bad taste trying to be elegant, you know? This is my distorted vision. That first sight when I was living there.

Worth hearing too: Beck covers Veloso’s “Michelangelo Antonioni” on last year’s  70th birthday compilation.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: www.facebook.com/clive.davis.10 Instagram: clivephotos
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