Review: Martinho da Vila @ Barbican Centre (London, 28th June 2016)

The Brazilian soul was present at the Barbican Centre through the music of Martinho da Vila. It was a concert full of samba, with touches of fado, bossanova, jazz and poetry. Hundreds of Londoners filled the hall and enjoyed every song. A good deal of expectancy and excitement were breathed before the gig, growing note by note and word by word until the end.

Having taken his name from the Vila Isabel Samba School, Martinho da Vila has made his name as a Brazilian samba’s revivalist and prolific songwriter. As a representative of Brazilian pop music (better known as MPB, música popular brasileira) samba is his mother tongue which combined with song, baião, regional music, and the influence of jazz and rock, embody his personal music style.

With a band of samba musicians, Martinho da Vila featured his most beloved songs, such as Casa de Bamba, Mulheres or Quando essa onda passar. The audience sang intensely and danced enthusiastically. The energy during the gig made the Contemporary Music Concerts series one of the best at the Barbican.

In the middle of the gig, there was a special participation by Maira Freitas (piano and vocals) and Marcelinho Moreira (percussion) who sang Filosofía de vida. Maira’s piano playing were astonishing, characterised by vitality and passion. Her singing and invitation to dance provided a delightful and effervescent environment to the concert. This was followed and increased by Marcelinho whose subtle style at the beginning of the song triggered an explosion of emotions all over the hall. The other members of the band were Wanderson Martins (cavaco), Ivan Machado (brass), Cláudio Barros (guitar), Paulo Ferreira (drums), and Odorico Santo Neto (flute and saxophone).

The emotion generated by da Vila made people demand an extra song. Madelena do Jucú was the very last song of the gig. Such an experience couldn’t be better, where musicality and the attractive style of da Vila were contagious. The musical energy spread all over the people through the concert and even after it, since people were still singing and dancing.