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Virginia Rodrigues casts her musical spell at the Flynn

BURLINGTON -- Flynn Center Executive Director Andrea Rogers especially enjoys Brazilian contralto Virginia Rodrigues performances. She is not alone. In reviewing Rodrigues 2003 CD, Mares Profundos, Matt Cibula of PopMatters gushed that Rodrigues voice is as close to [beauty] as we are afforded in the world of musica voice that transcends language and class and racial barriers, a voice that could save lives. Cibula could not imagine anyone hearing Rodrigues sing and not falling completely under her spell. Rodrigues cast her spell over a disappointingly small but easily enchanted Flynn Center audience on Oct. 25. Accompanied by Bernardo Bosisio (guitar), Raul Mascarenhas (sax & flute), and Marco Lobo (percussion), Rodrigues presented a hauntingly beautiful mix from all three of her albums (Mares Profundos, Sol Negro, and Nos) at the Flynn Center. Marco Lobo, Rodrigues percussionist, is credited with playing the drums, cymbals, tambourine, timbales, pandeiro, surdo, ganza, and moringa on Mares Profundos. He fluidly played all those instruments on Oct. 25, and he also clapped, strummed a berimbau, and jingled the tiny bells on his colorful boots in timely fashion. He was a one-man percussion band, the pleasant surprise of the night. Rodrigues is proud of her Afro-Bahian roots and is a fierce critic of racism in Brazil. For almost 20 years, she has been a member of the polytheist Afro-Bahian Candombl_ult. Four of the Afro-Sambas she sang on Oct. 25 were written by Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes, often described as Brazils vibrant answer to Burt Bacharach and Hal David. One of the songs, Canto de Xango, is an homage to Xango, the Candombl_od of Fire. All the songs are on the Mares Profundos album, and you can watch a sometimes-jumpy version of Canto de Xango on YouTube.com where Rodrigues is accompanied by noted percussionist Nan_asconcelos. Despite the modest crowd, Rodrigues seemed to enjoy languorously waving her shawl, dancing sensuously around the microphone, and impressing the audience with her semi-operatic voice. Neil Strauss of the N.Y. Times said that Rodrigues voice reverberates from a throat that seems to have the acoustical properties of a large church. Which may be another way to say that Rodrigues singing is divine. The next program in the Flynns World Music & Dance series will be Yamato: The Drummers of Japan on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. These drummers communicate the ancestral belief that the drumbeat, like the heartbeat, is the very pulse of life. Tickets ($36/$29) and info are available at the Flynn Box Office, 153 Main St, Burlington, 802-863-5966, www.flynntix.org .

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