Interviews

Adriana Calcanhotto Pares Things Down for Her Latest Tour

Adriana Calcanhotto
Adriana Calcanhotto Photo by Leo Aversa
Following the long hiatus brought on by the pandemic, Brazilian musician Adriana Calcanhotto has resumed her Voz e Violao (Voice and Guitar) Tour, which started in her native country in 2019 and is finally arriving stateside with stops in cities like Miami Beach, Boston, and San Francisco. Her South Florida stop at the Miami Beach Bandshell on Saturday, September 17, serves as the closing event for the Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival.

"The guitar and voice thing is a format that I have always had," Calcanhotto tells New Times. "I write my original songs on the guitar, and it is the instrument I use when I learn covers. It is a way to represent the essence of my music in contrast to playing with a full band. I did my first U.S. tour in 2019 with a band, and then I planned to do this acoustic tour after that, but then the pandemic hit. After postponing twice, we are ready to go."

Fans should expect hits like "Devolva-me" and "Maresia" alongside covers of Bebel Gilberto's "Mais Feliz" and the late Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black," plus a few deep cuts.

"There are the hits, the songs people like to sing along to, and also tunes I released on YouTube during the lockdowns," she says of the tour's setlist. "It's all about the entire career, really."

Calcanhotto's musical catalogue is pretty much all over the place. She is equally comfortable with traditional sambas and more intimate bossa novas, but she also is open to different styles.

"My playing is definitely Brazilian," she explains. “It has touches of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, a bit of Joao Gilberto, Joao Bosco and Luiz Melodia but also a bit of jazz and flamenco. There is a lot of stuff going on."

Among her many collaborators is Marisa Monte, who appeared in South Florida earlier this year.

"We are longtime partners," Calcanhotto reveals. "People don't see it because we don't often record together, but we have quite a few songs we wrote together, and we exchange ideas about what to release. It's a really good dynamic. "

Her equipment of choice for the tour is American-made Taylor nylon-stringed guitars.

"I have used guitars from Brazil or Spain before, but they have a problem when it comes to dryness. Those guitars are built for humid climates, so then I lost a lot of them over the years," she says. "Guitars from [Brazilian-made] Giannini or Di Giorgio tend not to be very resistant to different climates, but the Taylors have done well. I have two of them, one is for the stage, and one is always with me. Before I made that choice, sometimes we'd have trouble with a guitar, and then someone would have to rush and get a new one, but now that has been solved with the Taylors."

Calcanhotto feels that emerging from the pandemic has been cathartic for both performers and audiences after so much time away from the stage.

"In Brazil and Europe, the return to the stage following the lockdowns, everyone seems to value this experience more," she says. "It's really impressive. There is a certain warmth to it."

And thanks to the flexible nature of acoustic sets, Calcanhotto is open to taking song requests as long as she knows how to play them.

"In this format, it's pretty open," Calcanhotto says. "People request songs, and if I remember how to play them — or if I can play them at all. It all depends on the show [and] the venue. With a band, you can't really improvise much, but when it's voice and guitar, you can be very flexible. It's a more intimate thing."

Adriana Calcanhotto. 6 p.m. Saturday, September 17, at the Miami Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; northbeachbandshell.com. Tickets cost $51.50 to $272 via dice.fm.
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Ernest Barteldes