By Josivaldo Rodrigues
She has a crystal, transparent, and suave voice. Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos, better known as Gal Costa, performed for the first time on a Canadian stage, in a show, together with the Carioca violinist Romero Lobambo at Massey Hall, in Toronto. One day before the show, the singer gave us an interview in a reserved room at the Sheraton Hotel. Gal was attentive, polite and helpful.
During the show the following day, this native from Bahia gets better every time, with her talent, charisma, professionalism and beauty. Her voice echoed magically throughout Massey Hall. It was a night like no other. Gal is always Gal.
What is the difference between singing here and in Brazil?
Gal – The difference, I think is how moving it is to see how Brazilian music is loved in another country and how music breaks the language barrier. You don’t necessarily need to understand what the singer is singing to like what you hear. In New York, after one of my shows, an American said to me: “I didn’t understand a word of what you sang. But I loved it!” This is what music is, it has to connect to what you are hearing.
At the beginning of the year you took part in a tour through the central southern part of Brazil as part of Dionne Warwick’s (American singer) show. How was this experience, singing alongside a great music diva?
Gal – It was great. I had met Dionne before. She visited me at my house in Brazil and we even planned a show together for Brazil, but it never happened. And then she invited me for her tour in Brazil. I accepted and it was great, being with her, practicing and singing with her on Brazilian stages. She is a good friend, a great singer.
You are always renewing yourself. Has the experience of being a mother helped you to find the fountain of eternal youth?
Gal – Music is my fountain of youth. But motherhood is another one, it is very special, fantastic. A child brings a mother validity, rejuvenation, energy and beauty! Every woman has to try it. It doesn’t have to be biological. When you love a child, it is something unbelievable, a love that transforms, and takes you to a special place. Music also does this.
On your last CD, “HOJE” released in 2005, 80% of the songs are from new composers. Do you like to bet on new talent?
Gal – Yes I do. On this CD, I recorded with unknown composers from the media but these composers were already around. They were already doing their thing but they did not have the opportunity to be recognized by a larger audience. But I don’t think that I am obligated to launch or record with new composers. Not me. I want to sing whatever I feel like singing, what I am into at the moment.
And this show that you brought to Canada, is there a possibility that it will come out on DVD too?
Gal – I don’t know. Getting together with Romero Lobambo has been marvellous, we performed together in New York but now, meeting again, a new joy emerged, something special in our musical and personal engagement. The show is great, a lot of fun. The repertoire is the same, but the way we do it is different, renewed. I didn’t plan it, there is no project to put it on DVD. But anything can happen.
During your tour in the United States, you stated: “I have never been so happy to sing. What an audience!!”. This is the first time that you are singing in Canada. What kind of reception are you expecting from the Canadian public and the Brazilians who live here?
Gal – I am sure that it will be like the statement, which will be mortal silence and a moving answer, because singing in a theatre is great, it demands concentration from the audience and the artist , and this exchange of energy is very special. What I am doing with Romero is so real that the audience will love it, it seduces people.