Not many people can claim they spent a dreary weekday evening far from the everyday hum drum of life, but that's exactly what I did on Wednesday, 9th September. I went to see Juliana Areias, Brazilian-Australian Bossa nova singer, perform at the well-known Jazz club, Foundry 616, to promote her new album, Bossa Nova Baby.
The album features 12 tacks, many of them original works, and all of them evoking the beauty and harmony of Brazil through the Bossa nova beat.
Juliana Areias recorded the album in Perth, and it is now receiving regular air-play on Aussie radio stations like ABC Jazz and SBS, as well as internationally.
Juliana's performance style was as smooth and laid-back as you would imagine from someone who knows Bossa nova so intimately. It's a rare sight to see someone so at ease on stage, not having to resort to screaming at the audience, gyrating wildly or generally being obnoxious. Because that's not what Bossa nova - or Juliana - is about. Juliana was accompanied on stage by her amazing band: Pete Jeavons (bass, double bass, arranger and producer), Graham Wood (piano), Ray Walker (guitar), Marcio Mendes (percussion), Chris Tarr (drums), and Paul Millard (sax, flute).
Each musician was skilled on their instrument as Juliana was on the microphone. At one point, couples got up to dance (the dinner offered a "dinner and show" package), and to everyone's amusement, one couple continued dancing out of the limelight in front of the stage, and closer to the bar area where there was more room!
Juliana sang a mix of classic Bossa nova songs like Girl from Ipanema (although arranged slightly different), and treated the audience to new songs off the album. One of my favourites was a sweet lullaby song dedicated to her two children. Another song spoke of the relationship between Brazil and Australia, and the contributions the Brazilian community have made to Australian society.
Whilst Juliana was certainly at ease on stage, she definitely wasn't aloof, and was in fact, quite an endearing presence. At one point, she messed up the lyrics to a song she shad dedicated to her husband, and took a quick peek at the lyrics printed on the CD cover before starting again. She said a song that was so personal to her made her nervous to perform in public.
Juliana Areias is a great performer, and her CD, Bossa Nova Baby, is out now worldwide via www.julianaareias.com, itunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Spotify, Rdio and Soundcloud .