It was Brazilian Nights: The Greatest Hits when the Brazilian All Stars came to the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center and covered the most famous and familiar Samba classics with a Portuguese flavor that satisfied everyone’s Bosa Nova senses.
Lead vocalist Diana Purim Moreira and her husband, percussionist Krishna Booker, wove a spell in both Portuguese and English that covered 18 of the most famous and familiar classics from “Mas Que Nada” to “The Girl Ipanema” (or “Garota De Ipanema,” made famous by Antônio Carlos Jobin) sounding as fresh as I first heard in 1965!
Diana Purim Moreira Booker took her sweet time to give the audience the full liner notes version in English to explain every song in the extensive Portuguese playlist before she and the band delivered the native Brazilian vocals that started with a traditional one-hour set of “Watercolors from Brazil,” aka “Aquarela do Brasil,” followed by the familiar “Summer Samba — So Nice,” which became an international hit when sung by Astrud Gilberto and covered by Andy Williams as America fell in love with the sultry Brazilian sound.
The band featured the outstanding vocals and musicianship of lead guitarist Kleber Jorge Pimenta, who took center stage and complemented the imposing presence of Leonardo Nobre on bass. Nobre started the second set after intermission with a mesmerizing solo out of the shadows with a Bossa Nova piece called “Different Beat” as the band went up-tempo with an Afro-jazz fusion mix that included “Dindi,” a sultry romantic ballad that John Lucien made famous with a slight Caribbean twist better known as “Jinji.”
“Portuguese poetry is so beautiful and translates so well to English lyrics,” said lead vocalist and cultural interpreter Diana Purim Moreira, whose robust style was complemented by a polished, well-balanced, and simpatico band that never played over her.
Her husband, Krishna Booker, added a Hip-Hop cover with his side collection of whistles, shells, and tambourine along with his bongos. And lead guitarist Kleber Jorge Pimenta and bassist Leonardo Nobre backed up Diana with a blend of harmonious vocals that came together like the “One Note Samba” or “Samba De Una Nota So.”
Musical director and keyboardist Sandro Rebel Jr. featured unique quiet forest sounds ranging to music beatbox notes that went with the soft background lighting and that snare drummer Sandro Nogueira Feliciano blended into the shadows to allow the samba dance moves and vocals of Kleber and Leonardo to shine.
Diana took the time to explain the importance of the four-day Carnival to everyday Brazilians, who annually transform into their party persona. Closing with “È Festa” (“It’s a Party”), the Brazilian All Stars’ pure harmony and rhythmic joy had the audience at the newly renovated Robert Parilla Performing Arts Center demanding an encore and dancing in the aisles.
The Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of Montgomery Community College in Rockville and features an unusually comfortable 525-seat amphitheater with ceiling-to-floor acoustics and recessed lighting that nearly eliminates rear spotlight glare.
The concert was planned to have two 45-minute sets with a 10-minute intermission but the bar service was in such demand that intermission was extended to 20 minutes. Then the second set ran over 45 minutes, preventing two listed encores as the enthusiastic crowd called for more music.
The Brazilian All Stars performed October 22, 2021, at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, which presents a Guest Artist Series, a College Series, a Children’s Series, a Music Series, and Films. For more information and the complete schedule of upcoming performances, visit the venue’s website.
Brazilian All Stars Current Lineup:
Drums: Sandro Nogueira Feliciano
Guitar/Vocal: Kleber Jorge Pimenta
Keys: Sandro Pereira Rebel Jr
Bass: Leonardo Nobre
Percussion: Krishna B Booker
Lead vocal: Diana Purim Moreira Booker