On Saturday, I could find no better remedy to a hard week than a cold drink and the soft sounds of Saudade when the four-person band played a mix of classic and modern Brazilian music at Yanni’s Mediterranean Grill and Opa Bar on Central Avenue.
“Saudade” was the first word I learned in Portuguese, and it remains my favorite. It describes the sentiment of longing for something out of reach, be it a person, a place or a time of your life. It encompasses a universal melancholy, nostalgia and desire. The band executed this particular set of music so well that the momentary contentment easily replaced what always seems to be missing.
The band played a mix of bossa nova, samba and chorinho, mainly covering famous Brazilian artists such as Gal Costa, Jorge Ben Jor and Maria Rita. The band incorporated voice, guitar, drums and several wind instruments to create its signature uplifting, fast-paced rhythmic sound that invokes breezy afternoons in Brazil, drinking cocktails and chatting.
The dark atmosphere of Yanni’s provided a very intimate setting — no screaming, jumping, pushing or shoving. A few people danced in front of the stage area, while most sat and listened, absorbing the jazz-infused music. The two dancers occupied most of the open space with their far-flung and creative dance moves.
The lead singer Debo Orlofsky, wrapped in a swath of deep-blue cloth, remained vivacious throughout the evening despite the fact that she was in four-inch heels for hours. The authenticity of the music was evident from the moment the band started playing — nobody could have guessed every band member except for Orlofsky was never trained in the genre.
Saudade brings precision and vigor to a local scene that receives far less attention than it deserves. I recommend to anyone to keep an eye out for the band’s next show if you are looking for vivid tunes from abroad. The band also offers a connection to the Brazilian culture that has an ever-growing presence in Albuquerque. I often hear people talking in Portuguese on the street, meet Brazilians on and off campus and we could all benefit from this sort of contact and artistic immersion.
Friday, March 15
Yanni’s Mediterranean Grill and Opa Bar
3109 Central Ave. N.E.
Saturday, April 6
Zinc Cellar Bar
3009 Central Ave. N.E.