In Paris circa 2003, Olivier Libaux and Marc Collin formed Nouvelle Vague, a cover band that took its inspiration from a translation of “new wave.” Bossa nova also translates as “new wave” from the Portuguese. Inspired by this, Nouvelle Vague covered “New Wave” songs often in bossa nova style for four albums before taking a break in 2010.
In a year with David Bowie, I’ve participated many tributes, wakes, and remembrances of the man. Soon into 2016, David passed unexpectedly, and the DC metro area was promptly greeted by a concert by former Bowie drummer Woody Woodmansey and his Holy Holy tribute to Bowie’s early years.
That was a great show, boisterous and fantastic, with a remarkable group of musicians that included longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti on bass. It was cathartic to attend their concert only days after David’s passing. But it’s been equally affecting in the past month to hit two DC performances by Seu Jorge, an unassuming Brazilian musician who broke through to a new audience a bit more than a decade ago with his acoustic covers of Bowie classics in the cult film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
A lone figure poignantly sat with his guitar in the middle of the stage, wearing a wool cap, dungarees, and a polo shirt. It might seem an odd ensemble for a sincere performance, particularly given the musician’s shirt is emblazoned with “Team Zissou,” but Seu Jorge is no ordinary performer.
The Brazilian artist regaled a very sold-out house at the Howard Theatre on Nov. 8 with tales of how he came to participate in the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and how he took up a number of acoustic covers by David Bowie at the urging of director Wes Anderson. To say the show was a hit would be the understatement of the year — the audience went mad for the Seu Jorge show, which consisted of nothing but those Bowie covers.
If you missed it, fear not! Seu reprises the show locally again at the Howard Theatre on Tuesday, Dec. 13. I urge you to go and experience the Portuguese-language tribute to the era of Ziggy Stardust.
Watch Seu Jorge perform “Life on Mars” at the Howard Theatre on Nov. 8 in a video by Theresa C. Sanchez:
Since Bowie’s passing in January, DC has seen its share of tributes and wakes to the career of a fantastic musician. But as I noted in our Nov. 8 review of Seu Jorge’s show, “Seu sang with passion, and his capable guitar transported us across romantic spaces. It was a revelation to remember the fire in the original Bowie glam compositions, and Seu wisely stripped them down and let that fire glow.”
A VIP meet and great option is available in addition to general admission. The VIP package includes VIP early entry into the venue, an exclusive meet and greet with Seu Jorge, a personal photograph with Seu Jorge, and exclusive merchandise.
Tickets are available online. See you there!
Seu Jorge Presents “The Life Aquatic,” A Tribute to David Bowie
Tuesday, Dec. 13
$38.50 GA/$191 VIP
It is said that each show by the Thievery Corporation is a unique party onto itself. We in DC will experience then three parties in a row when the Thievery Corporation cap off a short tour with three dates at the 9:30 Club on Dec. 15, 16, and 17 next week.
The Thievery Corporation hit the road on Wednesday this month to perform in Atlanta on the road back home for the three sold-out dates at the 9:30 Club. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have marked 20 years together as of 2016, which is reason enough to hit the road, but Thievery Corporation also is preparing for an eighth studio album, to be titled “Temple of I and I,” scheduled for release in February.
In concert, the downtempo duo is usually augmented by a collection of musicians who fill out the sound of the band, making for a dynamic live experience. Rob and Eric play electronics, mixing various world beats from reggae, bossa nova, and more into their chill-out music, while their supporting musicians play guitars and drums and add vocals.
Watch Thievery Corporation perform a 30-minute set, including “Forgotten People,” “Le Monde,” “All That We Perceive,” “Amerimacka,” and “Culture of Fear,” for KEXP in Seattle on Oct. 5, 2016:
According to a press release, the next Thievery Corporation album will continue to provide social and political commentary often found in the band’s music, particularly their album Culture of Fear from 2011.
The 9:30 Club dates may be sold out, but you can find other opportunities to buy Thievery Corporation tickets via Songkick.
Here are the Thievery Corporation tour dates for December 2016:
12/7 Atlanta, Ga. – Tabernacle
12/8 Richmond, Va. – The National
12/9 New York City, N.Y. – Terminal 5
12/10 Philadelphia, Pa. – The Fillmore
12/12 Portland, Maine – State Theatre
12/13 Boston, Mass. House of Blues
12/14 New Haven, Conn. College St Music Hall
12/15 D.C. – 930 Club
12/16 D.C. – 930 Club
12/17 D.C. – 930 Club
Thursday, Dec. 15-Saturday, Dec. 17
Seu Jorge was home in Brazil, and he received a phone call that would change the direction of his life.
His ex-wife (an apparently amazing woman who suggested Seu take to the road this year) initially took the call, and she told Seu that the caller had a movie offer for him.
Once on the phone, Wes Anderson asked Seu, “Do you know David Bowie?”
“Oh yeah, he’s the blonde guy! He has the two different colored eyes!” said Seu.
In 2004, Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge appeared alongside Bill Murray, who just received the top US prize for humor this week, in a little independent film directed by Wes Anderson — The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Portraying sailor Pelé dos Santos, Seu stole the show with charming cover versions of David Bowie songs, including “Starman,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Rock & Roll Suicide,” “Life on Mars?,” and “Five Years.”
To say Seu’s covers were well received would be an understatement. They were a sensation! Seu followed up the soundtrack to The Life Aquatic by recording seven more Bowie songs and releasing an album in 2005 titled “The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions.”
The release of the album spurred David Bowie himself to say: “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs acoustically in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”
In the wake of Bowie’s passing in January, Seu Jorge is touring these covers as Seu Jorge Presents: “The Life Aquatic,” A Tribute to David Bowie. The show hits the Howard Theatre in DC twice — Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Watch Seu Jorge cover “Starman” by David Bowie in Portuguese in a scene from “The Life Aquatic” on YouTube:
Word on the street is that Seu’s first date, which is less than two weeks away, is all but sold out (a check last night revealed tickets still available). Grab your chance to see this enchanting show, certain to make you feel the way Bowie felt when he heard these songs reconfigured in Portuguese.
I don’t need to tell you that the world has been a dimmer place in its first year so far without David Bowie in it. What more comforting manner to reflect on his legacy than with someone like Seu, who had to understand the music so thoroughly so as to reinterpret it so wisely? I hope you’ll meet me at the Howard.
Tickets for Tuesday, Nov. 8, are available here through Ticketmaster.
Tickets for Tuesday, Dec. 13, are available here through Ticketmaster.