The View From Madeleine's Couch: Nordestino @ Anywhere Theatre Festival Queensland 2017 Review

  • Written by  Karen Hutt and John Hutt
  • Thursday, 25 May 2017 16:27
The View From Madeleine's Couch: Nordestino @ Anywhere Theatre Festival Queensland 2017 Review Image © Karen Hutt
Attending an Anywhere Theatre Festival event at Chris Osborne and Susan Bennett’s beautiful modernist home in Carina is just like dropping in to see old friends, and discovering that they have a band playing in their lounge. And if the band is The View From Madeleine’s Couch – then so much the better!

Legendary Anywhere Theatre Festival hosts, Chris and Susan’s hospitality was once again far above and beyond requirements, with truly lovely food and wine provided for guests, and the warmest welcome one could hope for. With only a handful of those present being new to the band, the majority of the ‘full house’ were there to witness the completion of TVFMC’s trilogy of shows, tracing the band’s physical, spiritual and musical journey through Brazil. Bossa Nova Sunset Club in 2015 was followed by last year’s Samba Tropicalia, and now this season’s 'Nordestino'.

NordestinoTVFMC 2003
Image © Karen Hutt

‘Nordestino’ is a reference to the North East of Brazil, where a melting pot of different influences has led to the emergence of more than 200 separate musical genres. There was a much more laid back and gentle feel to the music in this show, compared with the previous two years, and much of the subject matter was far more prosaic. We have moved from the urban sophistication of Rio, and the development of Bossa Nova – girl watching ('The Girl from Ipanema') and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s 'Samba de Avião' – to more fundamental rural concerns, such as loading a donkey for market, and an ode to a banana tree!

Ranging once again through traditional and modern Brazilian compositions, as well as TVFMC’s own pieces, such as 'Bom Fazer', we were once again transported by the sensuous rhythms to a colourful and vibrant world, where music is integral to the fabric of life.

Anje West and Kym Ambrose were joined for this evening by bassist Owen Newcomb, playing with them now for 17 years! They were intermittently assisted by Eddie Gazani on acoustic guitar and Lucia Medeiros-Hodge on vocals, and their inclusion gave a broader range to the band, and provided a more informal, garagey feel to the music, harking back to the impromptu nature of much of the music’s origins.

Click here for more photos.

Anje’s strong, rich, and resonant voice, with its perfectly accented Portuguese, and her collection of eclectic percussion instruments always delights; Lucia’s backing harmonies added an extra dimension. The evening was also notable for Kym’s turns on the melodica – not an instrument that you hear played very often, and it worked very well with these pieces... Those of us who were at school in the 1970s will know exactly what a melodica is – for everyone else, there’s Google! However, we suspect that Kym was secretly pleased to return to the dulcet tones of his expertly played vibraphone!

NordestinoTVFMC 2016
Image © Karen Hutt

A different room orientation allowed the accommodation of a bigger crowd, and it was hugely pleasant to sit on the verandah on a mild May evening, listening to irresistible Brazilian rhythms, and basking in the suffused blue glow from the restored neon sign from Brisbane’s iconic Regatta hotel, which is now fixed over the pool area.

Although this was supposed to be the final part of a trilogy of shows, Anje confided that they have had so much fun putting these shows together over the past three years, that they are considering continuing the series – we certainly hope so, and based on the general delight that greeted this announcement, we are not alone!

Click here for more photos.


'Cores' (Da Lata)
'Eu So Quero Um Xodo' (Traditional)
'Acorda Amor' (Chico Buarque)
'Bananeira' (João Donato)
'Assum Preto' (Luiz Gonzaga)
'Tata Engenho Novo' (Traditional)
'Forro na Sexta' (Eddie Gazani)
'Curioso' (Joyce Moreno)
'Canção de Sereia' (TVFMC)
'Reconvexo' (Caetano Veloso)
'Barracumbara' (Joyce Moreno)
Encore: 'Bom Fazer' (TVFMC)


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