djavan_web.jpgMIAMI — Grammy Award-winning Brazilian recording star Djavan kicked off his U.S. summer tour at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Friday June 6, 2008. It was his first South Florida appearance since his sold-out 2001 concert seven years ago.

Brazilian natives from all over South Florida filled the 2,200-seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. As promised, Djavan brought his winning blend of bossa nova, funk, jazz, pop and samba.

Accompanying him on stage was his seven-piece band, including his two sons, João Viana (drums) and Max Viana (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar), as well as Renato Fonseca (keyboard), Marcelo Martins (sax, flute, and vocals), Walmir Gil (trumpet, flugelhorn, and vocals), François de Lima (trombone and vocals), and Sergio Carvalho (bass).

Djavan’s musical style comprises intricate harmonies and original melodies that range from romantic ballads to jazz. Some of his winning tracks include a fusion of African rhythms, R&B, and northeastern sounds.

As the lights dimmed in the theatre, the entire audience cheered abruptly in anticipation until Djavan hit the stage. His most popular hit, “Oceano” had the entire audience singing along. Brazilian flags waved sporadically throughout the theatre. It didn’t take long before Djavan had everyone on their feet, dancing and singing to hits such as “Lilas” and “Dragon.”

The journey to Djavan’s fame has been long, yet very rewarding. His passion for music began through the influence of his mother and his rich northeastern folklore environment. He began to play the violão (Brazilian guitar) as a self-taught instrument at the age of sixteen.

In 1973, Djavan moved to Rio de Janeiro where he began recording songs for Brazilian soap operas. A few years later, he recorded his first LP titled “A Voz, o Violão e a Arte de Djavan, Som Livre translated: The Voice, the Bass and the Art of Djavan, Free Sound.

In 1982, Djavan signed with CBS, where he made contacts with Quincy Jones and had Stevie Wonder as a guest star on his album, Luz. From there, Djavan has continued recording successful albums such as his latest, Matizes. He is recognized as Brazil’s leading singer/ songwriter by jazz musicians and critics alike.

Self-proclaimed number-one fan and audience member Carlos Voaventura couldn’t hold back his excitement after the performance.

“It was great! I’ve been a fan of Djavan since I was a kid in Sao Paulo (Brazil) over fifteen years ago. His energy is amazing and I can’t believe he got people out of their seats,” Voaventura told the South Florida Times

Native Brazilian Chiara Alves of Aventura was overwhelmed with emotion by the end of Djavan’s performance.

“Growing up in Campinos (Brazil), I’ve loved Djavan’s music for a long time. Being away from home, his music takes me back. The lyrics are so touching and reminiscent of Brazil. It reminds us of all the special things we left behind. He’s just an amazing artist,” Alves said.

Photo: Djavan