This Friday Mr Bongo Records is set to reissue Gal Costa’s fourth album, 1973’s îndia. A record heralded for its brave experimentation, it’s a bold and cohesive work the label deems a “post-Tropicalia masterpiece.” We wouldn’t argue.
India is a subtle yet revolutionary statement, one in which Costa stands her ground by remaining her uncompromising self. Brave, generous, and genuine, the nine performances marvel across the record like Vaganova ballet. Groundbreaking, îndia boasts a sense of elegant futurism, one that includes the proto-new wave defiance of “Relance;” the graceful swoon of bossa-nova spells “Da Maior Importî¢ncia and “Desafinado;” and the art-rock fusion of “Passarinho” and “Pontos de Luz.” A consummate interpreter, Costa treasured the material of her peers and predecessors with an adventurous sense of gratitude and wonder. The results were, however, always unmistakably her own.
Costa’s rendering of the Portuguese folk song “Milho Verde” (“Green Corn”) is something of its own ceremonial — a freeform ritual of joyous, ecstatic dance between voice and percussion. Below, dig this live footage, circa 1973, of Costa & company ripping through the folklore interpretation, infusing sparks of monumental glam and liberation…the spirit of the artists manifesting in form throughout high charges of electric movement. Sensual, tribal, earthly, Costa’s presence and spirit is hers and hers alone. words / c depasquale