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Virgínia Rodrigues 

When: Mon., May 28, 7 p.m. 2012
Phone: (843) 722-2764
Price: $15-$65
www.spoletousa.org

Hometown gal makes good. Virgínia Rodrigues' roots are deep in the impoverished shanty town favelas that shelter Brazil's least likely to succeed. In Bahia, her hometown, she is revered not only for her talent but also for having overcome imponderable odds and earning worldwide recognition and acclaim. Some have called her success story a fairy tale, but in such a place, where hope is often frustrated, perhaps it would be more accurate to call her triumph a miracle.

Just like the blues, but closer to the source. Afro-Samba, which comprises an important part of Rodrigues' repertoire, is similar to American blues in that it springs from the same fertile soil for poetry: the finding-solace-in-struggle candor of the working class. Samba, however, is closer to the Afro-Caribbean experience than the blues, rhythmically and melodically. Among Rodrigues' particular gifts is her ability to draw together the two strands — her roots and the music's roots — in a way that illuminates and elevates both.

Mystical understanding. Rodrigues belongs to the Candomblé community of faith. This Afro-Brazilian religion is pantheistic and spiritually tied to the land. As in some Sufi traditions, the practice of ecstatic dance and the use of ritual music are significant elements of Candomblé. Rodrigues herself often refers to music as a spiritual pursuit.

— Jon Santiago
click to enlarge virginiarodrigues_byrogeriovonkruger.jpg

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