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Paula Maya Stays True To Her Roots in “Corcovado”

Paula Maya Stays True To Her Roots in “Corcovado”

Brazilian music standout Paula Maya stays true to her roots in her new single “Corcovado- Ao Vivo.” Her dynamic vocals are accompanied perfectly by light percussion and jazzy, acoustic guitar. In the world of contemporary music, there’s so much pressure to be “modern” and assimilated to current trends, yet Maya proves that you can still be grounded in tradition while displaying originality and uniqueness. 

Given the quality and nearly flawless execution of the recording, it’s hard to believe that Paula Maya’s latest release is actually a live performance. This decision ultimately enhances the listening experience of “Corcovado.” The faintly audible sounds of chatter amongst the audience makes the listener feel like they are at some hip, Jazz cafe on the streets of São Paulo. Releasing this single as a live performance is admirable not only because of the impeccable vocal delivery and tone, but also because of the overall ambience that enables you to be transported into an alternate reality. 

One of the ways in which Maya straddles the line between contemporary and traditional is by singing half of the song in Portugese and the other half in English. It would be easy for her to be a purist and only sing in Portugese to satisfy cultural norms, but singing in English as well makes her music more accessible to a wider audience. Not to mention, she sings in both 

languages quite beautifully. 

Additionally, Paula Maya’s band deserves a huge round of applause for their utilization of dynamics, subtlety, and flat-out skill. The percussionist plays soft and smooth, without missing a beat. The bass and keyboard players know when to take a back seat to the vocals and when to showcase their talent. And the guitar playing is a perfect example of why Brazil is home to some of the most underrated guitarists in the world. The jazzy chords and mesmerizing guitar solo are reminiscent of Brazilian greats, such as Yamandu Costa and João Gilberto, the latter being the original songwriter of “Corcovado.” The musicianship surrounding Maya undoubtedly accentuates her talent even more so. 

Paula Maya’s spin on “Corcovado” embodies the classic saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Clearly, traditional Brazilian music is an exceptional form of art as is. Maya and her band know that they don’t need to overly modernize the music that represents their culture, yet she uncannily conveys a sound that is fresh and worthy of being played on contemporary streaming outlets, even in the United States. Paula Maya knows exactly what type of artist she is and she absolutely owns it.


-- Quinn Donoghue

Published: June 24, 2021 |

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