A few years ago, I was in love with Owen Wilson.
My obsession was formed between Zoolander and Meet The Parents, and that honker of a nose he’s sporting on his face drove me to see every movie he starred in. Naturally, when I watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, it was a large feat that my attention was drawn from Wilson’s crooked facial features to a certain musician aboard the ship – PelÇ Dos Santos, played by Seu Jorge.
Sitting with one leg up on a stool and dreadlocks dangling in front of his eyes, Jorge’s melodies lightly floated throughout the suburban Chicago pavilion, Ravinia, on June 17, a stark contrast to that of Zissou’s Belafonte or even the Rio de Janeiro shanty town-like housing he grew up in. Between the distant cheering of audience members picnicking on the lawn and a slight echo reverberating from the microphone that only added to his sound, the musicality of each song proved to be so infectious that it wholly surpassed the boundaries of language. The Brazilian singer’s silky voice glided over each note so lightly that, even though I had no idea what he was saying, it was beautiful to listen to the emotions coming through his enunciations.
Near the end of his set, Seu Jorge utilized his secret talent – a killer Wes Anderson impression – to explain a phone call he received about starring in The Life Aquatic. After talking about his confused reaction to Anderson’s odd request to have him sing David Bowie tunes in Portuguese, Jorge segued into his version of “Rebel, Rebel,” which brought smiles and sincere chuckles from those in the audience.
The most shocking part of the concert was that Jorge was in fact the opening act for singer Cesaria Evora. Though her large band inspired dancing in the aisles and along the stage, Seu Jorge, alone on stage, retained an impressive amount of intimacy in such an expansive venue and could have easily headlined the show.
While I’ll always be a Wilson fan and have just begun my love with Jorge’s tunes, when it comes down to it, I’d rather hear Seu Jorge perform a song than listen to Owen speak, regardless of how cute it is when he attempts to say, “chuppah.”