Video Pick of the Week: Xuefei Yang Plays Dilermando Reis’ ‘Xodó da Baiana’

I’ve been on a Brazilian music kick lately—fueled by recent album releases by Fabio Zanon, Daniel Murray, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Jan Depreter, and others—so I was thrilled last week when this video popped up from one of my favorite players, Xuefei Yang. Xuefei released her Colours of Brazil album back in 2016, and it contained three tunes by the great Brazilian guitarist, composer, and teacher Dilermando Reis (1916–1977), including this lively and fun number, Xodó da Baiana. (Roughly translated, that means having affection for a woman from Bahia.) You can listen to the entire Colours of Brazil album on Spotify.

Reis’ own recording career began in the early 1940s, but he enjoyed his greatest successes in the 1950s and ’60s. Besides being an oft-covered composer, he also helped popularize the works of João Pernambuco (Sons de Carrilhões) and Pixinguinha, and Radames Gnattali dedicated his 1970 Concerto No. 1 for Guitar and Orchestra to Reis. Eight years earlier, in 1962, Reis fronted Gnattali’s orchestra on an album called Presença de Dilermando Reis, which closed with a guitar-and-orchestra version of Xodó da Baiana. It’s not clear to me when Reis recorded the piece originally. (Any ideas?)


The piece has been covered by a number of guitarists through the years, including Eleftheria Kotzia on her 1999 album La Guitarra Latina, David Russell on his Aire Latino: Latin American Music for Guitar from 2004, and Yamandu Costa on his album Ida e Volta from 2007.  —Blair Jackson