One needs to listen to no more than a few verses of Bebel Gilberto’s voice in the cover of Caetano Veloso’s “Baby” (in an English version by Os Mutantes) to acknowledge that this singer/songwriter definitely does not live in the shadow of her famous father, bossa-nova co-creator João Gilberto.
But João is not the only musical genius in the family. Her mother is popular bossa nova diva Miúcha, her uncle is no one less than master composer Chico Buarque de Hollanda – and her cousin by marriage is percussionist/singer/songwriter Carlinhos Brown.
We were introduced to her velvet voice four years ago when the album Tanto Tempo was released. Fans loved the blend of modern arrangements with the classic acoustic guitar to an extent that soon a remix version of the same record appeared on shelves and also invaded the dance floors.
In her new album, simply titled Bebel Gilberto, she goes a step further by working with producer Marcus de Vries (who has worked with Bjí¶rk and Annie Lennox) and writing most of the new tracks on the album.
The album, which was recorded in various locations in Brazil, England and in New York, is a departure for Gilberto, but fans of her debut CD will still recognize some of the elements that were part of that successful release.
“All I really know is that I didn’t want to repeat the same recipe as on Tanto Tempo“, she told Global Rhythm last August. “For one thing (Tanto Tempo producer) Suba isn’t with us anymore and I wouldn’t dream of copying him.”
The result is a fresh record that mixes Portuguese and English words with a European-spiced Brazilian-ish sound.
One of the most interesting tracks is “All Around”, a song co-written by Gilberto, Masaharu Shimizu and Marius de Vries.
The lyrics, which speak of a long-distance relationship, features a subtle acoustic guitar by Pedro Baby (the son of Pepeu Gomes and Baby Consuelo) surrounded by a mix of electronic sounds and percussive elements that gel together seamlessly.
Carlinhos Brown contributed with the highly danceable Aganjú, a jazzy track that also features its composer on persuasion and harmony vocals, is the only Bahia-flavored song on the entire CD. Mom Miúcha guests on vocal effects here as well.
Bebel Gilberto will be appearing at Town Hall, in New York, on Wednesday, November 17th – her only U.S. date in her tour. Be sure to be there for this rare opportunity to see one of Brazil’s most interesting talents to emerge in recent years.
November 17, 2004
Town Hall, New York City
Also coming up:
Brazilian guitarist Lulu Santos appears this Saturday, November 13th at Palacio Europa in Newark. He always delivers a high-energy show, and judging from his latest release, the live MTV Ao Vivo, one has a lot to expect here. For more information, log on to http://www.brazilianconcert.com
Also be sure to check out The Cuban Cowboys. The brainchild of Jorge Navarro, they exaggerate on the Hispanic accents (what do joo think?, for instance) while blending Latin sounds with influences gathered from punk rock and other musical elements.
They will be performing on Saturday, 20 at Galapagos in Brooklyn sharing the bill with Hula, a band that features members of the original Cowboys back in Florida. For more information, log on to http://www.cubancowboys.com
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that, he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing The Greenwich Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.