Friday, April 20, 2007


Just when you thought that Brazil must surely have exhausted its supply of irresistibly jazzy, funky, sexy, soulful electro-pop singer-songwriters, CéU (pronounced Say-Ew) comes along and makes you think that maybe that particular well is bottomless after all. CéU's self-titled US debut comes hot on the heels of a Latin Grammy nomination for "Best New Artist of 2006." She is also riding high on a wave of international success in Brazil, Holland, Italy, Canada, and France.

CéU's stateside release opens enticingly with "Vinheta Quebrante," a brief introductory track that builds itself up in delicate rhythmic layers. With "Lenda," CéU stakes out her musical territory more assertively. Anchored by the juxtaposition of a subtle melody and a lazy funk groove, ornamented with a gracefully understated turntable scratch, the song exudes hints of reggae with dub lurking in the background. "Malemolnêcia," a more explicitly reggae-flavored song, is featured in the soundtrack to "Cidade dos Homens," the television adaptation of the celebrated film City of God. The album's most surprising track is her cover version of Bob Marley's archetypal sufferer's anthem "Concrete Jungle." Samba, reggae, dub, electronica, love, heartbreak, chaos and sweet, sweet tunefulness - sounds like the perfect recipe for an irresistible album by a thrilling new talent. And so it is.

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