18/04 Bristol, UK - St George's *Read More
19/04 London, UK – KOKO Theatre*
20/04 Manchester, UK - Band on the Wall*
22/04 Coventry, UK - Warwick Arts Centre*
23/04 Gateshead, UK - Sage Gateshead*
24/04 Brighton, UK – Komedia*
05/05 Circo Voador, Rio de Janeiro
18/05 Lupaluna 2012, Luritiba, Brazil
19/05 Virada Paulista, Indaiatuba, Brazil
20/05 Mogi Guaçu - Virada Paulista, Palco Externo
* With Curumin
From just looking at her short nine national dates, I was happy to see Céu (pronounced "say-you" by the announcer) had chosen to stop by Minneapolis at the Dakota Jazz Club to play her Brazilian jazzy, samba music.
How is it? Busy! Playful! Fun! For such a short album (35 minutes) there is a lot there. After reading the press release, I know why. Céu based the concept of the album on a road trip she took through her native Brazil. What she came across musically on her journey was everything. What she put into the album was everything, like trying to fit a week’s worth of clothes into an overnight bag. As she says in her own words: “Basically this entire album is a collection of short tales revolving around the chaos of a road trip.”
Unlike her prior albums, Céu really expands her musical vocabulary by exploring the Latin American musical sounds of cumbia, lambadas, carímbos, bregas and guitarradas. (My favorite is “Contravento”) You can also hear reggae on “You Won’t Regret It” and a Carnival infused ska in “Asfalto e Sal.” There is also a contradictory Spaghetti-Western-Happy-Go-Lucky tinge in “Amor de Antigos.” And in between are some brief songs that play more like riffs like “Tejunda Estrada.”
This type of musical exploration tends to appear as a musician begins to mature. You can hear that Céu is influenced by many musical traditions. Besides her Latin American roots, she has also confessed to being inspired by jazz greats Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as wells as more recent singers like Lauren Hill and Erykah Badu.
Every time I listen to Céu I am reminded of another singer with one name—Dido. I think the reason is they both have an ethereal nature in how they sing. They whisper more than pronounce, float more than drive the beat. Also look at their given names:
Dido: Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong
Céu: Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças
Did you know that Céu means “sky” in Portuguese and Dido has “cloud” in her name? And for another comparison listen to Céu’s “Street Bloom” and Dido’s “Northern Skies” and see if they are not transatlantic cousins.
Over all I really like this album. Even though there is a lot to see on a road trip, with Ceu’s voice as the tour guide, you are guaranteed to enjoy the ride.