Reviews

Cibelle

Coming as she did from a background in television, emerging pop singer Cibelle's future once lay in the sugary existence inherently bequeathed upon doll-faced Brazilian MTV spokesmodels. That is, until she began working with legendary drum and bass producer Suba. The ensuing collaboration brought the singer to the forefront of that country's modern music scene, dosing bossa nova with prefab drum and bass amphetamines.

Two years after her mentor's death, Cibelle is releasing her first solo CD, a self-titled collection of songs that were mostly written by the singer and meticulously produced by electro DJ Apollo 9. The result is a fresh sound that promises to lift her to a more substantial orbit than many might have expected of her. Her approach is playful and sensual without dripping into the treacle of pop sentimentality. On "Waiting," she infuses her light tone into a funky urban template; her subdued delivery conspires winningly with the song's harmonica touches and funky bass lines. She then switches to jazzy tones in "I'll Be." Although inviting and utterly pretty, her naturally languid voice blends all too well into the song's soundscapes.

The album's strength, however, lies in its thoroughly Brazilian flavor. Apollo 9 skillfully layers on ambient touches in perhaps the most successful song on the CD, "So Sei Viver No Samba," a breezy and unapologetically sparse bossa nova. The song brings out Cibelle's richest tones, and in the process makes you wish you had a girlfriend just like her: sexy, strong, smart, and funny.

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Juan Carlos Rodriguez