Céu Talks Samba, Afrobeat, the Brazilian Scene, and the Heineken TransAtlantic Festival 2011

You say you're not familiar with Brazilian chanteuse Céu? We cry bullshit.

You may have stumbled across the sultry, sexy songstress while picking up a frap at your local Strabucks. Or jamming out at Coachella a few weeks back. But the fact is, her recent buzz has been big. And once you sample her talents, we think you'll agree it's only going to get bigger.

Crossfade had the chance to catch up with Céu before her Heineken TransAtlantic Festival show tomorrow night at the North Beach Bandshell, and she talked to us about her sound, her career, and the Brazilian scene.

Crossfade: Tell us a bit about your sound and how you came to it. You draw a lot of inspiration from both Brazilian popular music and samba, and Afrobeat.

Céu: My sound is the result of stories that I wanna tell, from daily life, things I lived, or something somebody that inspired me lived. It is also the result of musical mixtures, of the sound blend that I look for. It's so natural that I come from a culture that was born this way. And that includes samba, Afrobeat, jazz, etc.

I also read that you resigned yourself to a career in music from a very young age. Who are some of the artists that have inspired you along the way?

Chico Science and Nação Zumbi are from my generation, and are extremely inspiring for me. Artists such as Nara Leão, Clara Nunes, Baden Powell, Moacir Santos, and newer ones like Erykah Badu, Jill Scot, Martina Topley Bird.

It seems you made the right decision. It's been only a few years since you released your debut, and already you've had tremendous success. How did it feel being twice nominated for a Grammy with your first record?

I feel very happy with the recognition. It's like they were giving me fuel to keep on going on the road!

Tell us about your latest release Vagarosa.

It was released in 2009, I had just discovered how wonderful it is to have a daughter, and become a mother. I think it was a necessity to talk about love as a revolutionary tool -- universal love. It's actually a very self-revealing album

How was recording this follow-up different from the first album? And what do you think led to those differences?

Well, the first record naturally comes with characteristics from that situation. Nobody knows you. You're also discovering what is your real story in music. The second brings a certain pressure (especially being as well received as the first), but I honestly tried to ignore that and feel actually what had meaning to me. I think it's more organic, with fewer electronic elements. Less is more.

If there's just one thing you hope listeners will take away from the record, what is it?

That my music can put you in touch with something that is important to you.

Céu with Bostich and Fussible from Nortec Collective. Friday, April 29. North Beach Bandshell,  The concert begins at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $20 via fla.vor.us. Visit transatlanticfestival.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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