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Bebel Gilberto preview

| November 25, 2009 | 0 Comments

Park West, Chicago
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

bebelgilb

It fits that Brazil is a Portuguese-speaking country on a Spanish-inflected continent, because its music — even when written in protest — seems to dismiss traditional, Latin fire as a waste of energy.

Granted, Brazil is a violent place, as a police helicopter crashing into the slums during a drug battle a month ago vividly testified. Her father, bossa nova creator João Gilberto, wasn’t quite so controversial, but the next generation Tropicalismo movement led by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso were hated by the government of the time, arrested, and exiled. Bebel has lived a comfortable life, however, and seems unaffected by past flare ups.

That doesn’t make her a distant pop star, however. Her craft, as demonstrated on her latest album, All In One (Verve), is in keeping listeners interested without feeling she needs to forcibly excite them. There’s intrigue and mystique on the James Bond-ish Stevie Wonder cover “The Real Thing,” and an arching pressure haunting her own “Ela (On My Way).” The reverberating “Forever” harks to the trip-hop influence on her first (non-teen) album, and her voice is in fine form throughout — never soaring or wildly vibrating, but a reassuring, reliable instrument.

— Steve Forstneger

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