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CéU CéU

  • Words: Derek Beres
  • Label: Six Degrees
  • XLR8R Rating: 7/10

On her MySpace page, Brazilian vocalist CéU claims that her sound is "like nothing you've ever heard before," and she's not kidding. Her debut uses samba as a platform, but the direction she takes it (with the help of excellent producer Apollo Nove) is completely fresh. The sonic backdrops pull from jazz, Brazilian percussive traditions, Afrobeat, and bass-heavy midtempo electronics-and merit a record of their own. There is something universal in this young vocalist's melodies, perhaps the reason Starbucks selected her to be the first international artist in their Hear Music series-a contemporary nod akin to being read in Oprah's Book Club. Whether in her inviting English (she takes Bob Marley's "Concrete Jungle" to a whole new level) or native Portuguese, she's quick to captivate. CéU's long, sensuous syllables atop the dubby bassline on "Roda," and upbeat bursts of poetry on "Rainha" are this disc's true diamonds.

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