CéU first entered the spotlight in 2007, when her first, self-titled American album earned her a Latin Grammy nomination for best new artist and a regular (?) Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album. Early next month, her next release is due out, titled Vagarosa, and I've been lucky enough to get a sneak listen to it for the last few weeks. It opens with Sobre o Amor e Seu Trabalho Silencioso, a number that could easily pass as an Astrud Gilberto song. It's got a very traditional feel to it that makes you expect an album of solid, yet staid new old songs. That expectation quickly gets tossed out the window during the album's next song, Cangote, when traditional instrumentation meets contemporary mixing with subtle, yet sharp results. Try out Bubuia below to see what I mean.
The real beauty of the album is the way is effortlessly straddles the divide between old and new. A comparison that almost immediately came to my mind was the bird and the bee, albeit with a Latin flair. It doesn't hurt that CéU's voice glides like honey, making it almost immaterial if you can't translate what she's saying.
and an older one from her debut: