Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ceu - Grains de Beaute


Willy is a master of style and wit.  He has honed his craft meandering the lost jungles of Boliva, hustling the gullies of South East Asia, and most of all keeping it really real on the streets of his hometown in Boston.  Old Willy Dimes is currently a working as a freelance journalist and writer.  Much love to Will and may we hear from him again soon.

Let me begin by saying that Brazilian artist Céu’s saucy, sultry voice is hauntingly good; she lays down that hot honeylava that seeps into your very soul. The São Paulo native came onto the scene in 2005 when she released her self-titled debut album. While Céu was unreal—and at a discounted $6.99 on iTunes, quite a steal—Céu’s second album is even more polished and even more mind-blowingly good. This time around, her second effort, Vagarosa (2009), is so consistently superb throughout that you’d be hard-pressed to select any single track as superlative to the rest. With an easy confidence, Céu navigates the diverse sounds of jazz, bossa nova, and Brazilian soul, often integrating into a single track the myriad genres she’s already mastered.

As a testament to her ever-increasing celebrity, Reuters published a 2007 Céu interview beneath the headline, “Singer Ceu brings sexy back to Brazilian music.” Now, I was completely unaware that Brazilian music ever lacked sexiness, nor that it was in great need for a sultry new voice on the bossa nova scene—but if that was indeed the case, then Céu has certainly upped the ante. Her voice simply oozes sex, and her tunes are as alluring as a young Elaine Benes.

Not unlike that of her contemporary, Bebel Gilberto, Céu’s lilting voice brings to mind all of the obvious clichés: sipping caipirinhas beachside, at ease in a warm sea breeze, as you watch dark skinned Brazilian beauties float on by from behind dark shades. But all clichés aside, her tunes are something more complex – a soundtrack suitable for a weekend affair in Rio with one of the aforementioned dark skinned beauties.

On certain tracks — or Jamandahalfs, if you will — her voice is so soulful it pains. On Grains de Beauté, the Brazilian songstress drops an effortlessly mellifluous melody set against a minimalist bass line and punctuated by sporadic horn bursts. Céu’s haunting vocals range from the deeply sensual to the softly-moaning-high-pitched-whisper, replete with melancholy lust throughout. In Grains, she asks her lover to trace and connect each of body’s spots. Now, my Portuguese is somewhat limited, but Grains transcends translation because desire is, apparently, universal.

Wilson "Che, Boludo, Machete, Gatao, Dimes" Nichols

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