*** Bebel Gilberto
Being the daughter of
João Gilberto, the man whose whispered vocals and understated guitar
style helped launch the bossa nova, and Miucha Gilberto, one of Brazil's great
singers, can't be easy, especially when it means making your singing debut at
age seven at Carnegie Hall with your mom and Stan Getz. And Bebel did try to
resist her destiny for many years after that, moving from Brazil to New York to
study acting and later to London, where she still resides.
But like her father, she has a sultry, less-is-more vocal style that coveys a
simmering sensuality marked by a fatalistic resignation to the anguish of
romantic love. So once people heard her sing, they wanted more. And, after a
series of successful duets with the likes of Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, and
her dad, Bebel accepted the inevitable and set to work on her solo debut.
Although Tanto Tempo does make use of some 21st-century technology -- a
couple of tracks are built on synth samples and percussion loops -- most of it
is as uncluttered and acoustically subtle as the bossa of yesteryear, with
Gilberto's effortless vocals set against a sophisticated backdrop of smooth
tropical grooves. The result is an album that produces the expected sense of
carioca -- Rio's unique brand of soulful relaxation.