Cibelle | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Brazilian singer Cibelle was introduced to the world on Sao Paulo Confessions, a 1999 release by Yugoslavian-born producer Suba; the three tracks of electronically driven club cool on which she sang suggested a more idiomatically liberated Bebel Gilberto. Suba having subsequently died in a house fire, Cibelle teamed up with like-minded Sao Paulo knob twirler Apollo 9 to make her eponymous debut (Six Degrees/Ziriguiboom, 2003), for which she wrote or cowrote every song but one. Though the weakest tracks here sound like background music for upscale dining, the best ones brim with clever ideas. "No prego" layers tracky string samples, strutting trombone lines, surf guitar, and warped turntable manips in a delightfully disorienting hodgepodge that's held together by the rhythmic acuity of her airy, pretty singing; the moody "Train" pairs shuffling programmed beats with spidery acoustic guitar figures and well-placed cuica scratches; the sashaying swing of "Waiting" incorporates samples of a cash register and a humming fridge. No matter how far from Brazil the instrumental part of the equation gets, her restrained, sexy voice retains a bossa nova lilt. One of the best tracks, however, is the most traditional: a Fender Rhodes-saturated cover of Jobim's "Inutil paisagem" that Cibelle sings with dusky-voiced bossa great Johnny Alf while queasy mellotron washes over the whole shebang. I'd love to hear more historical stuff from her, but I'm not complaining; her album is one of the best to emerge from Brazil in years. Scottinho & Cash open. $15. Friday, August 6, 9 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marco Dos Santos.

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