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Brazil | R+

Céu: Silent fire and the master's art of cover versions.

Brazilian singer Céu is excited to return with her upcoming album Um Gosto de Sol on November 12, 2021 on Urban Jungle Records/Warner Music. This will be her first cover album and features 14 beautiful renditions of classic songs crafted by the Latin GRAMMY Award winner. Her first single and video “Chega Mais” is out now.

Céu was living in New York in 1998 when she wrote her first song. She divided her time between a music course – the reason why she had left Brazil – and as a cleaner, coat-check attendant, waitress, and other jobs that helped pay for her rent. Until then, her relationship with music was associated with doing cover songs. Singing someone else’s repertoire was her first lesson – it guided her to find her own musicality – and, in the end, it was what gave her the fundamental tools to discover her place as a composer. Singing was everything to her, and the desire to make an album with covers remained in her plans all along – but original productions have naturally occurred since her self-titled debut album, Céu, in 2005. The idea of putting a pause on her own compositions, in order to dedicate herself to other people’s songs, had been postponed – until now. After five original albums, Um Gosto de Sol is the first album in which Céu is only a performer, giving voice to a dozen songs written by other authors. The album is a result of the pandemic’s impact on the artist’s life. Made with the help of Pupillo, her husband and producer, and Edgard Poças, her father, it’s a particularly personal project. And the seed that motivated its conception was in fact the lack of reasons to compose an original album. The retreat. The inevitable introspection.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when the feeling of uncertainty only increased with each new day – and no day was really “new,” Céu acted like much of the rest of us and sought shelter in the only possible safety point at that time: memory. She reminisced on her beginnings with music, which go back to the records she listened to as a child at her parents’ house, to the rock and pop music she discovered in her teens, to the shows she saw and performed before becoming a songwriter. Her personal journey made the repertoire of Um Gosto de Sol. It reflects the artist in every corner of her musical foundation, in such a broad spectrum that it can surprise even her most loyal followers. Samba is represented in the album in five very distinct periods – In time and aesthetically.

Within this genre, the selection of songs kicks off with the pioneering trio of composers: Ismael Silva, Lamartine Babo and Francisco Alves, partners in “Ao Romper da Aurora,” samba recorded by Ismael in 1957. We then visit João Gilberto’s original work in “Bim Bom,” a small jewel released by the brilliant singer as the B side of his 1958 single, that had the track “Chega de Saudade” as the A side, and inaugurated Bossa Nova. We then travel to the most revolutionary phase of the duo Antonio Carlos & Jocafi in 1973’s “Teimosa.” Which, in its new version, gained backing vocals by Russo Passapusso, from BaianaSystem. It is followed by Alcione’s “Pode Esperar,” from 1979, a composition by Roberto Corrêa and Sylvio Son, which already imprinted feminism into the diva from Maranhão’s lyrics. It then flows into a pagode from 2000 with “Deixa Acontecer,” a song by Carlos Caetano and Alex Freitas, made by grupo Revelação by Xande de Pilares – which Céu takes on in a sensational duet with Emicida.

Brazilian pop is represented on the album by its biggest star. The first single to hit music platforms from “Um Gosto de Sol” – “Chega Mais” is a collaboration between Rita Lee and Roberto de Carvalho from 1979, it’s from the same LP that inaugurated not only Rita’s solo career – and the stage of her greatest popular success, alongside her husband Roberto – but also the stepping stone of what would become Brazilian pop.

The track that the album is named after, “Um Gosto de Sol” is a collaboration between Milton Nascimento and Ronaldo Bastos, taken from the classic 1972 album Clube da Esquina. The harmonic and modic sophistication of the song is exemplary of the innovative Minas Gerais school that was led by Milton at that time and which continues to have the capacity of impacting the most meticulous musicians and listeners in Brazil and abroad. On the other hand, it is in the simplistic construction of “Feelings” that its most powerful characteristics lie, with the strength to unify and blur the lines between Brazilian and international music. Composed in English by Brazilian Morris Albert in 1974, the song conquered the world in an overwhelming way and was recorded by jazz and pop stars worldwide, from Nina Simone to Caetano Veloso, from Offspring to Joe Pass.

International pop and its various decades are also interpreted by Céu throughout the album. Um Gosto de Sol includes a bossa nova version of the psychedelic song “May This Be Love,” a track that opens the B side of Jimi Hendrix’s classic album, Are You Experienced (1967). The album travels through the 1980s in “Paradise,” a composition from Sade’s worldwide hit Stronger Than Pride (1988). Then it arrives in the 1990s with two fundamental names: Fiona Apple, with “Criminal,” (1997); and the Beastie Boys, of “I Don’t Know” from the following year (1998). Two instrumental vignettes were also created for the album: “Sons de Carrilhões,” by João Pernambuco, and “Salobra,” by Andreas Kisser, Pupillo, DJ Nyack and Céu – just to go against those who say that there is nothing original in the tracklist.

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