Local Wire

Bebel Gilberto

What's next for Bebel Gilberto? That was the question posed by many impressed by her acclaimed debut album Tanto Tempo (2000), a delicate bossa nova update dominated by the cut-and-paste mentality of producers such as Amon Tobin and Suba, and the reported 1.2 million copies it sold in the world market. There's a simple answer. The Brazilian singer is sick of being compared with her ultrafamous parents, '50s icon João Gilberto and singer Miúcha Buarque, having already revisited her Brazilian heritage four years ago.

So now it should be all about Bebel. Her self-titled follow-up proudly trumpets her name: She has written nine of the album's 12 songs, and it has an almost pure and straightforward bossa nova feeling that emphasizes her sweet, warm voice. She sings in a relaxed musical setting that is more organic than electronic, although producer Marius de Vries (Madonna, Björk) does add some spice here and there. Her collaboration with the talented Carlinhos Brown on the percussive and subtle "Aganjú" is one of the highlights. She also continues to pay tribute to her Brazilian legacy, performing a Caetano Veloso cover ("Baby"). But it doesn't matter whether Bebel's songs are set in sunny Rio de Janeiro or rainy London ("Simplesmente," "Cada Beijo," "River Song"). Either way, she makes everything seem attractive.