Adriana Miki – Mulata de Arroz

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The pristine nature of Adriana Miki’s voice puts it easily within the realm of reality that Ms. Miki would be one of the heraldic acolytes that flutters at the gates of Paradise, singing with that great sense of saudade, awaiting a glorious homecoming of something or someone.

On Mulata de Arroz Ms. Miki is in top form, singing with great facility. There is innocence in the sound of her voice that suggests Ms. Miki is somewhat naïve, but this may be wholly untrue. She has the maturity to reach deep down into her soul and wrench from within feelings of great import: the ache of having lost something great and of finding equally great solace in the loneliness that results thereby. When her pain is enormous, you can feel it in the somewhat shrill thinness of her voice. Alternatively, when there is joy in Ms. Miki’s heart her voice bursts forth and glides into the stratosphere a mighty whoosh. But always Ms. Miki is in complete control as her voice leaps like a gazelle high and lonesome as it becomes possessed by sadness or joy. In a single song, for instance, Ms. Miki can inhabit several planes, bounding from one to the other with a sense of ebullience that is infectious.

The songs in her repertoire fuel the passions in the habitable realm that Adriana Miki enjoys swinging and shuffling within. She can swing from one extreme to the other with majestic facility and this is obvious from the splendid vocalastics of “Alegria” to the elemental ache of “Prelúdio/Mãe Negra”. In the first she soars like a feminine Daedalus on enormous wings of joy and never falters in the ascending happiness; on the latter she plunges into the depths almost as if she is in a perfect indigo mood in the midst of a perfect storm of despair. There are feelings almost everywhere in between as Ms. Miki navigates through the repertoire on this subtly beautiful album. But she is not without extraordinary support from her small ensemble. First she has an amazing horn section that not only is able to go with her flow, but also to create that sudden rush—in either direction—that het emotional rollercoaster demands.

The reeds player, Desidério Lázaro is a true revelation, who never overpowers but empathizes fascinatingly with the vocalist. This is also true of João Moreira, who plays brightly, but in a muted, burnished manner, also empathising in a sublime manner with Ms. Miki. Pianist Paulo Barros is a great listener, who plays behind the glorious vocalist and extrapolates on her ideas when called upon to solo. Joel Silva drums with sensitivity, using brushes with flair and sticks with every ounce of softness that can be conjured up from that medium. And Sérgio Crestana completes the ensemble by being the rhythmic bedrock. Mr. Crestana also produces the overall sound and for that he gets special mention for this near perfect recording.
This is another magnificent effort on behalf of the Brazilian-born, Portugal-based chanteuse. It certainly bodes well for the future and if the production values of this recording is any indication, then Ms. Miki is certainly headed in to the stellar realms of musicianship.

Tracks: Tupi Na Rede; O Ar Pelo Avesso; Mulata De Arroz; Boca; Alegriá; Carecando; Prelúdio/Mãe Negra; Kutsu Ga Naru.

Personnel: Adriana Miki: vocal; Paulo Barros: piano; Desidério Lázaro: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet; Sérgio Crestana: bass; Joel Silva: drums; João Moreira: flugelhorn.

Adriana Miki on the Web: www.adrianamiki.com

Label: GDA Music | Release date: November 2012

Reviewed by: Raul da Gama