As if shepherding her brilliant vocals through a Brasilian soundscape were not enough, Catina DeLuna has turned the charms of her voice of longing into a diamantine faceted instrument. Here is a singer whose voice and intelligence has melded seamlessly with words, vocal line and whatever dramatic concept is at hand. That impression only intensifies – as her vocal colours grow richer – in Lado B Brazilian Project – programme of gorgeously chosen Brazilian music sung not just with her customary mastery of line and form but always with something significant to discover with each listening of one beautiful song after another.
As easily as it might be to fall into lazy listening with the better-known songs such as Garota De Ipanema and Fotografia, Ms. DeLuna’s vivid performances make you examine music and lyrics anew just to appreciate her sudden burst of vocal colour (Lamentos goes into Elis Regina-zone) or her onomatopoeic effects in Quase Frevo gives the characters within the songs a near-physical presence (listen to Quase Frevo as a particularly breathtaking example). Consequently there is no such thing as a less exalted moment on this album. Here is a slice of life about a woman enjoying her ‘specialness’ in song after a fashion. And even among vivacious Brazilian women singers Catina DeLuna is quite extraordinary.
To boot, Catina DeLuna is an accomplished pianist and can punctuate her music with percussive effects (on O Canto Da Ema) for she has not only perfect pitch, but can keep perfect time as well. This too is a Brasilian gift that comes from a natural affinity for samba, maracatú and frevo, choro and much more that is uniquely characterised by ritmo especifico and a singular manner in which Brasilian music explores the finer points of harmonic characterisation awash with oceanic grandeur. But at least much of the credit for the re-imagination of the musical writing must go to her pianist and husband Otmaro Ruiz.
It is quite possible that the intimacy shared between the couple acts as a musical stimulant. However Mr. Ruiz’s talent is much more than adoration. His fundamental gift for lyrical line is evident from the manner in which he makes it gently cure in the air, gambol in ellipses and dart suddenly into surprising and magical directions. Moreover his musical gifts stretch across the topography catalysed by a genuine pianistic talent second to none. His impulse to adorn melody is breathtaking and he can create visions of the whole landscape of the song in but a line that he seems to pull out of thin air. This is a priceless asset to the music on this disc and when Catina DeLuna steps into the frame it becomes a winning formula.
Track List: Lavadeira do Rio and Maracatu; Garota De Ipanema; Cavalo Marinho (Baião Barroco); Contrato de Seperação; Chovendo Na Roseira; Estrela Azul; O Canto Da Ema; Encontros e Despedidas; Lamentos; Quase Frevo; Fotografia.
Personnel: Catina DeLuna: vocal, piano (1 & 11) and body percussion (7); Otmaro Ruiz: piano, accordion and arrangements; Larry Koonse: guitars; Edwin Livingston: bass; Aaron Serfaty: drums; Alex Acuña: percussion; Bob Sheppard: flute; Nick Mancini: marimba; Mike Shapiro: percussion; Clarice Cast: percussion; Greg Beyer: percussion.
About Catina DeLuna
Brazilian pianist, vocalist, composer and voice actress Catina DeLuna has enjoyed a successful and varied musical career since beginning to play the piano and sing at a young age. After completing a B.A. in Brazilian Popular Music at the prestigious UNICAMP University in São Paulo, she founded two award winning groups: the vocal group Arirê, in which she was responsible for arranging, playing piano, and singing, and the group Serenata Brasileira, playing classic Brazilian songs from the 1920’s and 30’s, in full authentic costume and style. Read more…