“O Rio Para,” the opening track to this undeniably sublime recording, sets a dreamy mood: Fonseca’s creamy voice enters accompanied only by wind chimes and vibraphone, followed by rhythmic acoustic guitar and a male vocal chorus that surrounds the singer with spooky vibrations, as if the legendary Golden Boys had been sampled from the mist to grace the song with an air of mystery, loneliness and spectral wonder. An exceptional keeper of the bossa nova flame, Fonseca’s voice alone is cause to celebrate, but he furthers Rive Gaucho Rio with his own spirited songs as well as those of England’s Damien Rice, Paraguay’s Jorge Drexler (who also guests on this track) and France’s Henri Salvador. Fonseca is a universal storyteller, regardless of language, his saucy, supple vocal intonations tracing colorful patterns over the music’s bubbling instrumentation. When he joins Drexler for “Don De Fluir” it’s a rare alignment
of the stars.