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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

CELIA MARA

By Tom Pryor
Published September 22, 2005

Bastardista
Austro Mechana/Oba

If you thought that the most progressive “Nu Brazilian” music was still being hatched in the soundlabs of Sao Paulo, guess again, because one of the best new “Brazilian” records to come around this year is actually from Austria. That’s right, Austria, land of Mozart, Strauss and, um, Falco. But Brazilian transplant Celia Mara builds a bridge between her homeland’s lush tropical sounds and chilly Teutontic electronica. Singing mostly in Portuguese, her big voice rides MPB—samba bossa nova, forro—and even tango rhythms over jazzy and dubby electronic breakbeats (programmed and arranged by Geri Schuller and Michael Kreiner). The result is Bastardista, her fourth album chock full of sophisticated, mostly downtempo chillout tracks that Bebel Gilberto would kill for. Standout tracks include “Jade,” “Folha” and “Cacador de Almas.”