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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

MARIA RITA

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 27, 2006

Segundo
Warner Music Latina

On her sophomore album, Maria Rita frequently finds the perfect backing by using only string bass, piano and drums. On a cover of O Rappa’s anti-conformist “Minha Alma,” she gives a funk-like feel, despite acoustic instrumentation, to what was originally an electric, hip-hop-inflected tune. Her version of Paulino Moska’s “Muito Pouco” begins at a smoky, boozy tempo and suddenly picks up, showcasing Tiago Costa’s amazing piano chops in the process, while Rita gradually lets her voice swell and dominate the arrangement as the song progresses. Listeners will be amused by “Feliz,” an uptempo jazz tune that allows both singer and band to take themselves less seriously. On “Conta Outra,” she seamlessly inserts funk elements into a straight samba recorded before a live audience in Brazil. Rita applies her honest, sincere delivery to Jorge Drexler’s “Mal Intento,” effortlessly making the song her own. Throughout this album, Rita successfully blends the simple feeling of the music of her native Brazil with the jazz influences she inherited from her father, keyboardist Cesar Camargo Mariano.