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CéU at Temple Bar on Saturday + CD Review

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Show Date: Saturday 4/14/2007
Venue: Temple Bar, Santa Monica
$15 @ 10:00 p.m.

Artist: CéU
Album: CéU
Label: Six Degrees Records

On April 14, CéU (pronounced “say-ew”), the talented young Brazilian singer/songwriter, debuts in Santa Monica at the Temple Bar to celebrate the release of her self-titled debut album, co-released by Six Degrees Records and Starbucks Entertainment.

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If you like or are interested in exploring contemporary Brazilian music this is a show that’s not to be missed. CéU and her five-piece band will bring her electronica-tinged samba, reggae, and jazz to life.

Great, you think, another beautiful female Brazilian vocalist – but CéU’s talents go beyond pretty Portugese croonings. She’s a talented multi-instrumentalist that has presented us with an updated and original take on Latin sounds that even the most insulated suburban American is familiar with through the osmosis of pop culture.

Her self-titled offering has fifteen tracks that range from subtly turntable scratched tunes like Roda, which is excellent, to a splendid almost-traditional and multi-rhythm samba, Samba Na Sola. She even does a remarkable cover of Bob Marley’s Concrete Jungle; she keeps it reggae but it’s subdued and very organic sounding. Most of the songs have some kind of dub and/or electronica seasoning but the influence is tasteful, and never enough to overwhelm any other element in the song.

What you notice most about CéU is her voice. It’s a young voice but huskier, sexier, and somehow more substantial, or at least more unique than the voices of other her more established predecessors: Bebel Gilberto, Marisa Monte, etc.

Thankfully Saturday will get up into the 70s, a hint of warmth that will make us look forward to the heavy heat of summer which is exactly what this album reminds me of. It’s sultry and humid, makes me think of tropical drinks, Brazilian beaches and their denizens. For a quick summer vacation head to Santa Monica Saturday night and to prolong that feeling, pick up this CD.