Even in a hub of bustling queues, her music could bring an air of tranquility.
Robert Jackman 2007
There’s a massive hype surrounding CéU. A Brazilian newspaper O Estuado de Sao Paulo, referred to the twenty-something singer-songwriter as ‘a new star in the sky’. Jornal do Brasil was less poetic, simply rejoicing that she was ‘the future of Brazilian popular music’. Meanwhile, over in the US, Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, was just as overcome, describing her as ‘an incredibly electrifying performer with universal appeal’.
From a commercial point of view, it’s Lombard’s praise which will count for most. CéU’s album was recently chosen as the first ‘international’ album to benefit from Starbucks’ Hear Music scheme – an in-store promotional drive. And it isn’t hard to see why: Maria do Céu Whitaker Poça is the owner of a voice that’s little short of angelic. Even in a hub of bustling queues, hissing industrial-sized coffee dispensers and roaring industrial disputes, her music could bring an air of tranquility.
But CéU’s voice is not only beautiful, it’s also brilliantly flexible. Covering Bob Marley’s ‘Concrete Jungle’, she sounds as self-assured and poised as you’d expect from an independent musician from Sao Paulo. The latin-jazz pulse of ‘Samba Na Sola’ reveals CéU’s playful tones. While against the melodic dirge of ‘Malomalência’, she’s startlingly tender. Those curious as to what the future of Brazilian popular music might sound like should make sure they hear the album’s bonus track – a stirring trip-hop remix of ‘Malomalência’.