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Celso Fonseca Natural Review


BBC Review

'The material pits classic bossas like Baden Powell's 'Consolação' and Jobim's...

Jon Lusk 2003

Although Celso Fonseca has played a significant part in producing much of what is good in contemporary Brazilian music,he is hardly a household name abroad. "Natural" is the first international release and should go some way towards remedying that situation.The production credits include the likes of Gilberto Gil, Virginia Rodrigues, Daude and Daniela Mercury andFonseca played on Bebel Gilberto's inspired "Tanto Tempo" album, which, though more club orientated, is cut from a similar cloth.

It's his fifth studio album, and the first for Belgian label Ziriguiboom, champions of the 'new bossa nova' which has found surprisingly few friends in Brazil.One of the tracks is recycled from Fonseca's previous album with songwriting partner Ronaldo Bastos, which had fuller arrangements with strings and brass. "Natural" is a far more pared-down affair and is all the better for it.Less is definitely more when it comes to bossa, and there's plenty of space for guests like pianist Daniel Jobim, grandson of the great Tom Jobim. Special mention should go to percussionists Robertino Silva and Ramiro Musotto, who enliven several tracks with samba rhythms. There's also a pleasantly retro vocal cameo by newcomer Cibelle, who has just released her own album on the same label.

The material pits classic boss as like Baden Powell's "Consolação" and Jobim's "She's a Carioca" against Fonseca's own accomplished compositions, veering between the gentlest of sambas and bossa nova - which, as he would say, is really just a kind of 'slow motion samba'.

Fonseca's own acoustic guitar playing is understated but sublime throughout and although three tracks with English, rather than Portuguese, lyrics feels a little like one too many, his crooning vocals do suit the material down to the ground in either language. Ideal late night listening.

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