Bossa Nova Baby Bebel Gilberto Takes Up Her Family's Musical Mantle

Chanteuse Bebel Gilberto couldn't have been anything but what she is -- a world-class performer, singer, and songwriter. Anything less would have been unfathomable, considering her heritage.

Gilberto, of course, was born into Brazilian music royalty. Her mother, known by the stage name Miucha, has enjoyed a long career as a singer/songwriter. Her uncle, Chico Buarque, is also a singer and a composer as well as a poet and playwright. And her father, Grammy-winning Joao Gilberto, is a singer/songwriter and guitarist credited with pretty much inventing bossa nova.

Which isn't to say Bebel was simply accepted into the genre as legacy. Even as a young girl, she earned her place, first appearing on her mother's eponymous solo debut at age 7. She would also share the stage, early on, with Miucha as well as with jazz heavyweight Stan Getz, a longtime lover of Brazilian music and a collaborator with her father.

Then again, labeling Bebel's music just bossa nova would be oversimplifying. The New York-born songstress blends those undeniable influences and unique vocal stylings with more-modern pop — from Brazil, yes, but also from Europe and America. Her music also carries distinct tendencies toward electronic music and even nü-jazz. Her résumé reflects this eclecticism; among her latter-day collaborators, she counts David Byrne and Thievery Corporation.

But frankly, the strongest case for Bebel's place in music royalty is presented in her recently released album, All in One, on which European and American sounds mingle harmoniously with tones from her native country. Classical and traditional influences nurture modern sensibilities, yielding a uniquely Brazilian take on pop music. It's a sensual collection of songs that the lovely Gilberto attributes to being in love. Give it a listen. You'll be in the mood for love too.

 
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