Elevate Difference


I’m not usually a headphones-in-the-outdoors type of girl, but I knew I had to take this one to the park. For real. This was an album requiring devoted listening. Musically complex, fresh and so fitting it’s title, this collection of songs required me to take a Momento to stop, appreciate and listen.

Maybe it’s the fact that I am sitting on a green-checkered blanket in the warm Oakland sunshine, gazing across the softness of sloping green grass at the lake on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe it’s the heat of the sun on my thirsty spring skin that has me flying. No matter which inspired which, Bebel Gilberto’s album has my soul dancing and swaying out across the water into limitless sky. I’m buoyed up by Bebel’s honey-toned voice, rhythms ranging from booty-shaking to a soft and steady heartbeat, achingly sweet acoustic guitar, funky electronic sounds and beautiful instrumentation. The cello on “Close to You,” melts me, the chorus of “Os Nuevos Yorkinos” demands that I get up to dance and sing along and her voice alongside the sax on her beautiful cover of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” turns my knees to rubber.

Reviewing an album of Bebel Gilberto’s is a serious endeavor: to try and meet her half-way; to honor her vision, artistry and herstory; to try and describe the expansiveness of her musical expressions and the way her voice flows easy as a ripple across water, and yet reaches straight into ones gut. Her latest album, Momento, is as well-travelled as she is - recorded in Rio de Janeiro, New York and London with friends, colleagues and producers from all over the world.

As a song-writer and musician, Gilberto comes from a family with an impressive musical genealogy, and has had music in her ears before she even had ears. She’s been singing and songwriting since she was a little girl, and it shows. Her album is a collage of sounds and genres from afro-brazilian rythms and percussion, samba and Brazilian pop, to dance, electronica, acoustic ballads and world music. She released her first album, Tanto Tempo in 2000 (nominated for two Latin Grammy awards) and a second self-titled album in 2004 (nominated for a World Music Grammy). As she releases her third album, the whole world is still eagerly listening.

Take a moment - or put on your headphones and make a moment - to appreciate exactly where you are, and where a visionary artist like Bebel can take you.

Written by: Jessmaya Morales, May 28th 2007