Skip to content

Seductive Persona, Sensational Percussion

February 14, 2010

Take a well-known lyrical musical style, add a seductive singer, an inventive guitarist and a sensational percussionist, and you have the perfect recipe for a night of alluring, romantic melodies accessible enough to draw you in and exotic enough to keep you entranced.

Singer Luciana Souza, percussionist Cyro Baptista and guitarist Romero Lumbabo seasoned that mixture with their Brazilian samba and bossa nova roots before what looked like a capacity crowd at the Wisconsin Union Theater Friday. Although Souza , a São Paulo native now living in the U.S., sung more than half of the evening’s songs in her native Portuguese, the musical message was not lost on the appreciative audience.

Souza, the daughter of a musical family, received a Bachelor’s degree in jazz composition from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and a Master’s from the New England Conservatory of Music, couching her natural talents with a serious musical pedigree. The diminutive performer cooed and seduced her way through each number with a voice like honey that had been seasoned with a little smoke.

Souza is also a talented composer, drawing on the verse of poets like Pablo Neruda, Elizabeth Bishop and Octavio Paz to fuel her romantic lyricism. The title song of her latest album Tide, in fact, is composed around a poem of the same name by e.e. cummings. She performed the number at the piano, creating one of the evening’s most appealing highlights.

The second highlight came at the beginning of the second half when Baptista pulled virtually everything out of his musical toy box and created an extended piece entirely of drums, tambourines, bird calls, whistles and other percussive innovations too unusual to name and too numerous to list. Many were channeled through electronics, allowing him, at times, to harmonize with himself. Given his inventive performance during the first half, the departure was not entirely unexpected, but the depth and breadth of his capabilities appear to be unprecedented.

Lumbabo kept steady rhythm and melody lines through, occasionally rising to the fore with lyrical passages that added aural appeal to many of the numbers. The three-way scat among the musicians through one of the numbers hinted at the wit of the evening’s performance, as well as demonstrating the chemistry of the players.

The trio never rocked the house, in the traditional sense, instead choosing to romance its way into listeners’ hearts. As a musical prelude to St. Valentines Day, the tone they was perfect and the performance sublime.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: