Aug 15 2003

Cibelle: Cibelle

A Promising New Star


CibelleSince the late Suba made his mark in Brazilian music with his anthological 2000 album São Paulo Confessions, electronic and experimental music found its niche in Brazil. Suba’s untimely death in 1999 left a void, but his legacy went on with Bebel Gilberto, Suba Tributo and now Cibelle’s debut album.

With influences as diverse as Nina Simone, Tom Jobim, Jackson do Pandeiro and Bjork, Cibelle is a promising new star. Her album is very eclectic, and that can come as an advantage or not. Some listeners will likely enjoy the diverse repertoire and styles, while others might feel that Cibelle is searching for her own space in Brazilian music. Out of the 11 tracks in the album, Cibelle wrote nine of them, often comfortably singing in Portuguese and English. Her voice is sometimes uncannily similar to Bebel Gilberto’s, as in the Jobim-influenced “Luísas,” or Adriana Calcanhotto’s, as in the nice “Só Sei Viver no Samba.” Nevertheless, those similarities do not prevent you from enjoying the bossa balance of “Luísa,” with Trio Mocotó’s João Parahyba on timba and lyrics drawing from the beauties of Rio de Janeiro and Jobim’s song titles (e.g., “Dindi” and “Lígia”). Parahyba comes back again in two other tracks. Cibelle’s admiration for Jobim is again featured in her duet with bossa nova icon Johnny Alf, who also plays Rhodes on “Inútil Paisagem.” The post-bossa nova, soft arrangement is innovative, particularly with Robinho’s bass accompaniment and an array of electronic effects in the background. The arrangement captures the feeling of Rio’s nightclubs and ocean waves beautifully.

Cibelle & Johnny Alf

Cibelle’s voice and performance are excellent here. The album closes with the bluesy “Pequenos Olhos” with its touching lyrics. The track clocks at over nine minutes in length. However, after five minutes, there is absolute silence for almost three minutes. Then you hear this playful piano playing fading in and a Billie Holiday-esque voice singing. It’s cute, though a bit odd and dissonant from the whole album.


Ziriguiboom/Six Degree 657036 1091-2 (2003)
Time: 60’15”


  1. Deixa (Cibelle)
  2. Só Sei Viver no Samba (Ari Moraes)
  3. Hate (Cibelle – R. Harrison)
  4. Luísas (Cibelle)
  5. Waiting (Cibelle – Apollo 9)
  6. No Prego (Cibelle – Xis)
  7. I’ll Be (Cibelle)
  8. Train (Cibelle – David Walters)
  9. Inútil Paisagem (Antônio Carlos Jobim – Aloysio de Oliveira)
  10. Um Só Segundo (Cibelle – Apollo 9)
  11. Pequenos Olhos (Cibelle)