What began as an always intriguing set of multiplex vocal explorations in Mia Doi Todd's catalogue has recently become a matter of surrender to the sensual, and here very delicate, hedonisms of Braziliana as the singer takes her place among a vanguard of later generation chanteuses revivifying a strain which saw its fundament in the 50s among the West Coast Cool crowd. Along the way, many interpretations have arisen, and of course the Zoho label has come to be the absolute zenith in this regard, but Todd has chosen to tread backwards to folk sources and early days in order to better underscore the heart of the mode.
In that, then, everything is stripped down to, basically, just her voice and a guitar (Fabiano do Nascimento), though the bass is fairly pervasive and percussion enters in upon occasion. These atmospherics induce a sensuality missing in much of modern musics, albeit here restrained, perhaps seraphic, almost of faery dimensions by way of Edenic verdure and open skies. Nascimento's handling of his 7-string classically strung axe is elegantly energetic, understatedly propulsive, counterpoint to Todd's acquiline encanting, his the surfaces upon which she glides. When the percussives enter, as in Menina, Amanha de Manha, they serve as staccato interpolatives, punctuation, sidepocket incidentalisms sketching Nature's subtleties lest we miss them.
Floresta is a restatement of our grandfathers' and their grandfathers' musics, the wellsprings from which a slice of modernity was achieved. Revisiting such material refreshes our understanding of the way of things, the ground upon which we tread. Exceedingly easy on the ear, I find the CD to be as much a carefree softly flowing jaunt for adults as for children, the sort of music that beguiles young ears alongside parents'. I also can't help but perceive this collection of compositions by south of the border greats (Veloso, Jobim, etc.) as having been gently 'pirated' by Todd not only to soothe the public at large but also perhaps to encourage young women to relocate themselves in these troubled turbulent times.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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