Songlines

From the first few notes of her sixth album Vasconcelos leaves us in no doubt that she is one of the most sophisticated Brazilian artists to have made the UK's shores her home. During her 15 years there she has carved out a highly rewarding niche with her jazz-orientated take on MPB (popular music of Brazil), her understanding of Brazilian music perhaps even sharpened by the geographic distance she has put between herself and her homeland. Her voice remains as charming as ever whilst displaying further nuances that come with maturity. The opening track, "Nega Deleite" is a fantastic example - a lovely 'sambossa' groove is overlaid by her playful vocals, and you just know she is having a great time singing this music.

Throughout the album she weaves an intricate lyrical tapestry - the title-track being a fine example - whilst her Anglo-Brazilian band drive her music forward with no danger of becoming over-sentimental. Later in the album she is joined by Robert Wyatt, a musician who utterly transformed the late 60s psychedelic scene, for two mixed-language collaborations, "Out of the Doldrums' and 'Still in the Dark'. Vasconcelos' latest album is her most self assured and accomplished to date.

By D J Cliffy - March 2008
The Times

Every week, a star gets to fly the flag for an obscure masterpiece. Come in, Robert Wyatt, on Nóis 4\'s Gente:

"It\'s from this century, and I know they\'re based in London. Nóis 4\'s singer is called Monica Vasconcelos and she\'s very good-looking, which I honestly didn\'t know when I bought it -the cover is a pair of peasant\'s feet. That\'s very Brazilian. They continued the hippy idealism in a left-leaning, innocent way that didn\'t happen anywhere else."

"If you don\'t like Astrud Gilberto, you won\'t like this. That was the pop music I listened to before I got into black American music. I was just hitting puberty when Girl from Ipanema came out so, well...blimey. But I prefer Nóis 4. It\'s more traditional, terrific percussion and a splendid string quartet. Also it doesn\'t have that Stan Getz heavy breathing, sleazy sax sound which reminds one of tourists going around a red-light district. Ingrid Laubrock plays the soprano sax very well. She just chooses the good notes, like Wayne Shorter, really fresh."

"I love music in other languages, especially Portuguese because it\'s an archaic, slightly awkward language."

Robert Wyatt - 9/9/2005 - The Times