'Rive Gauche Rio' features nine new haunting Celso Fonseca compositions, two unusual covers, a reinterpretation of British singer-songwriter Damien Rice's 'Delicate' and a Portuguese version of French crooner Henri Salvador's 'J'ai vu', and a refreshing duet with Urugayan singer/guitarist and Academy Award Winning composer for the Motorcycle Diaries, Jorge Drexler on the latter's composition 'Don de Fluir'. Six Degrees. 2005.
While songwriter Celso Fonseca hasn't gotten the same kind of recognition as modern day bossa nova classicist Rosa Passos or electro-modernist Bebel Gilberto, he's truly a bossa nova talent worthy of much wider recognition. His last album, Natural
, was a potpourri of tasteful sounds anchored by his guitar playing as well as samba percussion. On Rive Gauche Rio
, Fonseca ups the ante with a sound that is more seamless and wholly unified. The heartbeat of the 12 songs here is still Brazilian and the acoustic guitar is ever present, but he gracefully broadens his palette with tasteful touches of flute, multi-tracked vocals, upright bass, electric piano and hand percussion. His voice is as warm and sensual as ever, and equally at home in his native Portuguese or English he does a lovely samba version of Damien Rice's "Delicate." Opener "O Rio Para Tras" is a stunning example of this album's panoramic elegance; it also emphatically announces the arrival of one of the best Brazilian albums of 2005. -Tad Hendrickson