Trending Topics

Brazilian Singer Luciana Souza Reflects the Duality of Her Influences on Albums: ‘Duos III’, ‘The Book of Chet’

Brazilian singer Luciana Souza has worked in many genres, from jazz and bossa nova to classical music and even, as a small child, commercial jingles. A graduate of Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music, Souza has been nominated for four Grammys and worked at a prolific pace. In fact, she’s just released two albums of covers, Duos III and The Book of Chet; the latter finds her covering the works of Chet Baker. Souza discussed her career, her vocal techniques and the language of music with All Things Considered host Melissa Block. Hear the radio version at the audio link and read more of their conversation below.

NPR: What do you hear as the links between bossa nova from Brazil and the West Coast cool jazz of Chet Baker?

I think there are very obvious connections. Both records are records of covers. I’m just singing songs that have already been recorded. They’re very simple; they’re very direct live recordings done with very few instruments. Those are the obvious things, and then for me, stylistically, I’m not changing anything when I’m singing in English and in Portuguese. I’m really looking for the common language between these two records as if they are Side A and Side B.

Obviously, Portuguese comes very naturally to me — I was born and raised in Brazil — so this is the music that’s my native music. English is sort of my adopted language, and America’s my adopted country. I’ve been here for over 25 years now, so more than half of my life at this point. So singing in English for me right now is almost as natural as Portuguese, but looking for repertoire that suits me is still challenging.

NPR: Do you think there’s something in the sound that links these two albums together — that you’re hearing something in both bossa nova and in songs that Chet Baker made famous that really are of a piece for you?

Yes, absolutely. There’s a deep connection between Chet Baker and bossa nova. It’s known and it’s well-documented that musicians in the bossa nova era, so mid- to late ’50s and early ’60s, were listening to Chet Baker, who had the height of his popularity in the mid-’50s as a singer and trumpet player.

So this music was coming to Brazil — these players were listening to that music, and with the advent of microphones, people were getting closer to the mic and able to sing more subtly…

Read more and listen: NPR

What people are saying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top