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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

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Rosa Passos
Romance
Telarc

By Ernest Barteldes

Published July 18, 2008

On her latest release, the “female João Gilberto” addresses the many faces of love, in all their uplifting (and gut-wrenching) glory. The jazzy arrangements here are carefully crafted to fit Passos’ breathy voice, which often falls to just above a whisper in deference to the rule book for bossa nova established by Gilberto, who has mentored her career from the start. On Gilberto Gil’s “Eu Preciso Aprender A Ser Só,” she sings about coming to terms with the end of a love affair with the resilience of a survivor, and she demonstrates courage by taking on Chico Buarque’s “Atras Da Porta,” which few singers have attempted since Elis Regina recorded her definitive rendition in the late ’70s. On this version, Passos avoids repeating Regina’s emotional delivery by singing from the point of view of someone who finally realizes she’s in a one-sided love affair and needs to fix the damage— a performance that simmers with quiet intensity.

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