São Paulo’s Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças (a.k.a. Céu) may have snuck into North American consciousness thanks to a sound worthy of Starbucks, who brought her self-titled debut up in 2005, but her third album, Caravana Sereia Bloom, shows no signs of latte laden pandering. While her debut and 2009 album Vagarosa struck a chord with the global appropriation Thievery Corporation/Gotan Project crowd, care of their slick production and hybrid style, her new album is far more complex.
Under the studio direction of producer Gui Amabis and spiritual guide of a cross country road trip, Caravana Sereia Bloom shows signs of a return to more rootsy versions of classic MPB and experimental tropicália, containing a melting pot of South American styles and sounds, from ska and reggae to samba and bossa. It’s like she stopped making the music people wanted her to, and made something she needed to make. The opening “Falta de Ar” is a slice of classic tropicália. “You Won’t Regret It” is a catchy, rolling ‘60s reggae ode to appreciating life, and the closing “Chegar Em Mim” is a reverberant downtempo indie synth-pop ditty. The production is more organic, vibrant and seemingly effortless, but still smooth and professional. This is the sound of an artist becoming fully realized, and channeling her talents into an expression of pure joy.