Grammy-winning producer Alê Siqueira brings a little Ipanema to the girl from Cuba.
Plenty of Brazilian artists have a Spanish language number or two tucked away in their catalogue -- it’s rarer to find a Hispanic singer tackling Brazil. On her third album for the Bristol-based Tumi label, Cuban troubadour Yusa finds a tentative middle ground, flossed with the kind of determinedly tasteful production talent Alê Siqueira has previously lavished on the likes of Bebel Gilberto. It’s not a sound Yusa’s healthy Afro and bass-playing background might suggest, nor one which betrays much of the old-school heat many Western listeners -- for better or worse -- have come to associate with Havana, bur rather more a kind of Latina-contemporary spin on Tasmin "Sleeping Satellite" Archer. Not necessarily a bad thing, especially when Siqueira turns up a genuinely atmospheric, Fender-blinking arrangement like "Mínimum", or an Os Tribalistas-esque strumalong like "Sirvió de Algo?". Still, you’re left with the feeling that the percussive shakedowns of "Conga Pasajera" and "Gente Simple" -- (relatively) tame as they are -- light Yusa’s fire in a way a string part never will.