by Erin Thursby
artist: monica da silva
release date: december 2010
Out at Matthew’s Lounge on a Thursday night, I got to hear Monica da Silva sing. To my delight, she was singing original music I enjoyed. Once I got the news that she had recently released an album, I was eager to get my hands on it. I haven’t been disappointed.
Da Silva’s Bossa Nova beat is wrapped in Indie Pop. Like the Bossa Nova, da Silva’s roots are Brazilian. Bossa Nova itself is a mix of musical genres, jazz and samba, with its own laid-back spin on things. True to the style, most of the songs on Brasilissima don’t hit the beats quite as hard as Samba, and it’s more akin to a cool jazz sway rather than a hot jazz swing. I could also hear subtle hints of the blues peeking through her indie-pop-folk trappings on some tracks. The mix feels right.
A few songs break the general mold of her overall style, such as the funny little track ‘Minha Gatinha,’ which is more like a mix of lighthearted bubblegum pop and Samba than the folk pop and Bossa Nova she and her crew spin for most of the album. ‘Push Me Away’ has a pop-hook that’ll reel you in, and a rhythm that will keep you there.
While I wasn’t initially sold on the first track, ‘Maria Waits,’ (I found the signature riff a little commonplace) the song remains a favorite on the strength of her sultry voice, and the fact that I keep humming it.
When she brings Portuguese in for other tracks, it’s a gratifying listen, even if you don’t speak the language. ‘Pela Medrugada’ and ‘Canta Coracao’ use plenty of Latin music conventions, but they’re well-placed. There’s enough old and new mixed in to make her music the design equivalent of a vintage chair with great lines, updated by new fabric in this season’s colors.
If you want to see her live, she frequently plays the local scene (Matthew’s on Thursday nights). Check out her website at www.monicadasilva.com for a full schedule and CDs. –