CeU

Just when you think that Brazil must surely have exhausted its supply of irresistibly jazzy, funky, sexy, soulful electro-pop singer-songwriters, someone like CéU comes along and makes you think that maybe that particular well is bottomless after all.

Her full name is Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças, but she goes by the simpler moniker CéU. It's a name that can be translated into English in a couple of subtly but significantly different ways. CéU means either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on context, and either translation applies quite nicely in this case: think of her as “Sky” when you hear the soft blue clarity of her voice, or “Heaven” when one of her sweetly bubbling melodic hooks takes you by surprise and makes you shiver with delight. CéU's U.S. debut comes hot on the heels of a Latin Grammy nomination for “best new artist” of 2006. She is also riding high on a wave of international success in France, where the influential Les Inrockuptibles recognized her as one of the top 5 musical revelations of 2005, Holland, and Italy, as well as in Canada, where she was recently the fourth highest-selling artist for the Archambault chain of music shops while simultaneously holding the number 32 slot on the pop charts. Originally issued in 2005 on the São Paulo-based Urban Jungle label Jungle and Beto Villares’ Ambulante Discos, CéU was picked up by Six Degrees when members of the staff heard the album and found themselves entranced by the warm, fresh sound of her voice.

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