Popular Promotions presents:
+ La Shark + Kyla la Grange + Bridgette Amofah
Thursday 20 May 2010 @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
"Cibelle is not only unafraid to mess with preconceptions, she's also a budding star" NME
Cibelle Cavalli is a big star in her home country of Brazil, playing prestigious venues and globetrotting from Russia to Singapore, LA to New York (where Cibelle was invited by David Byrne to play at Carnegie Hall), all across Europe including London’s Barbican and the TATE Modern, the Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, Japan... And yet in the UK where she currently resides in Dalston, London and shares a studio with several other artists, she's virtually unknown to mainstream audiences and more likely to be found belting out Madonna classics at her local karaoke bar than selling out the O2. But with the release of Cibelle's third album Las Venus Resort Palace Hotel, all that is about to change. The new album sees Cibelle moving beyond the world music tag pinned to her early works, a process already begun with previous album The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves (2007) as well as the following year’s ‘White Hair’ EP which featured remixes from No Kids and Kwes among others. Leaping across musical boundaries without forgetting her Tropicalia roots and working with a selection of artists from Sam Genders of Tunng and Bjork's music director Damian Taylor, Cibelle has injected new life into her first musical love. The result is an ambitious, gorgeous record bursting with life, love, drama and every colour in the rainbow.
In Las Venus, Cibelle takes on the role of an exotic club singer named Sonja Khalecallon, leader of the house band at the last bar on earth. With tongue firmly in cheek, Cibelle has created a new world for which Las Venus is the soundtrack. Like a kid let loose in a dressing up box, Cibelle affectionately pokes fun at, while paying tribute to the Exotica genre with their kitsch themes and over-the-top personalities, like fellow Brazilian Gal Costa and Inca singer Yma Sumac.
“I’ve been an Exotica DJ for six years, that’s what I listen to. I took on Khalecallon because I love pulling my own leg. I think we should have more fun and laugh at ourselves more!”.
With further influences from Cambodian garage rock and Italian 60s rock n roll thrown in the mix, Cibelle takes us on an exhilarating musical journey that switches from the high drama of a James Bond-style theme tune in the vein of Shirley Bassey ('Braid My Hair'), to heartbreaking piano ballads ('Sad Piano').
Kicking off with a sumptuous rendition of 'Underneath the Mango Tree', which actually is a James Bond theme from Dr. No, we realise that Cibelle's idea of a party isn't your typical 'rave to the grave', but a valium-fuelled serenade, leading us merrily to our inglorious fate. Written with Damian Taylor, upcoming single 'Man From Mars' is an interstellar love story propelling us further into space with its glitchy electronics and squelchy bass wobble. Cibelle wonderfully describes this fantastical track as “a story about a Martian guy observing me from another dimension. He’s very charming and brings me some nice goods, but I only agree to go with him if he can prove to me that he can dance”.
From there we’re launched into the explosion of sounds that is ‘Lightworks’, a cover of a Raymond Scott track, as suggested by Chilly Gonzales. Taking the sparse, 50s sci-fi electronic original and transforming it into a vibrant and shimmering kaleidoscope of thundering drums and wah-wah guitar, the sonic frenzy is matched only by this exuberant video showing clips of Cibelle performing it live, interspersed with peacocks and rainforests: http://vimeo.com/9205696.
One of the many album highlights is the murder ballad duet ‘The Gun and the Knife’, written and performed with Tunng’s Sam Genders. Evoking classic Lee Hazlewood – think ‘Requiem for An Almost Lady’ with a smidgeon of playfulness from his duets with Nancy Sinatra. The stark acoustics and occasional electric twang envelope the power struggle at the top of a canyon between two lovers, their fate inextricably bound to one another. The synergy of the vocal performances is astonishing.
From the glittering tropical disco of ‘Frankenstein’, to the twisted cabaret of ‘Mr And Mrs Grey’ and flamboyant numbers of ‘Escute Bem’ and ‘Sapato Azul’, Cibelle takes us on a magical and unique journey. Littered with cosmic sound effects and wild rainforest animal cries, we’re drawn further and further into her mysterious world. Like her delightful characters, she is a star sent back from the future to entertain us.
So sit back, enjoy the show. But please, don’t feed the monkeys.
Praise for The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves:
“A seductively inventive record” Uncut
“There are many moments of spellbinding intimacy to be found here” The Guardian
“It’s wonderfully refreshing to find intelligence and unconventionality worn so lightly and sunnily” Daily Telegraph
“She’s a canny pop amalgamator, experimenting with soundscapes but never forgetting about tunes… even when her music is most borderless and surreal. She never sounds disorientated” New York Times
“Cibelle has crafted a sophisticated trilingual pop record, spinning twitchy electronics and Brazilian traditions into a glittering tableau.” Pitchfork
“Cibelle’s found the recipe for delicate and tasty music which blends songwriting and cutting edge wizardry… a rich palette of colours and heady perfumes” Les Inrockuptibles