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Ceu: From Brazil with Love

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Singer Ceu ranks among the most innovative Brazilian artists to emerge in America in years, blending samba, jazz, soul, R&B and electro-pop into a uniquely appealing whole.

Born Maria do Ceu Whitaker Pocas, the singer decided to pursue a musical education in lieu of college. Adopting the moniker Ceu — Portuguese for "sky" — she temporarily relocated to New York City and began performing as a singer. While in New York, she encountered many new influences (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday) to add to her array of classic Brazilian music. After meeting fellow Brazilian Antonio Pinto (most known for composing the score for City of God), the pair recorded her self-titled debut. The disc's charming and beautiful songs were enough to create a stir both in Brazil and in Europe and Canada, eventually earning her a Latin Grammy nomination in 2006.

Reissued in the U.S. as part of a Starbucks music series, Ceu sounds as rich and complex as the diverse array of influences that produced it. With the help of some of Brazil's most exciting young musicians, the songs range from soulful dub-funk to jazzy, horn-led numbers to sweetly tuneful reggae.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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