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April 2007

Gal Costa
Our Moments
DRG Records

If your appreciation for Brazilian music begins, as it does for most, with Stan Getz’s seminal Getz/Gilberto, prepare yourself for a delightful history lesson, courtesy of Brazil’s foremost female vocalist. Arriving hot on the heels of last year’s sensational Live at the Blue Note, Gal Costa’s equally sunny and inviting Our Moments serves to celebrate Brazilian music—mostly sambas and samba-canções—from the period between the late 1920s and early 1960s, before the world caught bossa nova fever.

Apart from Ary Barroso’s gorgeously fluid “Pra Machucar Meu Coração” from the mid-’40s (included on Getz and Gilberto’s 1964 masterpiece), few of the 19 songs (spanning 15 tracks) are likely to be familiar. Which puts listeners in the enviable position of not only hearing such gems as Henrique Vogeler’s shimmering “Linda Flor,” Humberto Teixeira’s urgent, overheated “Dono Dos Teus Olhos,” the joyously romantic “Alguém Como Tu” and the tender, humble hymn “Ave-Marie No Morro” (made famous by the legendary Dalva de Oliveira) for the very first time, but hearing them performed by the artist who can do them greatest justice.

That Costa, who celebrated her 61st birthday last September, still sounds as young and vibrant as she did when she caused a sensation with her eponymous solo debut in 1969, is simply an exquisite bonus.

Originally published in April 2007
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