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Elis Regina: Vento de Maio

The production qualities and fusion-esque touches inevitably sound dated, but there’s no getting around the subtle timeless power of the late Brazilian singer Elis Regina, as heard on the reissued album Vento de Maio (May Wind) (Hemisphere 235503; 48:08). The album, her only one recorded under contract to EMI, combines existing material and three unreleased tracks, and shows her impressive range and supremely musical way with a song-resisting the temptation to showboat, a songwriter’s dream. When she died, of chemical abuses, in 1982, Regina immediately entered into the ranks of a prematurely absent legend. Here, she handles a spectrum of songs, including Milton Nascimento’s “O Que Foi Feito Devera (De Vera) (What Was Really Done),” joined by Nascimento, and Gilberto Gil’s “Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus (If I Would Speak With God).” This music is emotionally charged, moment by moment, but never sentimental. That’s the mark of a vocalist in charge of her calling.

Originally Published