Kay Lyra: Just a Silly Game

Brazilian vocalist Kay Lyra boasts an impeccable pedigree. Her father is Carlos Lyra, who, alongside Antonio Carlos Jobim, is recognized as bossa nova’s co-father. Her mother is the American model, actress, writer and occasional singer Kate Lyra. Her husband is composer, arranger, guitarist and singer Maurício Maestro, whose career ignited a few years before Kay was born in 1971. Lyra is a household name in Rio, and fans worldwide recognize Carlos’ stellar work. But Kay, with two previous albums under her belt, remains largely unknown to Stateside listeners, a gap the Sunnyside label now hopes to fill.

Though Kay is credited as producer, Maestro maintained overarching control, serving as musical director and arranger, coordinating all the sessions, playing on 12 of 13 tracks and adding vocals on four. Kay’s voice is light and sweet, hovering between the fragility of Astrud Gilberto and the earthiness of Luciana Souza. Though she does nod to the past with two landmark compositions, her father’s “Maria Moita” and Jobim’s “Garota de Ipanema,” and includes a silken reading of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” the bulk of the release features her originals, in English and Portuguese. They extend from the bruised heartache of “The Night Will Fall” (in duet with Maestro) to the breezy pluck of “World Falling Down,” from the Burt Bacharach-esque lilt of “Chaplin Sem Cor” to the dreamy satisfaction of “Canto Di Paraiso.” Lovely stuff, loads of strings, beautifully executed.