Badi Assad, |
(Universal Classics, 2004)
Although Verde is Badi Assad's ninth album (out of 11 to date), this was my first introduction to this Brazilian singer/songwriter/guitarist. Much of the music has a bossa nova feel to it. (If you are not familiar with bossa nova, it is somewhat like samba.)
I'm not sure what grabbed me first: Badi's vocals or her guitar playing. Her vocal range is very pleasant and relaxing. I will warn you that she sometimes makes noises that on first listen sound weird, but they really do fit with the CD. Her guitar playing is superb. I might have to see if any of her other albums are instrumental.
I will admit that the first song, "In My Little White Top," had me skeptical about the CD as a whole. Like Shakira, Badi's English is highly accented and I sometimes think the English translation does not quite work. About mid-song, she switches languages and the song improves. It did not take long for the rest of the CD to win me over and I now enjoy this track as well.
There are at least two covers on Verde worth mentioning. There cannot be many people who have not heard the U2 song "One." Granted, this is such a good song it would be hard to mess it up. Badi's bossa nova version makes it her own, recognizable yet unique. A second cover that rivals the original is Bjork's "Bachelorette." Badi's version filters out the angst and aggression from Bjork's rendition; I am hard pressed to tell you which one is better. I guess it would depend upon the listener's mood at the time.
I enjoy how Badi displays her talent on tracks like the closing piece, "Asa Branca." The melody she hums is simple. The guitar playing, subtle. She adds in some vocal percussion as she does on several tracks. The music Badi performs is rather tranquil, but at the same time has an energy behind it. There is not a bad track out of the 14 Badi offers on Verde.
The musicians that back Badi up on Verde include Edmilson Cappelupi (7-string guitar), Webster Santos (mandolin, acoustic guitars, 12-string guitar), Teco Cardoso (flute), Guello (percussion), Rodolfo Stroeter (electric bass), Guilherme Kastrup (percussion), Nana Vasconcelos (percussion), Carolina Assad (vocals), Carlinhos Antunes (Venezuelan cuatro), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Dimos Guadaroulis (cello) and Luca Raele (clarinets). If that isn't enough, Badi played guitar, vocal percussion, prepared guitar, nylon-stringed and steel-stringed guitars.
If you like world music, Brazilian music in particular, Verde is worth listening to.
by Wil Owen