I’d already committed myself to falling in love with two other records by savvy young Brazilian women this year: Virginia Rodrigues’s Mares Profundos and Cibelle’s self-titled record. But right when the former is doing a great neo-Veloso “all music is classical” and the latter a fine sexy-mystic-futurist Gilberto Gil, Daúde shows up channeling Jorge Ben: Fuck art, let’s technosamba!
Producer Will Mowat sculpts some really beautiful tracks on Neguinha Te Amo (two-step, axé, samba, electropop, Afrobeat, bossa-ballad), and Daúde’s voice is boyish and sexy—all shiny efficient fun. Like Rio homeslice Ben, she’s not opposed to slipping in a message; Carnival songs like “Ilê Ayê (Que Bloco É Esse?)” and “Naja” are always about race, and turning them into blippy club bangers might reach some kids in the favelas. But the biggest lesson is taught by Jorge Ben himself, who schools Daúde on how to lay back in the groove when they duet on his classic “Crioula.” She’s still worried about being perfect, hitting the notes dead-on, when he saunters in, bleary-eyed and fashionably late, and aces it like a Brazilian Dean Martin before busting up some Portuguese rap.