The Shine of a Bright Electric Soul.
A Paulistana delights international audiences with her powerful mix of musical instruments and every day sounds.
By Roberta Wiseman
Brazilian rising star Cibelle is making a splash over the pond with her distinctive musical style. With all the experimentalism of Björk, but with an extra touch of bossa, the thirty year old Paulistana who has lived in London since 2003, powers her own poems with beautiful “pop” and “electronica” soundscapes created from a range of instruments.
When harps, guitars and her own silky voice aren’t enough, she’s not afraid to bring in more eclectic sound makers such as spoons, coffee cups, sugar cubes, lighters and car keys. At one recent London gig she even invited the audience to join in by rattling their jewelry and small change. All to create an amazing collage of twinkling ethereal sound.
The young pop star’s sense for music was first piqued at the age of five when by chance she heard beautiful sounds emanating from a conservatory while on her way to school with her mother. It wasn’t long before she was enrolled and studying the guitar. Her restless taste for the new inspired her to learn piano, percussion and voice before realizing that the rigid routine of the conservatory was not appropriate for her.
As a teenager she took up volleyball and acting but found herself constantly returning to music. The young woman began performing in jam sessions in São Paulo’s burgeoning music scene. It was at one of these sessions that she met the Serbian expat DJ Suba who recognized her talent at once and the two worked together on Suba’s much-lauded album “São Paulo Confessions”, released in 2000.
Suba died tragically in a fire before he could produce Cibelle’s own album, however, and having lost her friend and mentor, it was some time before she could carry on. But luckily for us she eventually did, appearing in Celso Fonseca’s 2003 album, “Natural” and then releasing her self-titled work on the Six Degrees/Ziriguiboom label the same year. She followed this with an EP, “About a Girl”, and a second album “The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves” in 2006.
Cibelle enjoys the collaborative process in music, sharing a house in the Dalston area of London’s east end with a group of visual artists and musicians who are often found performing with her on stage. Her most recent record has separate duets with Seu Jorge, Spleen and Devendra Banhart. The latter’s voice sounding remarkably like Caetano Veloso on a cover of his “London, London”.
Cibelle is inspired by travel, variety and the new. She is apparently never without her moleskine notebook with which she records observations of every day life and snippets of overheard conversation from the cafés and greasy spoons of London.
Imbued with a sense of carefree humour, the video for “London, London” has Devendra Banhart and Cibelle dancing around the well-known Ridley Road market not far from Cibelle’s home, wearing Victorian dress. The album also includes a beautiful cover of Tom Waits’ “Green Grass” as well as some self-penned songs in English and Portuguese.
What’s next for Cibelle? The future’s open.
Her CDs “Cibelle”, “About a Girl” and “The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves” are in all good Canadian music stores now, and you can find out more about her on her MySpace page.