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If that mythical "tall and tan and young and lovely" girl from Ipanema fronted an indie pop band, it would sound something -- or maybe exactly -- like New York City's Mosquitos. Lead singer Juju Stulbach actually is from Brazil and spent time on the beaches of Ipanema, but the rest of the Mosquitos -- keyboardist Jon Marshall Smith and singer/guitarist Chris Root -- are from the lower east side of Manhattan. Root claims he was an early adopter of the relaxed Brazilian way, coming to love it before he was even born. With Root still in the womb, his mother put the belly to the speakers and played numerous Sergio Mendes records for the gestating muso. Jump ahead to 2002 and Root as an adult working on scoring a film. It was there he first saw Stulbach, who was playing a singer in the film, and both their hearts were aflutter. Stulbach headed back to Brazil after her visa expired and Root followed. Demos were recorded, but Root was caught with a controlled substance and fled the country. Back home he ran into Jon Marshall Smith, whose keyboard work finished the demos. Their warm and charming self-titled debut appeared on the Bar/None label in 2003 and received positive reviews and word-of-mouth promotion. NPR fell in love with the band, and the album's key track, "Boombox," was used in a television ad for Bailey's Irish Crème. Root declared the record a love letter to Stulbach that grew into an album that grew into a band. A year later, Sunshine Barato appeared with each member contributing more and the Mosquitos acting as a bona fide band. After extensive touring and then a break, the band returned in 2006 with Mosquitos III. ~ David Jeffries

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