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Las Vênus Resort Palace Hotel

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Album Review

Brazil- and London-based multi-instrumentist Cibelle continues to surprise on Las Venus Resort Palace Hotel. Her refusal to be pigeonholed in the sultry Brazilian vocalist role was already evident in the transition between her first two albums. However, since she probably has to confront the realization that it is apparently impossible for a Third World tropical female singer to defeat stereotypes every day, for her third album, Cibelle decided to welcome all of them in a mocking yet tender embrace. Thus, she reinvents herself in this loose concept album as Sonja Khalecallon, exotica chanteuse extraordinaire. Backed by her band los Stroboscopious Luminous, she is the star of the last cabaret on apocalypse-ravaged Earth, the Las Venus Resort Palace Hotel. Cibelle positively rejoices in her role as a Carmen Miranda from outer space, which allows her to let her creativity roam free among her revamped exotica universe which seamlessly accommodates electronica, psychedelia, waltz, '60s science fiction film soundtracks, processed vocals, animal noises, trip-hop, Caribbean rhythms, or campy show tunes. There are only two songs in Portuguese this time, further proof that Cibelle is bent on escaping the Brazilian world music ghetto. She includes wonderful pop originals such as "Frankenstein," and a few covers perfectly assimilated into the concept of the album, such as the to-die-for loveliness of the calypso "Underneath the Mango Tree," and an unpredictably touching rendition of Kermit the Frog's "It's Not Easy Being Green," which has to be heard to be believed. The key to the album's success, however, is that it never becomes a purely cerebral experiment in postmodern irony, thanks largely to the genuine warmth that exudes from Cibelle's beautiful voice, whose innocence often belies the dark overtones of some of the lyrics. With Las Venus Resort Palace Hotel, Cibelle is graduating as one of the most ambitious and intelligent students of the Tropicália movement, bringing its lessons — as opposed to merely its form, as many Mutantes international fans have done in recent years — triumphantly into the 21st century. Luminaries such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Rita Lee, or Jorge Ben Jor would be proud.


Born: 02 January 1978 in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Brazilian singer Cibelle was just a five-year-old child in São Paulo when she told her mother she wanted to start taking guitar lessons. Her mother agreed, and Cibelle moved around from instrument to instrument, trying her hand at the piano, percussion, and voice. As a teenager she was more interested in acting, appearing in commercials and promotional spots on MTV Brazil, but eventually realized that singing was her true passion and started performing at jam sessions around the city. It was at one...
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Las Vênus Resort Palace Hotel, Cibelle
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