Brazilian Vocalist Rosa Passos Plays Music of the Heart
In the three decades since her 1979 debut recording in her native Brazil, vocalist Rosa Passos has come to be known as “a female João Gilberto.” This well kept South American secret suddenly became a worldwide sensation via a stunning “Jazz at the Bowl” performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in 1996.
Rosa, her 2006 Telarc debut, was a stripped-down yet powerful vocal and guitar recording that captured not only the most basic essence of the artist, but the most basic essence of Brazilian music in general. Global Rhythm proclaimed that “Rosa, even at its most subdued, commands attention,” while the Village Voice called the recording “brilliant.” The New York Times heralded Passos as “one of the most gifted bossa nova singers and guitarists to have come along in the style’s 50-year life.”
The story of this gifted artist continues with the May 20, 2008, release of Romance, Passos’ new recording on Telarc. As the title suggests, Romance addresses the timeless topic of love, a universal force that knows no borders or language barriers. Backed by a talented and versatile trio, the Brazilian songstress embarks on a 12-song exploration of the most intimate and profound matters of the heart – and invites every listener to join her on the journey.
“For a long time, I wanted to record ballads,” Passos explains. “I feel very comfortable singing this style of music. I’ve seen the positive reaction of audiences as I sing ballads in my shows. So when Telarc invited me to do another project, I didn’t think twice about what I wanted to do.”
Backing Passos on Romance is a trio of fine Brazilian players – pianist Fabio Torres, bassist Paulo Paulelli and drummer Celso de Almeida. “These are all musicians who have been with me for a long time,” says Passos. “Each one knows the characteristics of my voice and my music. This is important because it brings affinity, musicality, talent and a lot of caring to the project. They work together to give an intimate aspect to the CD.”
Romance is Rosa Passos’ way of holding the human heart up to the light for close examination. While there’s no denying its numerous imperfections and vulnerabilities, it remains an enduring engine that sustains us in a perilous and paradoxical world.
“I want to transmit love, gentleness and tranquility to the listener,” says Passos. “I would like this CD to be enjoyed like good vintage wine – something that will be more and more appreciated over time.”