World & Latin

Sensitive & Sultry


Two years before Brazilian singer/guitarist and composer Rosa Passos won a Grammy for her 2008 album, Romance, she released the wonderful Rosa. As the title implies, it was an introduction to North American audiences, although Passos was already a star in Europe and a household name in her homeland.

With a voice that's sensitive and sultry, and impeccable intonation, it's no wonder she has been called the Female João Gilberto. Full of restrained passion, her achingly sensitive vocal style is epitomized by the opening track, "Duas Contas," which she sings a capella. One of her biggest fans is Yo Yo Ma, who brought her to Tanglewood and collaborated with her on the double Grammy-winning Obrigato Brazil. He's quoted in the liner notes as believing she has "the most beautiful voice in the world."

Passos' voice defies the laws of nature. Rosa sings close into the microphone, creating an intimate space that feels like she is right there in your living room, every emotive quiver of her rich, whispery voice hanging over you like a warm summer rain. Her youthful sound coupled with a deep musical maturity is rare and truly astonishing to hear.

She's an expert guitarist as well, having switched from piano when she became enamored of the Bossa Nova composers like Gilberto, Vinícius de Moraes and A.C. Jobim. And as a composer, she holds her own in the company of these Bossa Nova giants and a third of the 15 tracks are her originals.