When Brazilian singer Luisa Maita and her band showed up for their Tiny Desk Concert, I was a little concerned that, with only three accompanists, she wouldn't be able to re-create the deep grooves of her recent album, Lero Lero. I was wrong.
Initially, the musicians were curious (read: skeptical) about the set-up behind Bob Boilen's desk. But once they figured it out, they created a subtle yet consistent Brazilian pulse while Luisa cooed, whispered and otherwise re-created the wonderful pastiche of vocal influences that make up her one-of-a-kind sound.
Maita and her two sisters were named for songs written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, which can be quite a burden to live up to. But it's all there: the crisp staccato guitar licks, layered percussion, vocals as soft as a late-afternoon ocean breeze. Yet, without the electronic touches of her studio recordings, Maita's music becomes more direct and engaging. She glides, floats and sprinkles notes onto just the right places in this Tiny Desk Concert.
Brazilian music is nothing if not amenable to outside colors — and, as you'll see and hear in this video, Maita mixes so many influences that I'm tempted to consider it not Brazilian, but rather "Maita Music." See for yourself.