As Meninas is Portuguese for "the girls." The name was adopted provisionally when vocalist Monica Vasconcelos and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock were auditioning for gigs in London. But the name stuck, even though two men have since joined: guitarist Ife Tolentino and drummer/percussionist Chris Wells. The four members hail from around the globe, but they live and work in London, where their elegant Brazilian stylings are particularly well received.
Much of the music on Bom Dia is strongly reminiscent of the jazz-influenced bossa nova style introduced by Stan Getz and João and Astrud Gilberto on the classic 1963 album Getz/Gilberto. But As Meninas puts its own stamp on the genre. Although they perform famous Jobim songs such as "Insensatez" and "Dindi," they also shed light on lesser-known figures such as Djavan, Jackson Do Pandeiro, and Dorival Caymmi. In addition to samba and bossa nova, they cook with the more exotic South American flavor of the baião on "Tres Vendas" and the rump-shaking "Procurando Tu." While ballads like "Atrás da Porta" come close to easy listening, the spare acoustic format of the group still casts a spell. It might seem like a stretch, but something about their female-fronted, rhythmically seductive sound brings to mind Pizzicato Five and Stereolab.