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Released by the French record label Saravah in May 2000 and licensed to Quebec's Audiogram a year later, Sources is Brazil-born singer Bia's second album. Recorded by Gilles Sampic and produced by percussionist Michelino Silvano, this CD offers a beautiful sound quality that stays true to the delicate arrangements and abundant use of traditional percussion instruments. On top of it all is of course Bia's spellbinding voice. She sings mostly in Portuguese and French, but also in Italian and English. Half of the 12 songs on Sources are her own. Notable interpretations include Jean Duino's "Complainte Africaine," Italian songwriter Gianmaria Testa's "Piccoli Fiumi," and a surprising medley of Jacques Higelin's "Ballade pour un Matin" (Ballad for a Morning) and the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers." The focus always remains on the voice, lightly accompanied by acoustic guitars and percussion for the most part. Seductive ballads alternate with light rhythmic numbers. The Brazilian touch can be felt almost throughout, although a few African flavors are also noticeable. The light guitar and piano duet "Sous le Vent du Monde," with Quebec singer Marie-Jo Therio, derogates to the rule: It is an acoustic ballad that could belong to any culture and paradoxically provides one of the album's strongest moments. Less rooted in tradition than world music singers like Susanna Baca or Cesaria Evora, Bia's music is packaged for the adult contemporary crowd, but artistic compromises are few on Sources. Recommended.

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