Brazilian music went emphatically back into fashion in the mid-'90s, partially as a result of the short-lived lounge revival's interest in '60s bossa nova. That the interest in Brazilian music from all decades has long outlived that pop-cultural blip is testament to the fundamental appeal of this mixture of acoustic guitar, jazz phrasing, and captivating rhythms. Many of the best practitioners in this Brazilian jazz revival aren't even Brazilian, in fact. (There's a huge Brazilian jazz scene in, of all places, Copenhagen!) One of these artists is the singer/songwriter Bia, who hails from the decidedly non-tropical climes of Montreal, Quebec, and sings most of her songs in Quebecois French. Her third album, Carmin, blends influences from the '60s and '70s (there's quite a bit of Gal Costa in Bia's husky, murmuring phrasing) with more modern elements. Unlike, say, Bebel Gilberto, however, Bia's Brazilian roots don't get lost in a mélange of trip-hop rhythms and down-tempo keyboards: there's a hint of electronica lurking in the background of songs like "Je N'Aime Pas," but the tunes themselves are proud successors to the traditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, and Baden Powell. Carmin is an excellent example of the pleasures of old wine in new bottles.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason