I sat and stared at the wall of my apartment for a contemplative 20 minutes. It was an attempt to decide if I really felt like making the effort to get out to a show on this particular night, not a completely uncommon practice. I finally dragged myself over to the perpetually eclectic HotHouse in attempt to quell my restless side.
The occasion was the first ever Chicago performance for CéU, a Brazilian songstress hailing from São Paulo. She has received a Latin Grammy for her 2005 self titled debut and had already made an international name for herself with tours in Europe and Canada, but it was still a first for Chicagoans. The music is a beautiful blend of smooth ambient electro jazz, but as with lots of world music that crosses our border it encompasses so much more and really defies any box-style classification.
The show started innocently enough; CéU took the stage with her band and began to play to a half filled room with a vast opening upon the floor in front of the stage. That ocean of space would be short lived. The music began to fill the room and at that point not much could be done about the outcome. It may have been the whiskey but I could swear I saw people begin to materialize, first sitting on floor, then a few of the bold began to dance, and by shows end the floor was a melee of bodies intertwined in dance.
I don't blame anyone, it was ineveitable. The music and performance were pure sensuality personified, something it would seem the Brazilians have perfected. The beautifully layered music was matched only by CéU's vibrant and confident style. CéU radiates a sort of fluid well being that any onlooker would be a fool not to grab a hold of, if even for a moment. She created a air around her that was understood; to take your eyes away you might miss something wonderful.
Latin Grammy aside we are about to bestow upon CéU a real Americana award as she has the honor of being the first international act to be featured on Starbucks' Hear Music Debut CD series. I can already hear her album as it is played throughout the boutiques on Milwaukee Ave. So with Starbuck's help she may upgrade in performance venues from the HotHouse to the Urban Outfitters in Wicker Park!
Download: CeU - "Malemolencia"