Boss New Bia
   
  In 1963 a guitarist named Joao Gilberto said, "Peace is a beautiful feeling. To understand and be understood is a kind of peace." Speaking about his band- mate, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz he also said, "Getz is a person I understand, and who understands me even though we speak different languages." They were collaborating with the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gilberto's wife Astrud who vocalized "The Girl From Ipanema" back then.
  It is against that backdrop that I present you Janubia and her debut CD... Mother Tongue [InCreation A1001]. Similarities to Basia (Trzetrelewska) of the eighties as well as Astrud Gilberto of the sixties abound. The only missing ingredient is a tenor sax a la the bossa nova craze back then. You will hardly notice, however, as you first may try to translate what lingo she is singing in. This is a crooner who would have us believe that she sings in her "own language", and I guess that defies translation, but I notice the tracks DO have names, and names denote meaning.
  Okay, it still is pleasing to the ear; no matter because as she says via her website it is "whatever language you want it to be," sounding a bit standoffish. But don't be fooled, there is a fun, warm spirit in there as only could be to deliver the sultry-smooth sounds on this disc.
  Heavily acoustic and tropical from jump-street, Mother Tongue which means 'first language' is flavor upon re-innovation. The title is also inspired by Janubia's first singing in the same language she croons on this work. I take her at her word on that one – or maybe that of her Mom, for she claims to have sung in this way since, "I was a kid...by myself, on my own." Cue Eric Carmen music please. Our editor DJ Ron describes it as "world music dance" – I've heard of that too; she describes it as her "prayer language." It is a sentient group of songs and I say, bring it forth!
  Of the ten songs, track six, Deju, is very representative of the CD as a whole and the story behind it may speak volumes.
  It was "this little [studio] test/maybe the spark", she says.
  It was like they all just started playing together in their home studio; Mills, sans sticks, and Janubia, from just doing a mic check realized they were onto something special. "The recording on the CD is a compilation of [those] two vocal takes. After that, Alex and Andrew didn't let up [on me]. When dear friend and producer Nick Launay heard it one day,[he] flipped out and insisted that we record an entire CD."
  Her mates on this session are the teeth surrounding this tongue: Andrew Mills on drums, Alex de Rafols-guitars, Natasha Shneider-keyboards, and Alain Johannes on mandolin and banjo.
  Now I don't mean to intonate that this is Bossa Nova music, but the feeling and raised eyebrows that follow trying to interpret Janubia's words is akin to the feeling that swept the musical nation when Getz/Gilberto's Rio de Janeiro sound invaded the airwaves. If Janubia et al are into instant airplay, it seems that some of these songs should find a home on any of NPR's "Brazilian Hours" because that is how they "sound". It plays like carnivale.
  Once again in my travels as music critic, I come across a solid soul with the same basic message that we all need to heed.
  As Janubia says, 'If I represent anything at all, it's merely that we ALL have connection to Spirit, however one wants to define that. Singing the way I do is MY personal expression. Everyone has their own."
  Amen, and as the O'Jays once sang, "the message is in the music, so come along and sing the song!"
  This CD is not yet in stores, so you must go to her site, www.janubia.com or iTunes to purchase for the time being. When finally at the outlets, this will be one you many want to use the headphones provided for pre-listening; because if understanding lyrical words matters to you, this my not be your cup o' tea - it is java, honey! If it is the sound that makes you want to get down, give her a listen.
  Now comes the hard part, rating this exceptional work of individual expression. Just for being bold enough to go out on the limb of daring to be different; "I feel it's a relevant, needed reminder for these "times" (any "times" really but I'm here NOW), she says, and so brew yourself up a pot of espresso, fasten your seat belt, and sip it over Mother Tongue as you ponder why I feel empowered to bless this with four-and-a-half stars.
  As Stevie Wonder once sang, "you will know."
     
     
 

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