Brazilian songstress Maria Gadu. Photograph: Gabriel Wickbold
Brazilian songstress Maria Gadu. Photograph: Gabriel Wickbold

As the sporting masses prepare for the World Cup, there has never been a more fitting time for Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist and twice Latin Grammy nominated Maria Gadú to cross the Atlantic in preparation for a highly-anticipated performance at the Barbican this month.

Celebrating much success in many countries after her self-titled album went platinum in 2009 both in Italy and Brazil, she has since become something of a household name amongst her peers. “Maria Gadú is a popular phenomenon for her own generation,” famed Brazilian composer and songwriter Caetano Veloso has said of her. “[She is] someone with an authentic musical vocation.”

Singing in her native Brazilian Portuguese, Gadú’s voice is a distinct combination of jazz and soul; a voice that brings an uplifting aura that surrounds lyrics of peace and love. Her impressive guitar technique backs her up with a powerful edge. It’s this vibrancy that makes her stand out from other artists that fall in the ‘world music’ bracket. The sunny track ‘Shimbalaiê’ exudes every bit of this talent.

At 27, Gadú knows who she is which gives her music a kind of strength that many pop artists struggle with today. Her traditional yet blended style does justice to the original Musica Popular Brasileira movement to which she and the other artists such as Chico Buarque and Jorge Ben are associated. This classic and quintessentially Brazilian genre originated in the 1960s and has become the foundation on which Gadú and other more modern artists such as Maria Monte’s music is formed.

Whether you enjoy football or not, her performance will certainly be a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle of World Cup fever.

Maria Gadú is playing at the Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS on 28 June.

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