Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., July 16, 2004
CataventoLanguage of the Heart
Austin has long been an unlikely hotbed for the appreciation of Brazilian music. The most recent band to be birthed into this nurturing environment is Catavento, an all-acoustic quartet that specializes in songs of love. The most familiar face here is Samba Police vocalist Susanna Sharpe, one of the music's true local ambassadors. While Sharpe was the voice and primary focus of that popular band, she shares the vocal spotlight, often in various combinations with guitarists Christian Fernandez and David Pulkingham, both formerly of La Tribu and currently of Son y No Son. Their vocal interplay is one of the album's highpoints. Sergio Santos, also a member of the Samba Police, spices the affair with percussive accents. While most of the tunes are Brazilian, there's some nice variation on the Cuban "Rumbera Mayor" and Peruvian waltz "José Antonio," sequenced back to back. Among the requisite inclusion of songs by icons Milton Nascimento and Antonio Carlos Jobim are several originals, the most poignant being Sharp's lover's lament, "Eterno Choro Passageiro." Pulkingham's lovely instrumental closes the set on an upbeat note. While Language of the Heart is rendered in loving spirit, it doesn't quite hit its mark emotionally. Underneath the fine vocal harmonies, guitar intertwinings, and sambas and cha-chas is a paucity of passion and fire, qualities that could've elevated Catavento's initial offering into something really special.