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Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
4 stars
There’s a big green plant at the front of the stage and a ladder on the side. Holding court in the centre is a curly-haired woman sporting hooped ear-rings and a PVC pinny with a kilt printed on. Welcome to the multi-coloured world of Cibelle (pronounced See-Bel-Eee), a Brazilian chanteuse currently residing in Dalston, who’s been tipped, alongside Portishead and Bjork, as one of the three most important live acts to catch this year.

Cibelle may not have the pulling power of such contemporaries, but she’s certainly got the edge. Building up each song via an array of live loops, one minute she’s swaying gently with Stylophone-led tales of coconuts and cocktails, the next she’s moved onto the altogether kookier new single and anti-Botox ode, White Hair. Inbetween a Portuguese number, she’s clutching onto the plant as she coos Kermit The Frog’s identity-crisis lament, It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green. Given the Animal-like appearance of the drummer bashing out crisp funk accompaniment (with and without the ladder) alongside a cherub-faced guitarist, this is oddly appropriate.

If anyone was expecting something more middle-brow, this may have something to do with 2007 album, The Shine Of Dead Electric Leaves, which featured hirsute new folk guru Devendra Banhart, and was co-produced by Air’s Yann Arnaud. In truth, Cibelle could probably earn a crust crooning wine bar standards and coffee-table soundtracks. Beyond the cartoonish demeanour, however, there’s a serious, more interesting artist at play, with shades of Ludus at their rawest or the trippier end of One Dove. By rights the entire room should be dancing like it’s 1981. Once the world catches up with Cibelle, it will be.

The Herald, September 23rd 2008



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