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Though Gal Costa has been a mainstay of Brazilian popular music for three decades, “Today” is perhaps her best work yet. The energetic, playful style of her youth has now reached a richer maturity. Nestled in lean Brazilian accompaniment, she sings with a natural, yet adult, melodic sense.

Recorded two years ago for her own label, Costa wisely places her voice at the very center of the mix. Whether bursting forth to high registers (“Logus Pe”) or bouncing over traditional rhythms (“Voyeur”), her knowing voice is both refined and sturdy.

The ballads are where Costa’s mastery of vocal phrasing really shines, though. Backed mainly with just acoustic piano or guitar, she explores deep emotions with unhurried steadiness, and not only on the lead melodies but also in the fadeout choruses and bridges. “Today” is an excellent introduction to Costa’s vocal magic.

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