After 5 successful album releases, Sitti Navarro, the Philippine’s “Queen of Bossa Nova” released” Contagious” in 2009. Fittingly titled; the album features a number of standards and classic songs that have been infected by her voice and style.
With her talent showcased in previous work, she explores new avenues in “Contagious”. Manoeuvring through songs with varying styles, she manages to inscribe her special qualities on each song. This is done with confidence and security that is backed by a voice that is both radiant and calming.
In keeping with her previous albums, bossa nova mainstays like “Dindi” and “How Insensitive” are moulded in her artistic image. Most strikingly the Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes classic “Chega de Saudade” is re-invited with a commanding performance and jazz-inspired arrangement that breathes new life into the song. Ironically, these tracks represent the most conventional moments of the album.
The album’s first act “Your love is king” is an adaptation from Sade’s 1984 hit. Stripped of the 80’s sound that featured on the original, the song features acoustic guitars and Brazilian percussion. Sade’s restraint is freed by Sitti, who adds a layer of warmth to the track.
She explores 60’s soul with her impression of the Delfonics hit La La (Means I love you). This time around she tones down the passionate feel employed by the group and performs it in a more soothing but still powerful manner.
American 80’s pop seemed to be her main muse for this project and she delves into that area once again with her decision to cover Hall & Oates song “One on One.” The original was soft and up-tempo so one can see what inspired her to take on this song. The original lyrics were centred on a lover asking for more from his partner. In keeping with this, the performers did the song in a wailing and whimpering fashion to accurately convey the frustration experienced. Sitti adds a new twist with her performance. With bravado, Sitti demands more attention from her lover, and by extension the listener.
The only original song on the album is the sweet “Is this Love.” With loving lyrics and a catchy chorus, it is a memorable song and displays her ability to deliver original work alongside her numerous interpretations. Equally impressive, is that it does not seem out of place alongside the collection of renovated tracks. This is a testament to the artist’s ability as a performer and vision as a musician.
Exploring various genres and singing in different languages, shows the ambition of the artist and team behind her. All of the 16 tracks on this album are transformed by Sitti’s clever performances. For those not familiar with the originals, every track will sound like it was initially composed in the style of modern bossa-nova. An aromatic experience from start to finish; she dominates a niche that she forged herself.
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Genre: Bossa nova, jazz
Label: Warner Music Philippines
Producer: Jim Baluyut, Neil C. Gregorio
1.”Your Love is King” (Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman)
2.”How Insensitive (Insensatez)” (Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Norman Gimbel)
3.”Is This Love” (George Noriega, Jorge Gonzalez, Andrew Fromm, Howard Dorough, Merecco Turner)
4.”Adia” (Pierre Marchand, Sarah McLachlan)
5.”Chega de Saudade” (Jobim, de Moraes)
6.”A Certain Sadness” (Carlos Eduardo Lyra, John Court)
7.”So Em Teus Braços” (Jobim) 8.”Dindi” (Jobim, Aloysio de Oliveria)
9.”La-La (Means I Love You)” (Thom Bell, William Hart)
10.”Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (Culture Club)
11.”No More I Love You’s” (Joseph Hughes, David Freeman)
12.”Let Me In” (Mike Francis)
13.”Promises / New Day for You” (Basia, Danny White, Peter Ross)
14.”One on One” (Daryl Hall)
15.”Till There Was You” (Meredith Willson)
16.”Bossa Nova Baby” (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)