The full-bodied, expressive voice of Vanessa Falabella throughout the record Loving Whisper is a perfect vehicle to convey this music’s pathos and yearning. The atmospheric settings of plain-worded poems of love, loneliness, and love, more than half of which have been penned by Miss Falabella (with a variety of other musicians) seem like a perfect fit for the creamy mezzo. As a result Miss Falabella always seems to hit the perfect spot with declamatory ardor, often accompanied by her accompanists’ orchestral finesse. But it is the vocalist, singing in both English and Portuguese, who arrives at a communicative confluence of styles from rhythm and blues to nouveau MPB.
As she soars upwards on key words in the lyric throughout – making the obvious often seem special – Miss Falabella’s top register seems as golden as ever, matched (as always) as the smoky sensuality of the notes she squeezes out in her bottom register. As always, the instrumentalists strike a perfect balance with her enhancing the pliancy and passionate eloquence of the music. “Deus Dara” and “Loving Whisper (Água)” – the latter which closes the album are poignant examples of Miss Falabella’s unique vocal abilities.
As ever, both tracks prove Miss Falabella to be the queen of precise diction in both English and Portuguese. She is Brasilian, so the precision of her Portuguese is a given, but as the English repertoire such as “Another Song,” “Passion,” and “Loving Whisper (Água)” prove Miss Falabella is able to combine delicacy and languorous English idiom with her emotive Brasilian style as well. The built in sensuality of her voice makes for the intimate domestic tone required to make the romance of these musings come to live in a vivid and believable manner. The genius of co-producer Soli’s hand in this (as well as in the rest of the repertoire on the album) is palpable in the luscious musical atmosphere and sound design.
The joy and frailty of human love drives this music into a meditative and passionate place and it is clear that Miss Falabella’s stylish and sensitive vocalastics make this happen. But make no mistake production values here also have contributed to turning what might have been a good recording and a great one. In this regard the performances of the musicians – not just from the celebrated ones such as Vinicius Cantuária, but all of the others as well – have as much a role to play in all of this. Miss Falabella has always been an artist of the first order but Loving Whisper enables us to feel her artistry with greater clarity and amplitude as both her singing and the accompaniment have a touch more incisiveness and assurance.
-Raul da Gama