Born in Mozambique, raised in Denmark and currently based in Berlin, Natalie Greffel’s debut album was released just as the world was shutting down; so instead of promoting her music on the road, she’s selling records from home. Despite her globe-spanning background, her music brings such disparate pieces closer together, even in the current crisis. That’s much what Para Todos accomplishes. The album weaves together her multi-cultural influences into a solid, confident Brazil-inflected set that makes the body eager to hit the dancefloors once the world reopens, or, failing that, sets listeners in motion at home. And after all, that title translates to “For All.”

Greffel was encouraged to record her music by the pianist for Brazilian star musician/crate digger Ed Motta, and his fondness for a kind of sub-equatorial AOR comes through Para Todos. “Não Sabia Nem Começar” sets the stage with Greffel’s slightly smoky voice riding over a lightly electric samba-rock fusion. Whoever the drummer is here gives Greffel a superb foundation for jazzy timing, and it’s a propulsive beat that bursts out with the explosive “Toquei,” while the lighter “Canto Pra Voce” leans more into tropical rhythms. As press notes are quick to point out, this is not an “authentic” Brazilian album but “a personal retelling of shared and imagined histories, and newly-formed kinships, to honor the traditions of the past and carve out a new sense of belonging.”

In other words, Para Todos is the music of the 21st century community, informed by Greffel’s diverse background and interests, and executed by a versatile talent and rhythmically accomplished band. “Canto Pra Voce” rides on tempo shifts from dance number to ballad to expansive jazz-pop in just under six minutes, with beats (somebody get the name of that drummer) and harmonies that convey Greffel’s impressive range. The album loses some steam with the dreamy and not-completely successful “Ficaria Mais Feliz,” but the groove is sustained through the most of the 38-minute set, culminating in a smoldering cover of Chico Buarque’s “A Ostra e o Vento.”

The singer moved to Berlin in 2010 to study at the music conservatory, but grew weary of the European jazz of her training. An Erasmus scholarship enabled her to visit Brazil in in 2016, where she spent an intensive six months dedicated to learning the Afro-Brazilian music that her mother played, establishing a connection between Mozambique and the music she adopts here. So it’s remarkable that this assured Brazilianesque debut comes from someone who approached the music fairly recently, and from a geographic distance. But in this age, that distance is easily crossed, as you can hear in her easy proficiency in the music. As good as her band is, just listen to her sing a cappella. Greffel’s influences include such legends as Milton Nascimento, Elza Soares and Gilberto Gil, but on her debut album, she’s already begun to find her own voice. Who knows what she’ll sound like when she matures? Watch out for her.

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