Whether she classifies as a World Music artist or
not, Paula Maya has been around. Born in Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (where she studied Jazz and Bossa Nova with
legendary pianist Luiz Eca), and now residing in
Seattle, Washington, Maya's music calls to mind everyone
from Kate Bush to Peterl Gabriel, and from Jerry
Lee Lewis to Tori Amos. But perhaps no comparison
is more apt than to that of Bjork -- no more does
the Icelandic singer stand along atop the mountain
of quirky lyrics and distinctive vocal stylings.
Paula Maya gives her a run for her krona.
Maya's semi-eponymous "Paula" is a mixture of jazz,
electronic, Latin, rock, blues, funk and ska, with
more variety packed into some songs (such as Track
2, "Insanity") than one is likely to find during the
entirety of an Ozomatli concert. Album opener "Full
Moon" is a slow, sexy lounge act, taking its time like
a good lover, whereas closer "Shaking" is something
altogether different, filled with Eastern instrumentation,
sweeping soundscapes and enchanting, lilting vocals.
In between you'll find a little bit of everything else,
including ska ("Sound is Light," "The Old Man"), funk
("In the Present") and the electronica-inspired "High
On You," which evokes Lola Rennt with its steady,
driving, incessant pulse, Paula's lyrics dancing
atop like a Sugar Plum Fairy tripping on life.