Agora is the 2011 debut release from vocalist Yuka Ueda, who specializes in Brazilian samba and bossa nova music, singing in Portuguese at jazz bars and spots throughout Japan. The striking singer, also known as Yu~ka, Yũka, and Yuuka Ueda, assembles some of her favorite partners for this effort, including guitarist Shinji Hashimoto, pianist Junichiro Ohkuchi, and bassist Daisuke Toi, who frequently join her at the beloved neighborhood jazz bar Gate One in Tokyo. Leading a straightforward piano-guitar-voice format, the strong, full voice of the singer confidently flows over the evocative chords for an atmosphere brimming with romance, nostalgia, and zest.
Yuka Ueda’s repertoire was accumulated over years of performing both well-known and less familiar authentic Brazilian music, and this album contains just a tantalizing selection of those fan favorites, making for an eagerly-awaited release. Fans of Brazilian and Latin music will be delighted with songs such as “Reunao De Tristeza”, “Flor De Lis”, and “Pressentimento”, and casual listeners will recognize the familiar tunes “Triste” and “Dinji” which are often played as standards on jazz albums. In a creative twist, the song “Berimbau”, which often provokes rousing energy at Yuka Ueda’s live shows, gets special treatment here as the album’s prologo and epilogo bookends, performed in solo acapella voice, with whispering tones and booming sincerity for quite a personal touch.
Leader: Yuka Ueda · 上田裕香 · http://yuuka-agora.com/wp/
- Yuka Ueda – vocals
- Junichiro Ohkuchi – piano
- Shinji Hashimoto – guitar
- Daisuke Toi – piano (#8), electric bass (#10)
Released in 2011 on Audio Fab Records as AFD-106.
* Audio sample at top of page from “Pressentimento”, the ninth track on this album.