â'We're All Relatively Good Looking'

New York's Brazilian Girls bring the multi-cultural coolnessView all events this week »

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Music

by Andrew Clayman

Everything about Sabina Sciubba screams Bond Girl. Sheâ’s got that seductively disinterested lounge-singer mystiqueâ"the sculpted cheekbones, the pouting lips, the geographically ambiguous accent. On stage, her typical wardrobe could make Barbarella blush and send Bjork back to the drawing board. Yet, it still took a bit of good fortune for this femme fatale to find her perfect cast of musical male counterparts. â“It was never really a thought-out development,â” says Sciubba, referring to the 2003 formation of Brazilian Girls, the electro-pop quartet that includes three men and zero Brazilians. â“It was very sporadic. We all sort of knew each other from the New York scene, playing in different projects and running across each other at different points. Then our friend opened this place called Nublu.â” Today, Nublu is known as one of the East Villageâ’s hippest venues, spawning a mini-scene and a record label in the process. But just four years ago, it was merely a small, upstart club with a stage full of instruments and an open invitation to any would-be musicians who wanted to play them. â“So we all went there one Sunday night and just started jamming,â” Sciubba recalls, â“and we were totally impressed by how well we connected musically.â” The new band that was spontaneously created that night included Sciubba on vocals, Didi Gutman on keyboards and computer effects, Jesse Murphy on bass, and Aaron Johnston on drums. Sciubba and Gutman had been dating at the time, and Murphy and Johnston were roommates, but those previously established bonds were quickly overshadowed by the excitement of a promising new artistic merger. â“We were all in town for a while, so we just started meeting every Sunday after that,â” Sciubba says. â“It became sort of like our Sunday church experience. The group gelled tremendously quickly, and it was really a surprise to a lot of us. We had all been in many different bands, but I donâ’t think any of us had ever had that kind of experience, where it felt like one person put a band together, but actually four people just got together and all of the sudden itâ’s a band!â” Building up a head of steam, Brazilian Girls quickly became a staple at Nublu, earning a good deal of notoriety for their unique style and wealth of international influences, many of which were captured on the bandâ’s Verve Forecast, full-length 2005 debut, Brazilian Girls. Sure, they werenâ’t really from Brazil, but the band did have deep roots in a plethora of somewhat exotic locales. Gutman, for one, is a native of Argentina, while Sciubba grew up as a bit of a European mutt, splitting time between Rome, Munich and Nice. By no coincidence, then, the Brazilian Girlsâ’ sound is infused with not only various styles of music (downtempo, jazz, reggae, rock, bossa nova), but a multitude of languages as well. â“Yeah, itâ’s definitely based on my background,â” Sciubba says of her multi-lingual lyrical acrobatics. â“I grew up with two languages, German and Italian, and then I lived in France. I mean, I speak six languages, and even within my family we speak different languages. Itâ’s quite natural.â” Behind the success of singles like â“Lazy Loverâ” and â“Donâ’t Stop,â” Brazilian Girls were soon garnering critical praise worldwide. Their debut tapped into the ultra-cool, downbeat pool of bands like Morcheeba and Thievery Corporation, while simultaneously drawing converts from the worlds of indie-rock, reggae and dance music. Nonetheless, for their much-anticipated follow-up, 2006â’s Talk To La Bomb, the group decided to change gears and rev things up, catching some of their followers off guard. â“What led us to change was, in fact, our live performances,â” Sciubba explains. â“The first record was quite loungy and mellow and very house oriented, and when we played live, we started to feel like that was a bit limiting. So as we worked on the second record, it turned out a bit more aggressive than the first oneâ"a bit more rock maybe, and a bit more abstract, because there were elements we were missing in our show before. And itâ’s good now, because we can mix things. We can go from a song like â‘Donâ’t Stop,â’ which is a straightforward, house dance tune, to â‘Talk to La Bomb,â’ which is more of an experimental, almost jazz-type track.â” Aside from game-planning those sorts of genre shifts, itâ’s safe to say that much of the Brazilian Girlsâ’ pre-concert preparation revolves around what theyâ’re going to wear on stage. The young musicians are fashionable sophisticates at heart, and image provides a considerable complement to the sorts of moods their music communicates. Sciubba, in particular, seems to recognize this, as her intricate and increasingly bizarre outfits and masks have become a trademark and often perplexing part of the bandâ’s stage show. As far as she is concerned, though, the visual component of Brazilian Girls is pretty easy to sum up. â“Well, first of all, weâ’re all relatively good looking people,â” she laughs, though hardly sarcastically. â“Secondly, I do kind of like to play around with outfits, but only according to our means. Weâ’re more into an economic approach to touring, not just because of our means, but because we like more simple and inventive things. I just like to play around with ideas in a theatrical way, so an ideal outfit for me is something that you can put together and use it and then transform it on stage. It can grow or shrink or it can disappear and appear.â” Naturally, all this appearing and disappearing has proven quite appealing to the bandâ’s ever-growing audience, a typically diverse and open-minded bunch, but one that seems to exhibit at least one consistent characteristic in every country in which the band plays. â“Theyâ’re usually relatively good looking,â” Sciubba laughs, and again, you know she means it.

WHO: Sundown in the City presents Brazilian Girls w/ Christabel & the Jons WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 6-10 p.m. WHERE: Market Square HOW MUCH: Free

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All content © 2007 Metropulse .

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