Every once in a while a new singer comes along whom makes you listen.
Rarer still is the new voice that makes you listen two or three times, but that describes the quiet, yet persistent entrance of Ondine Darcyl on to the music scene.
Her voice is soothing and sensuous, even hypnotic.
In her debut CD Ondine presents an array of international standards that reflect her own transcultural background.
She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a French father and a Romanian mother, spent many months in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil accompanying her parents on work trips, and moved to the United States when she was 18. In Boston Ondine studied law and is contracts attorney by profession (perhaps that's why this is an independent release! Smart lady!) She never gave up her long time love of music and for fortunately us, four years ago she decided to pursue her singing career in earnest.
Keeping with the bossa nova tradition, reminiscent of an early Astrud Gilberto, Ondine opens with the music of Tom Jobim.
Listening to Ondine reminds me of those deliciously lazy Sunday afternoons in Brazil after a long day at the beach while the tropical sun is still warm and soothing, but the shadows are growing long.
Similarly you can feel the sultry heat and humidity of the North American South in the phrasing of her rendition of Gershwin's Summertime.
Ondine has a special quality that allows her to revisit Brazilian, Latin, French and American standards and make them her own.
She so sweetly complains, "He doesn't See me," in her rendition of Garota de Ipanema. It makes you really feel sad for her as You can envision her sitting in that sidewalk cafe in Ipanema longingly watching some handsome carioca pass by completely unaware he is being adored by this soft singing French-Argentinean New Yorker.
She gracefully moves back and forth between French and English in Luis Bonfa's Manha de Carnaval in such a way that subtly reinvents first contact. After all, it was through the French lens of Marcel Camus's film Black Orpheus (from whence the song originates) that a generation of North Americans was first introduced to and enchanted the melodies and rhythms of Brazil. Likewise, her haunting covers of French standards like La Vie en Rose leave the listener with a wonderful feeling with just the it touch of bittersweet melancholy.
Although she's a new comer to the music scene, Ondine keeps musical company with impressive array of musicians. She has played with the acclaimed Brazilian Percussionist Cafe, as well as Valthinho, Mauro Refosco, and guitarists Freddie Bryant and Paul Ricci, to name a few. Joining Ondine on this recording is the multi- instrumentalist and fellow Buenos Aires native (although they met in New York), Hernan Romero. Hernan, who is perhaps best known for playing with Al Di Meola, does an amazing job of doubling on the guitar and keyboards to recreate the feel of a full band. So, to you, the listener, I invite you to so as I did. Sit back and listen once, then again and again to the lyrical interpretations of Ondine Darcyl.
- written by Judith King