Maria Rita Maria Rita

One of the inevitabilities in being the child of a famous musician trying to make a name for yourself in the music biz is the undue pressure of trying to recreate just a little of what that famous parent meant to their legion of fans. For Maria Rita, daughter of the late first lady of Brazilian music, Elis Regina, such pressure, though a long time building, could never have prepared her for the reaction she’s received to her self-titled debut disc. To many, hearing Maria Rita — with her intense personality and unique phrasing — is like witnessing the fiery return of Elis herself, a woman who, interestingly, Maria Rita claims never to have really known let alone heard sing. This first album matches solid lyricism from some of the countries leaders in the field, with the young singer’s stark emotion and accomplished vocal ability. She offers up an interesting interpretation of Rita Lee’s "Agora Só Falta Você,” and adds a new shuffle to Lenine’s normally rocking "Lavadeiro do Rio.” "Santa Chuva” sees Maria Rita playing both sides of a relationship lost to infidelity, while Milton Nascimento’s "Encontros e Despedidas” has her using a busy train station platform as a metaphor for life, over piano and swelling strings. Maria Rita closes out the album in definitive style with "Cupido,” with her emotional declaration of love set to a dramatic back beat and warbling Rhodes. If history is any guide, this should be the beginning of something special. (Warner)