I've first heard of Paula Lima on the wonderful samba Life by Mondo Grosso (although there were various versions of this song in English by Face and in Japanese by Bird but the Portuguese sung version by Paula is still my favourite one).
The first single from Diva Paulista Quero Ver Voce No Baile / As Famosas Garagalhadas Do Yuka really made me curious about the album that's finally with us.
Paula started singing in 1992 in Sao Paulo as part of the band Unidade Movel, then she became a background singer for Jorge Ben. Later she joined the soul music band Zomba and then the funk big band Funk Como Le Gusta. Diva Paulista is her first solo album and was issued previously in Brazil as É Isso Aí in 2001...so it has seen some water flowing down the Amazonas but it still sounds fresh and is a welcome opportunity to discover Paula outside Brazil. The album starts with Quero Ver Voce No Baile which sounds a little bit like Incognito with its Fender Rhodes, horn section and percussion. Sai Daqui Tristeza is a housed up song with a nice sax played by Marco Deleo.
Tive Razão is a pleasent mid-tempo song that again wouldn't sound out of place on a brazilian editon of an Incognito record.
One of the highlights is Perdã Talvez, a duet by Paula with one of Brazil's finest singers Ed Motta, the song begins as a slow soul/jazz song and than raises the pace to become a samba-flavoured tune. Brilliant!
There's another song with Ed Motta As Famosas Garagalhadas Do Yuka but this uptempo song is all about scatting to the groove.
A Paz Dançando Na Avenida is an interesting one. It sounds like a Brazilian version of a neo soul song with it's hip hop influences, there's even a rap by Xis thrown in. Nice one.
With the funky É Tço Bom, the slight samba of É Isso Aí and the midtempo winner Cirandar Diva Paulista is a very good album that especially would appeal to those who are musicwise a little more open minded and like the sound the likes of Incognito. The only bad thing that can be said about this album, it's too short with only 44 minutes.
(for more information visit Paula's website and worldmusic.net)