Maceió, the capital of Brazil's Alagoas state on its sprawling east-coast, is home to pastel coloured colonial houses, white sand beaches and a brilliant young composer, poet and multi-instrumentalist named Bruno Berle.
With a voice of pure gold and a startling sensitivity for heartfelt pop song writing, on No Reino Dos Afetos (In the Realm of Affections), Berle frmly embraces earnestness, through starry-eyed Brazilian love songs, ambient vignettes, warm, home-cooked beats and gentle strokes of MPB genius.
On the contemporary R&B inspired lead single "Quero Dizer" - produced by Berle and long-time friend and collaborator Batata Boy - the swirling, lo-f, kalimba and guitar-fronted beat is turned into a feel-good hit by the ingenuity of Berle's honey soaked vocal melody. Powerfully intimate, "O Nome Do Meu Amor" (My Love's Name) is a guaranteed tearjerker, with Berle's stunning voice soaring over gently plucked acoustic guitar and the textural futter of soft movement, as if we hear him writing the song in the moment.
Drawing upon a close-knit, collaborative scene of Maceió artists and musicians, (of which Berle and Batata Boy are vital members), Berle also recorded some of his friends songs on the album, including João Menezes' "Até Meu Violao", the album's beautifully laid back sunshine soul opener, which has all the charm of early-70s João Donato.
Having cut his teeth in soft-rock group Troco em Bala, and more recently fnding himself embedded in both Rio and Sao Paulo's contemporary music scenes - collaborating with the likes of Ana Frango Eletrico, who took the photo for the album cover - No Reino Dos Afetos is as musically diverse as Bruno himself. It's hazy indie rock ("É Preciso Ter Amor"), calming ambient and feld recording ("Virginia Talk") as well as Berle's own take on West African High Life ("Som Nyame").
Instantly recognisable as a truly special artist, Berle's character flls every corner of the sound, which is unsurprising considering he played most of the instruments.