Mônica Salmaso beat 1,200 contestants to win the El Dorado Prize as the best singer in Brazil in 1999.

Mônica Salmaso beat 1,200 contestants to win the El Dorado Prize as the best singer in Brazil in 1999. In a country that routinely produces superb vocalists, Salmaso's victory was quite noteworthy. Her performance throughout Voadeira offers a giant clue about her El Dorado Prize triumph. She has a silken, mezzo-soprano voice and an elegant grasp of traditional Brazilian forms. She moves with ease between styles. Listen to her super-cool rendition of the Bahian samba-enredo "Ilu-Aye," set to a percolating, minimalist, arrangement. Salmaso excels at gentle tropical ballads, and the best example on Voadeira is her performance on the Guinga/Paulo César Pinheiro song "Senhorinha." She sings with such lightness and grace, and there's a clarity in the timbre of her voice that endows everything she sings with a bell-like tonal quality. Salmaso is a singular talent. Distributed by Lightyear Entertainment/WEA.—PVV