VIRGINIA RODRIGUES Mares Profundos (Edge/Universal Classics)
Brazil's Rodrigues has one of the world's great voices, a billowing contralto that turns vowels into cloudscapes. Here, she interprets the so-called Afro-sambas by composers Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes. A lilting mix of spiritual folk and secular art song, they're a perfect match for Rodrigues, who learned her craft singing in church choirs and listening to opera on the radio. High point: ''Labareda,'' a pas de deux with her mentor, Brazilian pop hero Caetano Veloso.