Temperance by Astrud Gilberto    Review by Diane Wilkes

In my musical web meanderings, I found this import cd online.  The cover (featuring Astrud Gilberto's rendering of the Temperance card, with which she claims to identify strongly) naturally caught my eye, especially since I had just decided to explore Ms. Gilberto's music. 

The Temperance cd was as difficult to access as "India" was for Christopher Columbus.  I couldn't locate it on any of my usual music sites.  Finally, a fellow music junkie came through with Mundo, a Japanese import vendor, and I shelled out the big bucks for a cd I had only sampled via the Internet.

You know how that is...you search for something so long you throw caution to the winds and spend more than you would have been willing to pay if it had been easier to locate earlier in the search. 

But the cd samples, coupled with its tarot-related title and image, won me over.  One song, "Reconciliation", was even subtitled "The Six of Cups."  I was convinced that the cd would be rich in tarot content. 

I was wrong.  "Reconciliation" doesn't even include the subtitle on the album, and none of the songs pertain to the tarot.  But Gilberto does briefly talk about it: "I am totally fascinated by the Tarot, and actually all types of divination.  Tarot cards have been around for many centuries and have, since ancient times, been immortalized thanks to the Gypsies, who have cultivated the use of them for divination purposes." 

Send that woman to the Tarot-L History FAQ...

But to continue...

"They passed on their knowledge through the many generations, preserving their rich meanings long before books were written.  The Angel of Temperance is my favorite card, to which I feel as if I have a mysterious bond with, and that she is my protector.  The card symbolizes balance, integration.  It is also a card that reigns over communication matters."

Gilberto, who is best known for her huge '60's hit, "Girl from Ipanema", goes on to express how special the album, Temperance, is because she has written many of the songs (which is new for her) and produced the music with her sons at their studio.  Other than "How High the Moon", she wrote or co-wrote every song. 

Next to the non-tarot-related song lyrics, family and band members' pictures appear in plain card templates, all numbered XIV.  Other than that, the cd is not a tarot-related item, per se.  It's a pleasant cd, one which would provide nice background music for doing tarot readings.  Gilberto has a lovely voice, and the samba-jazz fusion is enjoyable and relaxing.  However, I have heard great things about some of her other cds, particularly the Gil Evans' produced Look to the Rainbow.  In addition, Look to the Rainbow is considerably less expensive.

While I don't regret spending the money (this is the kind of thing I would yearn for if I didn't own it), I can't recommend it at $30+ to anyone but equally obsessive tarot collectors.

Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes