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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Brazilian Marisa Monte gushes with joy and trusts that the reactionary wave will be followed by an enlightened one

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Singer-songwriter Marisa Monte (Rio de Janeiro, 54) is excited to finally reconnect with her audience, first in her native Brazil and now in Europe. This week he will be performing in Madrid (The Botanical Nights, this Thursday) and in San Feliu de Guíxols (Porta Ferrada Festival, July 2nd). “I’ve never gone so long without performing live in my professional life,” he said in a phone interview. The artist can finally present her latest solo album live, portholes, lit during the pandemic and captured by Zoom from Rio, Lisbon, Los Angeles and New York. It combines pop, jazz and soul.

“Doors mean passages, changes, choices, choices, possibilities, openings, even closings,” she explains on the phone while waiting at Milan airport for the flight that will take her to Brussels. Also a member of the band Tribalistas, along with Arnaldo Antunes and Carlinhos Brown, answers very quietly so as not to disturb the rest of the passage. The album speaks of doors that “can bring about transformations and external changes, but also of doors that we can open within ourselves. Through the art, through the imaginary, to reach an existence that is a little more poetic and interesting than everyday life.”

An invitation to escape in turbulent times like the present, not to lose joy. As the world looks towards the end of the pandemic, Brazil is mired in multiple crises, divided by polarization and with strained elections on the horizon, while Europe suffers from a war that was difficult to imagine a year ago.

Since the right-wing extremist Jair Bolsonaro came to power, Brazilian culture has become the scene of political disputes. The singer admits that the art has “been heavily persecuted by the current government”. But it is taken as an impetus to make better music, more poetry, as the most effective way to resist attack. He prefers to answer that way rather than comment explicitly on politics. But he is no stranger to conflict. At his recent concert in London, he introduced British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous activist Bruno Pereira, who were murdered in the Amazon in early June.

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The singer sees Brazil “immersed in several intersecting crises, in a very difficult, challenging moment”, but has full confidence in the future: “I am sure that it will bring a more humanistic, more enlightened wave, back to values ​​that it needs to be affirmed and defended like the environment or the culture”.

As proof that this lady of Brazilian music is not afraid of innovation, this tour will also be broadcast on TikTok, one of the fastest growing social networks in recent times. For Monte, it’s a way to connect directly with his audience and explore new territory.

Shortly before leaving for Europe, he premiered his song newer. The single has a chorus that exudes optimism. Proclaim, “I feel happy, cheerful, and strong. I have love and I’m lucky.” The Brazilian says it’s a mantra for her. It shows that the song came from a double inspiration. On the one hand, the Rio-based father of a friend, born in Germany, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, who “had this motto written on the wall of his house”. “He didn’t like to talk about all the terrible things he had suffered. Thanks to this positive attitude, he managed to overcome them, build affection, friends, family, work, a very beautiful life story. He died at the age of 100.”

The other inspiration comes from the native people of Acre, who have a similar attitude, he says, a friend who visited told him. “If an Indian wants to conquer important things like health, strength, ability to hunt, courage… he follows a kind of diet. He goes six months without complaining about anything, without badmouthing anything, without mentioning or connecting with anything negative. Cordon sanitaire with bad experiences.

Marisa Monte during a concert in Madrid in 2019.Bernardo Perez Tovar

magazine Rolling Stones considers two of Marisa Montes’ albums to be the best in history. She doesn’t let that overwhelm her. “I always try to do my best, I’m happy when I put everything into a project. But when it’s over, what happens to it is beyond my control.”

Last Sunday, Brazil surrendered to Gilberto Gil at the age of 80. Caetano Veloso meets her in August. Milton Nascimento is on his farewell tour. Is Brazilian pop music approaching the end of an era? She, who has listened to them all her life, replies: “We are very fortunate that such prolific and long-lived artists are still creating and producing and sharing their view of the world. Brazil is winning every minute, every day of its life.”

When she’s not touring, Marisa Monte lives with her family in Rio. And works. Work hard, he says. And he leads a completely normal life. “Although the public doesn’t see it, I record, compose, research, produce”. The album doors, for example, it is the result of “one and a half years of direct work and work accumulated over 54 years”.

Throughout his career he has thoroughly studied bossa nova and recovered from various styles of music. For them it is neither a mission nor a passion. It’s their way of working in an ecosystem like this one in this country. “Brazilian culture is diversity, miscegenation. We are a very young and curious country that also absorbs styles from abroad and, through digestion, transforms them into new original styles.”

And then there are the classics like the samba carioca, the most characteristic music of Rio de Janeiro, where he was born and lives. The Samba “is a great source of information about what it’s like to live in Rio.” It is also the rhythm that he has absorbed through his pores since childhood. He sees the samba from Rio de Janeiro as “existential chronicles, chronicles of everyday life in the neighborhoods of Rio. They represent a very pure relationship between the artist and his creations, they translate very spontaneous feelings, they have a lot of real life, with no ulterior motive.”

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Source elpais.com

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