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Mart’nália: The Art of Love and Beauty in Music



Mart'nália photographed by Marta Azavedo

RdG: How difficult was it for you to select only 14 songs from Vinicius’ [very large] songbook?

M’n: It wasn’t really difficult because I knew what I meant to do. We live in a time of madness which is expressed in discrimination and violence against women. Every day there are stories of women being subjected to physical and emotional violence – and frequently killed. But Brasilians are not naturally like this. Vinicius and his music is a great example. He glorifies women in his music. He puts us women on a high level. He shows us how to treat women and I wanted to capture this aspect of his work. I also wanted to show – both in the selection of the songs and how I sing them – how much beauty there is in women; how we yearn to be treated and how we can be loved [just like Vinicius does]. We are incredible human beings and we are capable of great love and light and this is fundamental to people’s lives – to all of humanity.

Vinicius de Moraes reading from an anthology of his poems
Vinicius de Moraes reading from an anthology of his poems

RdG: Are there any songs that you feel especially sad about having to leave out?

M’n: I have already recorded other songs by Vinicius. [Mart’nália suddenly becomes thoughtful here; even philosophical as she tells me] No, I don’t feel sad about anything in life. I refuse to give in to sadness. Why should I cry my dear? Life has a way of making everything right in the end… But to your question, if I did leave any songs out – singing on stage or on this CD, I will perform and record on another CD or on many other CDs; you can be sure of that.

RdG: How did you, Arthur and Marcia start putting this project together? Did you manage to meet regularly? Did you and Arthur rehearse the songs?

M’n: All of us would get together regularly at my house… Márcia, Celso Fonseca, Arthur and I… We made lists of songs and the only one I thought that I wouldn’t record was “Eu Sei Que Vou te Amar” because it was already recorded by many people. But Arthur was insistent; he thought we could do a version that was unique – and of course he was right: listen to the beautiful piano on what we recorded. Now I believe that this song was meant to be for him – for Arthur… As for rehearsals, there were none. We didn’t rehearse anything; we just went into the studio and we played… [She laughs, the husky “Mart’nália” laugh…]

Vinicius de Moraes holds court at a poetry reading
Vinicius de Moraes holds court at a poetry reading

RdG: Did you play these song on stage before entering the studio and recording the album?

M’n: As I said, I always love to play and sing Vinicius… but I have not played or sang any of these songs that ware on the CD before. This is all new.

RdG: How did you choose the musicians – Carla Bruni, for example? Whose idea was it to bring her to the recording?

M’n: The musicians… it was a group decision; and as it turned out, each musician brought his own class and gift with him… Some ideas had their own special charm and came to us in the studio, just like Milton Guedes, for example.

Carla Bruni was Marcinha’s idea and it worked … [laughs again] We sent the music to Paris with Celsinho Fonseca and he recorded with her there. I couldn’t go because I had to finish mixing the tracks.

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Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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