Juçara Marçal

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, A Passion Like No Other
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By DANIEL BRAZIL*

Considerations about music today based on the consecration of the partnership Juçara Marçal/ Kiko Dinucci

The awards won by Juçara Marçal (album of the year, song of the year, Multishow 2021 award) and his partner and music producer Kiko Dinucci, allow for some reflections on Brazilian popular music these days.

The transformations of the song in the XNUMXst century still bother many. The definitive incorporation of electronics into the sound texture, the incessant search for a symbiosis with the videographic image, the search for other forms of discourse, the abandonment of euphony in exchange for harshness, noise, uncomfortable dissonance, all this makes spirits more conservatives are refractory to any audition.

Dissonance is a key term in this proposal. We cannot forget that bossa nova incorporated dissonances hitherto unexplored in Brazilian music, and for this reason it was accused of being “jazzistic”. Modern American jazz itself (I'm talking about the 1950s!) has often been accused of making noise, not music. In a few decades this was incorporated, assimilated, and became a culture. Today we listen to the most dissonant bossas as a soundtrack in bars, restaurants and dating, and it sounds (almost) natural.

From the 1960s onwards, electric instruments conquered a definitive space in popular music all over the planet. Not just guitar and bass, which are just amplified and distorted guitars, but instruments – mainly keyboards – that create sounds that didn't exist before. After the synthesizers, moogs and the like, the samplers, which copy and transform and multiply sounds.

Does the technique generate a new aesthetic? Of course, it's more than proven. This does not mean the abandonment of previous musical forms, but an addition. Benjor's acoustic guitar groove is copied and enriched (or not, where the question of talent comes in) from other timbres, as well as Miles Davis' trumpet. And to all this came rap, the poetic discourse on a rhythmic basis that displaced rock on a global scale as the music most loved by young people.

The big one – huge! – Elza Soares is one of the few stars of the mid-twentieth century who keeps a fine tune with these changes. Gal, in her most experimental record, Recanto, produced by Caetano Veloso, demonstrated to be attentive and strong. Caetano himself, in his latest authorial album, Meu Coco, incorporates several contemporary elements, causing some discomfort in his former fans.

However, a generation or two of female singers, male singers, and songwriters have flourished in this century. And here we have to remember the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno, who in 1938 published his controversial essay Fetishism in music and the regression of hearing. The fetishism he refers to is a rereading of Marx, who pontificated on commodity fetishism. Adorno redefines music as a cultural product (commodity), and challenges a series of considerations about serious music and consumer music, concluding that aesthetic values ​​are relativized in Modernity, but remain subordinated to a prevailing morality.

This is not the place to go deeper into Adorno's considerations, but only to point out that these concerns were present at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. For many, Adorno's essay was a response to Walter Benjamin. the famous The work of art in the age of its technical reproducibility (1936) questioned important issues such as the aura of the unique work, copying, graphic, phonographic, cinematographic reproduction, etc. That is, there is no such thing as an “original” film, engraving or disc, only copies.

The disc died. The CD, its successor, takes its last breaths. Consumer music today is a virtual product, although none youtube of life has managed to displace live shows, in person, even with pandemics of ignorance. Party, dance is one thing, aesthetic fruition, appreciation of a work is another thing, as old Adorno wanted.

But what does Juçara Marçal have to do with this? All. The restless artist is much more than a singer. She plays, sings, composes, and is present in the main musical formations of the XNUMXst century São Paulo scene. From his research work and recreation of ancestral songs with the group A Barca, either in solo works or in rasping interactions with avant-garde musicians as in the group Metá Metá.

Juçara carries in itself the black ancestry. His compositions, his own or in partnership, refer to African entities, sounds and poetics. At the same time, she crosses the mainstream of MPB like a foreign body, without bowing to the dominant bossas. It revitalizes and adds to the pre-samba tradition contemporary sound experiments, with the right to all the distortions, noises, samplers and noises that traditionalists hate. As an interpreter, he illuminated songs by Mauricio Pereira (Trovoa) or Siba (Vale do Jucá) in a definitive way, but he always denied merchandise music, to be played on the radio.

Juçara refuses the dominant forms of popular music and works on a hypothetical intersection between past and future, in a very personal geography. She is not just an intuitive, but an academic, graduated in journalism and letters from USP. There's no doubt that she loves and respects the established masters, but she's not going to go around singing samba-canção. She puts herself, body and soul, at the service of inventing a new world of sound. One foot in Africa, the other on Mars.

Want to know more? I recommend listening attentively to his solo work Oritá Metá (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91yEqOwNwiY). It's all there, beautifully. And strangely beautiful.

* Daniel Brazil is a writer, author of the novel suit of kings (Penalux), screenwriter and TV director, music and literary critic.

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