Ney matogrosso

Wassily Kandinsky, Elevation, 1929.


Commentary on the artistic trajectory of the singer and actor

Since 1973, Ney Matogrosso has been part of my show. At the age of 10, starting the fifth year of high school and listening to “Mulher Barriguda” by Secos & Molhados. Latin blood sending a “Rose from Hiroshima” to militarized Brazil. With “Primavera nos Dentes”, the musical group sang “Amor”, “Angústia”, “o Doce e o Amargo”. “Astral Flowers” ​​in several sound flights. “From João's Music Box” to “Toada & Rock & Mambo and Tango & Etc.”, Ney, Gérson Conrad and João Ricardo came to shake our radiolas.

A sonic “delirium” that, like a “Cosmic Prayer”, played “As Andorinhas”. The Secos & Molhados Group, biographed by Miguel de Almeida, engendered “a behavioral fact” that was discordant, with its rebellious iconography. In the music scene of the time when they caused shocks, they created not “just a music show”. According to the biographer of the “oneiric journey” they conducted, “the songs and the group's posture went beyond the entertainment universe and gained political status by breaking paradigms”.

And the journey continued with the solo career of the unclassifiable Ney Matogrosso. A strange guy, lulled by the madness of someone who swears that it's better not to be a "normal". A naughty angel of the backlight. An individual of sociological relevance, worthy of a citation in a class on Émile Durkheim and his sociology of the moral order, of integration. Unraveling social masks, Ney played for us to think about what is “underneath the cloth”. A revealing sound to annoy those who “turn the whole country into a whorehouse” with a view to earning a lot of money. A fly in the ointment.

“I only know how to be subversive”. Ney's subjectivation in Naked eye, film by Joel Pizzini. The character transitions from the limelight to the screen. Ney lover, politician, ecologist. Feathers, stones, horns, bush, river and sea frame the scenario where he lives, works and is photographed. The photograph shows the man animal “on the Matogrosso farm, in Saquarema, in Rio de Janeiro, in connection with nature”. “Is it a forest Bowie?” asks Rita Lee. Nelson Motta says: “Ney is a homegrown animal,…”. An artist attentive to the signs of his historical time. The marginal, the exaggerated and the madman who sings a love song with the bandit kiss of a heart Gypsy. In the cinema, he incorporated the “red light bandit”, around him, in light in darkness, directed by Helena Ignez and Ícaro Martins. Banditry sounded with spell and torn sin giving titles to LP's, CD's and digital sound recordings of his career.

Ney signs as an artist. He sings, dances, lights and directs. Theatrical, performative. A showman. His shows travel across Brazil and feature a neat finish. Light design, costumes, projections and other scenic elements receive the mark of professional Ney and in tune with the stage space. Meaningful places to release your fantasies, ghosts and fears. Shows to hear his vocal uniqueness and see his potent presence on stage. Style and personality of a restless performer. Chameleon. The qualitative artistic standard of his works receives the touch of virtuosic instrumentalists and composers alongside whom he walks the road. “I don't know how to improvise. I improvise from a lot of rehearsal”. From the base of the record, Ney puts together the show, takes his block to the streets and goes on long-lasting and successful tours due to the prestige he achieved with an audience of different generations. “A complete artist who created a unique and powerful theatrical persona as a vehicle for his amazing vocal skills and his free, courageous and provocative sensitivity”, in the view of Nelson Motta.

A reverent artist, he released albums in honor of musical personalities who make up his mind and are his influences. Rádio dos Orlandos and Dalvas is remembered in her auditory memories. Sounds heard since the days of the paternal house. Evocations of Carmen Miranda. Angela Maria, Chico Buarque, Tom Jobim, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Cartola received phonographic tributes in Ney's reinterpretations. Musical visit to the “museums of great novelties”. He is a promoter of intergenerational encounters. I remember the “Vagabundo” project, a partnership with the band Pedro Luís e a Parede. It is the “corner in any corner”. They proposed to remove Jesus from the cross, representative of our daily crucified ones.

In decolonial sound perspectives, of indigenous ancestry, Ney vocalized an awakening of South America. In his memoirs, in an interlocution with Ramon Nunes Mello, he cites the song “Deus salve a América do Sul” as he considers it “prophetic in relation to the political and social situation in which we find ourselves”. A Brazilian with a civil heart, outraged by the paradoxical “there are hungry people”. “Lighthouse eyes” launched by the sensitive lens of those who see “Misery in Japan” and “A Cara do Brasil” which is not just the South Zone of Rio. Visual acuity to see that the world has the flu. Ney, with art, vocalizes “a different perception of life”. It represents the positive contagion with the “memory of other perspectives of the world”. In the company of Ailton Krenak's lyrics, I'm talking about brilliant people who “are the cure for the planet's fever”. In the words of Caetano Veloso, Ney is “…a fascinating human being, a person who enhances the perception of our life as a society”.

On Jackson do Pandeiro's soundtrack, if it's samba they want, he sings. From a “rock singer”, he goes to the drumming of a samba ripped from the “vulture malandro”. Ney transits through several genres, in addition to musicals. The singer's feminine voice singing the affirmative "Homem com H", in 1981, constituted a political provocation based on the masculinity he performed. The vocal androgyny and the turns of her swaying and swaying. The pearl fisherman, “with a tie and red fingernails”, challenges the squares, the squares and their binary mental schemes. “I am a man, I am an animal, I am a woman”. “Is it a tropical mermaid?”, “Is it a scandalous starlet?”. Rita Lee's questions about someone who generates estrangement. Dare to be in the use of “libido as a weapon”.

In the sexual history of Brazilian popular music, Ney is highlighted by Rodrigo Faour. The evolution of love and sex in the Brazilian songbook has its historian and its damned “strays”. In theatrical scenes of explicit lewdness, Ney provokes the audience and lays bare the scenic sex he was starring in: “I had a sexual desire for the audience. I wanted to fuck all those people”. A walking metamorphosis. A creature performing that being that stopped being a man “to become a werewolf”. Ney is among the wantons in paradise, by João Silvério Trevisan. “Homosexuality in Brazil, from the colony to the present”, references Ney's name in the part “the art of being ambiguous”. In the “histories of damn love”, Ney's off-key tone epigraphs the 1970s, a time in which “the gay rage erupts”: “I didn't come to clarify anything. What I can confuse, I confuse”. It is for these and other reasons that he bothered some father figures. In Tie and red nail, a film by Miriam Chnaiderman, Johnny Luxo is emphatic: “My father was terrified, terrified, terrified of Ney Matogrosso”.

Ney is a subject of study in the human and social sciences. In a Sociology thesis, Flávio de Araújo Queiroz presents Ney Matogrosso in “against-the-way feeling, transgression and artistic autonomy”. Analysis of a path that points to “the social construction of a transgressive body and the process of legitimizing the singer's artistic autonomy in relation to the moral censorship intensified during the military regime”. In a historiographical text, Robson Pereira da Silva penetrates the “erotics in the body and on stage of Ney Matogrosso”. To remember the Brazilian cinema, “no malice will be punished” is the title of the article in which Robson states: “the carnivalization of interdiction was used by Ney Matogrosso as an instrument of expression of erotic impulses that tended to be muffled by a permanent repressive morality”. In the company of Julio Maria’s lyrics, in Ney’s biography, released in 2021, the year in which the singer turns 80, his biographer states: “more than a stage device, the nude became an act of affirmation”.

“I don't play the role of saint, not even for my family”. From Rita Lee's composition to the singer's thoughts on her “telepathic friend”: “Ney is the most chic, mysterious and sexy Brazilian artist”. Nelson Motta follows Rita's trail: “he IS male and female, elegant and bagaceiro, popular and sophisticated, rocker, sambista, forrozeiro, emepebista, romantic, political and sensual”. In his “crooked ways”, breaking treaties, breaking protocols and betraying rites, Ney was winning in a model artistic trajectory. “A purebred mongrel” swimming against the current and for whom the important thing “is not to be beaten”. Naked with his music, he resists caeting and singing his motto: “Certainly growing old with a healthy mind, renewing myself day by day, every morning, Having pleasure, keeping my body healthy… But I will never put an end to boy in me, and not even give up, no longer marvel at the sea and sky of life and be all being, and relive every cry of love and sex…”.

*Francisco de Oliveira Barros Junior is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI).


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