THE SAO PAULO Tapes is the first and only record so far to be produced by ROBERT WYATT.
WHAT IS THE SÃO PAULO TAPES ALBUM ABOUT?
Robert helped Mônica put together an album of Brazilian resistance songs. Resistance as in cultural resistance. Mônica also calls them resilience songs, or revolution songs.
They are songs written by some of the giants of Brazilian Popular Music in response to 21 years of military dictatorship in Brazil (1964-1985). For many, those were oppressive, dangerous times. Political rights were suspended. There was heavy censorship and serious human rights violations.
The military dictatorship coincided with one of the most creative periods in Brazilian culture. So, the response that came from our much loved Brazilian song poets - among them, Chico Buarque, João Bosco, Aldir Blanc, Ivan Lins, Taiguara and Caetano Veloso - was a collection of masterpieces which will stand forever as monuments to universal values.
The São Paulo Tapes songs are beautiful and incredibly current. For Monica, doing this album with Robert was an opportunity to blend unique ingredients: deep Brazil and Robert Wyatt. Robert hasn't, unlike Mônica, grown up with these songs. So he was able to listen to them with fresh ears... informed by his own and incredibly rich musical experience.
LOVE. FREEDOM. JUSTICE.
The São Paulo Tapes album has no sad songs. Born out of anger and pain, but life affirming, they soothe and move you. Like art can do.
On the album booklet, each song comes beautifully introduced by David Treece, who teaches
Brazilian culture and literature at King's College London. This way, English speakers can really feel their beauty and power. And appreciate how relevant they are in the world today.
São Paulo born Brazilian singer and songwriter Mônica Vasconcelos has been living in the UK for over a decade. She has recorded 7 albums to date.Her musical journey includes partnerships with, amongst others, UK rock legend Robert Wyatt (on her album "Hih") and Brazilian master guitarist and composer Guinga (on her album "Gente"). She can also be heard singing the duet “Just As You Are” with Robert on his album "Comicopera”.
She has toured the UK with Guinga and has sung in London with Brazilian bossa nova icons João Donato and Marcos Valle. Leading her bands Nóis and Nóis 4, Mônica has played support gigs for Bryan Ferry, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim,Joyce, Gilberto Gil and Courtney Pine. She was featured as a guest singer alongside major Brazilian stars such as Lenine, Zélia Duncaan, Ney Matogrosso and Joyce on Rio composer Alberto Rosenblit's album "De Bem Com a Vida".In the UK, she has performed at major venues such as Ronnie Scott's jazz club, the Barbican Hall and the Jazz Cafe. She has also played a headline gig at Peter Gabriel's Womad world music festival and performed at major UK jazz festivals such as Brecon Jazz, Chelthenham Jazz, Southport International Jazz Festival and The Sage International Jazz Festival, in Newcastle.
In 2010, leading her new feelgood retro-groove band Vintage Brazil, Mônica played a string of Summer gigs around England, including the City of London Festival and the Bury St Edmunds Festival.
On April 2011, Mônica performed alongside her quartet Hih and guests at the prestigious Kings Place, in London. The concert was a celebration of Samba, the national Brazilian style. It featured original compositions and music by A.C. Jobim, Heitor Villa Lobos, Robert Wyatt and others, as well as poetry by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Mário de Andrade. The poems were specially translated for the event by Kings College professor David Treece.
In the early Summer of 2014, she released the London Bossa DVD, which features a music performance and a documentary. It brings together some of Mônica's long standing collaborators and friends, and celebrates their 20 years of music-making in the London where they all met. Among the DVD guests are Steve Lodder, Ife Tolentino, Paul Jayasinha, Chris Wells, Dudley Phillips, Adriano Adewale and Robert Wyatt.
On June 12th, Mônica and her London Bossa Collective played a moving concert in Trafalgar Square, celebrating the opening of the World Cup in Brazil. In that same month, she won Gold at the 2014 New York Festivals International Radio Programme Awards for the documentary "The Secret History of Bossa Nova", which she presented on BBC Radio 4 in September 2013.
Mônica’s new album is "The São Paulo Tapes". Produced by Robert Wyatt, The Sao Paulo Tapes is a selection of songs written by some of Brazil's greatest song poets as a response to the military dictatorship that took over the country between 1964 and 1985.