Conversas com Marisa
In Interview with Francisco Bosco
Francisco: Marisa, I would like to start talking about the song "abre-alas" of the disc, "Ainda bem." I watched the clip in which you dance with Anderson Silva and I would like you to talk a little bit about what dance is for you, because dance appears many times in the disc, in some lyrics, to start in this clip.
Marisa: I think that dance is a musical body language. I love to dance and attended a few clubs here in Rio. I became familiar with this language, which is improvisation, surrender; because sometimes we dance with people we do not know. It is a physical response to music. There are songs that your body responds intuitively with movement ... this is dance. In the case of the dance in the clip, as the music is about the celebrating an encounter (“I am glad I found you”), I thought a couple dancing could represent well this idea. I wanted to invite Anderson because I knew he dance well. I had seen him performing as Michael Jackson before a fight, dancing with his daughter in her 15 years party and I identified him as a probable good partner. As I had to make the clip, I thought to call him but did not know if he would like the idea or if he could do it. Fortunately, everything flowed well and he accepted it. There is no choreography, we did not rehearse. That is really a physical conversation, led by music.
Francisco: And has he proved to be a good dancer?
Marisa: Great dancer. I think what he does in a fight has little to do with it, because you have to read the opponent's body. The fight is also a dialogue, as well as dancing. He has this very clear idea, mastering this language, and what I really liked is that even though he is an athlete, a champion of a fighting sport, the clip shows how delicate he can be. We can see he is gentle, elegant, and that's one thing I had seen through his voice. The first thing I told him when I met him was, "I love your voice." Because as he is too big, too strong, has this counterpoint with the voice. But I think it is his soul. This is what his spirit translates, that sweetness. So it's really nice to see him so light, so gentle, so sweet, in a world so feminine, so impact free
Francisco: Marisa, all the time It came to mind the famous quote from Nietzsche: “I would not trust a God who does not dance. "And your CD has very strong Nietzschean moments: the question of truth, the question of illusion ... truth, illusion, lie. It has an ethical issue that crosses the whole CD which is to try to hear more clearly your desire and take the consequences of it, whatever they are, no matter how serious they are…
Marisa: It is the question of individual commitment to happiness, that you will only be happy for yourself and nobody else. So, this is a responsibility of each one. There is everything what we have to bear as a result of choices, but it is very important that each one can figure out what is good for oneself. Obviously, there is no collective truth, but there is truth in the inward ... The truth only lies within.
Francisco: Before I met you personally, I had, and admiration for you as an artist, an admiration for your posture regarding a very strong issue in our culture, which is the celebrity culture. A cult of self-image often causes the person to lose sight of his desire, because he has to feed what is expected from his image. However, you always seemed like a person with a rare ability to do what it takes to take care of your image, in the sense of your work to reach as many people as possible. At the same time, you have an almost secret life, low profile. In this disc, it is as if your conduct had reached a maximum radicalism, as if you had not to explain anything that was not the nakedness of your desire, what you want for your life.
Marisa: I think this record speaks of many values. I do not confuse my person with my art. Today there is a big confusion between art and artist, as if that fine line that divides it no longer existed. But for me it still exists. Of course it is confused, it is clear that my work is very personal, of course that much of my life I bring to my artistic thought, but somehow I can separate them. In fact, I feel very comfortable in serving the music and not have that personal vanity of wanting to appear more than music. Of course I want to give my best and my work to be beautiful and well done. The music has been around for millions of years. It will continue and I'm just passing through, so I'm trying, somehow, to fulfill my role in this process.
Francisco: One thing that I love in "Ainda Bem" it is a very direct, very simple lyric and yet it has a turning point which is the line "tudo se transformou" (everything changed). This verse of the classic song of someone you love, Paulinho da Viola, is there in a peculiar way, because in Paulinho's song “tudo se transformou” it is a love that became a mismatch. In his, it was a close mismatch that suddenly becomes a match.
Marisa: Disillusionment that lit...
Francisco: So talking about it, what are the Brazilian or international composers you think are more present in the musical conversation of this disc.
Marisa: I do not know if it happened ... I think there are things I grew up listening to, things that I do not think, but are somehow working and acting there, floating. Nor is all mine. I have a group, a collection of authors, composers, and partners who worked with me. Somehow, they are collections that cross each other, because many of the situations described in the disc are not things that necessarily the three partners are living at the same time, but somehow everyone knows how it is. For example, find someone and feel that wonderful discovery. Most of my partners is of my generation and we grew up listening to Brazilian pop music and more traditional Brazilian music, from Dorival Caymmi, Noel Rosa, to Tim Maia, Roberto Carlos... Also Los Hermanos and other contemporary composers, through all stages of rock, like Titãs, Renato Russo, Cazuza... These are multiple experiences and I think that not only influences the music, but also what you read. It could be about the history of Brazil, could be fiction, could be romance...
Francisco: What do you most enjoy reading?
Marisa: I like Brazilian literature very much.
Francisco: Novel or poetry?
Marisa: I like novel best. I read poetry too, but I cling more to novels. I love Machado, José de Alencar, João Ubaldo... these are the things I read and read again. Sometimes a Latin American book appears and I read it too, but it's very nice reading a text that was originally written in Portuguese. I like that feeling more than reading translations. Of course I also read translations, but it's so nice when you find a text that was originally written by someone who speaks Portuguese. It is different. We know that João Ubaldo’s text in "Viva o povo brasileiro" will be translated to German, but it will never be read as we can read it here.
Francisco: This book is an especially great, right? Because it has multiple Portuguese languages within the same Portuguese, Portuguese of the sixteenth century...
Marisa: I have great admiration for João Ubaldo, he's amazing. I think that he is the Brazilian writer alive that I love most. I always read his column in the newspaper. Anyway, I read many books. I read a little of everything: Miguel Sousa Tavares, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Marquez, Darcy Ribeiro...
Francisco: There is partnership between you and Amarante in this album, with a hint of Brazilian pop music in the early 60s (jovem guarda), and has a composer that you are presenting to the greater public, which is André Carvalho ...
Marisa: In fact, Maria Gadú recorded a song that André plays frequently in the radio. He is the son of Dadi. When I started playing with Dadi, André was 12 years old. I've known Andrew for a long time and he is developing a language as a composer very interesting, very peculiar. I think the hardest thing for a composer is to find a particular way of expressing himself. He made his first album recently and the music that I recorded is in this album. I got this song in my head for days, like that: "Nothing, nothing, nothing, everything, everything, everything, everything, anything and everything, I do not know." That is, you know, truth - illusion... This relativity of things and this quest for accuracy of focus in a world so scattered... I was blown away, I learned to play it at home... It's always like that they end up in the albums. And then yesterday, I saw that he was quoted in the Brazilian Literature Academy, on [Pereira] Merval's taking office. Another academy member, Marcos Vilaça, used in his speech a piece of music that Maria Gadú recorded: “todos os caminhos trilham pra gente se ver, todas as trilhas caminham pra gente se achar” (all the paths for us to meet, all the tracks we go to find ourselves). I mean, this kid goes far (laughs).
Francisco: One thing I found striking is also the song "Verdade, uma ilusão" (Truth, an illusion), which is a kind of ballroom foxtrot. It has a reference to dance too ... it is a dance.
Marisa: It is also a dance, a conversation of two people who are dancing. It has this language...
Francisco: And there is this verse: "Verdade, seu nome é mentira" (Indeed, your name is lie). This song seems a little on Nietzsche in (Gafieira) Estudantina ... I want you to talk a bit about what you think of these ideas of truth - illusion. What is truth, what is illusion?
Marisa: Truth, according to my friend Ernesto Neto, it exists only when no one is looking, because, if someone is looking, it becomes version. So the truth exists only on an individual basis. There are several versions, there are individual truths, but not this absolute truth. Even laws of physics are questionable. Some time ago the world was square, it no longer is, the fastest thing that existed was the light, but it seems that it no longer is. So the truth is something that we're always looking, but it is always impossible to achieve. However, it lies within, it exists within each one of us. It is as if the person were experiencing all that loving delight, but knowing that everything is an invention of the mind. The person wants to live it, even though this may be all a bit fanciful and elusive.
Francisco: So illusion is the only truth. To use a word that you used when we talked and I think one of the most beautiful of the Portuguese language, this is a very easy album. It has something to free ourselves, free the other. It's not an album full of mazes; it is all clear, right?
Marisa: He talks about various subjects, but always in a way that flows. It is not problematic, it is well detached. It is light, well solved, "Seja Feliz" (Be happy). “Bem Aqui" (right here), "Hoje Eu Não Saio, Não" (Today I do not go out), "Ainda Bem" (Good), "Depois" (After), "Amar Alguém” (Loving Someone), "Aquela Velha Canção" (That old song). I think there is good life permeating all these songs, or at least have a will, a search of that good living, of enjoying. It's better like than not like, it is better to be happy than be sad, it's better solving than living problems. Because if you fight life, you lose.
Francisco: Life likes who likes it ... How do you see, within your path, this new album?
Marisa: I've done several albums, I've had several partners. I see that I have more control over the production means, I still have more experience and willingness to work. I have several ambitions ... I think I made this album at a very cool moment because I was more at home, I had time, I had a daughter. A very quiet, very pleasant moment, that I could live music, live the creation ... And read a lot, live affection, live love and be nourished. This detachment that I give when I get a time without traveling much is great because I see my life. You know when you're out of the storm, and you can look and have a clearer view? So it was a very good moment for me and I think it shows a concern to enjoy life, listen to my heart and find what's relevant to me in all the options that exist on this planet. Also because I think we live a moment with so much information that people's minds do not realize it.
Francisco: Well, how do you deal with it, Marisa? Because, like you said, we live in a very busy time, lots of information and people know that the history of thought and art is linked to idleness, emptiness, laziness. How do you protect yourself from it, from this excess of information? Do you try to create a vacuum in order to create?
Marisa: I try to open a space to create in everyday life ... An idea comes when you are driving, bathing, playing guitar alone... You keep that collection of ideas there, and sometimes when I meet a partner, there are things that I've started doing that we do together.
Francisco: Do you hear music a lot?
Marisa: It's funny because it has a specific dynamics... When I play less, I hear more, and vice versa. When I record a lot, I listen less, because I'm in the studio all day and when I come home at night I do not want more music. I want to be quiet, read a book. But music is always present. Now I have heard quite a lot because I'm not in the studio all day, so I can be willing to listen, my ear is willing to listen …
Francisco: Always song or jazz, classical music...?
Marisa: I hear a lot of classical music. I really like piano. Chopin, Philip Glass, Debussy, a concert ... and I listen to music of all time, like jazz, but I have also heard Melody Gardot, an American singer I find very interesting, Pink Martini, Antony & The Johnsons, Regina Spektor, Adele. .. I'll hear different things. I buy many songs in iTunes: Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Dusty Springfield, José Gonzales, Kings of Convenience, Mané do Cavaco, Mina, Nat King Cole, Originais do Samba, Tom Jobim, Dona Ivone,
Clementina... For me, this is very nice facility today. Because I confess that I was too lazy to import all my CDs into the computer. So today, if I want to hear something, I can buy on the spot. It's very practical. So, you know, occasionally I feel like hearing something I did not hear for a long time, like Simon and Garfunkel. I'll go there and buy, I can hear again, remember how it is...
Francisco: At one point, Clarice Lispector did interviews with people and was a bit sadistic because it was impossible questions. I will now make a bit of Clarician sadism with you, okay? They are very simple questions, but the most impossible ones. So, I wanted to make two or three for you. To start with, what is music?
Marisa: For me it is a means of expression, communication, transmission of wisdom, philosophy, thought, a way of uniting people. Music are waves full of emotions, poetry. It's interesting because the matter of music is very abstract. It's not like poetry written on paper, sculpture of a matter, a painting which is paint on a canvas, something that is palpable. At the same time it has a transforming power so great ... At least in my life, it is totally transforming.
Francisco: the last question from Clarice: what is love?
Marisa: Love is a form of intelligence.
Francisco: Andy Warhol used to say that being pop is to like things…
Marisa: That's it! Liking is good.