Disc series: Anastácia Azevedo
“Mistress of Rain”
"Sea, sky, family and friends -- these are all motifs passing through many songs on our albums...as expressions of saudade. This kind of saudade is defined by positive memories. But there's also another kind of saudade that really hurts, if you long for someone you would like to see again."
Our new album is called "Amanaiara". Amanaiara means “Senhor das Chuvas/Lord of the Rain."
In Northeast Brazil, rain stands for saturation and abundance. Rain moistens the earth and paints it green. For me, "Amanaiara" symbolizes growth and development; the desire for improvement of the life experience.
I learned about the name Amanaiara for the first time at school, in a book about folklore.
The Indians from Ceará (my home region) used to call the Jesuit priest Padre Pinto "Amanaiara," to underline his authority.
I also like the name because of the special, balanced sound, each syllable containing an "A". For me, the word represents openness and femininity.
For me, rain also means fertility, regeneration and a moment of deliverance, like crying.
A line from the song "Pé de Côco" (Zé Eugênio) tells a story about this transition: "No frio da chuva desce do céu o alívio em águas, como no coração, calor que é do céu, o alívio em lágrimas/Cold rain falls from the sky, relief in water, like the heart is hot, and finds relief in tears."
THE LANGUAGE OF RAIN
"Chuva de matar sapo/Rain which kills frogs" is a figure of speech, meaning heavy, strong and enduring rain.
People are afraid that this mysterious rain could bring them catastrophes. In this case, people to pray to Santa Bárbara and S. Jerônimo.
There are also other expressions in the text, like "Chuva no mar/Rain at the sea." It simply symbolizes waste (because water is falling on water, not on the needy earth).
There is also: "Apaga-poeira", light rain, and "Vento aracati," which is a special wind, a sign which predicts a good winter.
None of these expressions reveal their meaning at first sight.
"Chuva feminina" means female rain. That's my own expression, in reference to a figure of speech.
As I already mentioned, the Indians from Ceará believe that "Senhor da chuva" is the one controlling the rain. "Senhora de chuva" is my adaptation for the story of the album. Amanaiara is the Lord of the Rain and in this story, I am the Mistress of the Rain.
"No frio da chuva desce do céu o alívio em águas, como no coração, calor que é do céu, o alívio em lágrimas/Cold rain falls from the sky, relief in water, like the heart is hot, and finds relief in tears."
In this album, I'm associating "saudade" with many emotions. I'm missing my roots and sometimes I need to travel home, to kill the saudade.
Sea, sky, family and friends -- these are all motifs passing through many songs on our albums, "Lumerê Lumerá" (1999) and "Amanaiara" (2004), as expressions of saudade. This kind of saudade is defined by positive memories.
But there's also another kind of saudade that really hurts, if you long for someone you would like to see again. These kinds of feelings are often my inspirations for writing new songs.
I haven't lost my roots by moving to Berlin. The possibility of taking a look at Brazil from another perspective really enriched my life. I actually became more aware of my roots.
I don't regret leaving Brazil. That's the way life goes. Me and my husband Zé Eugênio have been adapting to Berlin very well. We got to know a different culture.
Most of our inspiration comes from our everyday lives. It is a possibility for me and my partner Zé Eugênio to transform our thoughts in poems and music. Nevertheless, it is a lot of work.
The composing process varies: One of us writes the lyrics and the other proposes a melody for it. The lyrics are inspired by many things: books, our own experiences or just experimenting with words.
I wrote two songs on Amanaiara: "Raios de Sol" and "O Rio." The inspirations for them were my own experiences.
Côco, Xote, Baião, Xaxado are all different types of rhythms from Northeast Brazil. Forró is a festival where these rhythms are played.
On my new album, the rhythm of “Pé de Côco“ is Côco. "Amanaiara" is a Xote and the rhythm of "O Rio/The River" is Baião.
(Zé Eugenio / Anastácia Azevedo)
Com seus sinais de chuva
Floraço do Juazeiro é bom sinal
Calango suado é sinal de chuva
Chuva é bom sinal, chuva é bom sinal
Chuva do cajú no mar
Em janeiro sol com chuva
A neblineira apaga poeira
Na chuva de matar sapo em trovoadas
A trovejada já em fevereiro
Lá em Juazeiro.
As mentioned, "Amanaiara" is an overview about different common images of rain from Ceará; what the rain is like, when it comes or doesn't come. Also, the lyrics of "Amanaiara" give a description of the landscape.
For us, the people of Northeast Brazil, the Amanaiara (Rain) has an important significance: it's a desire and a necessity, for the crops, for nourishment. It stands for growth in general and the blooming of life.
As "The Mistress of Rain," I pray for life to improve for everyone. This is my female message for everyone who takes the time to listen to us.
We're collecting new and old, unreleased musical ideas, songs and poems, to develop new concepts. But, for the moment, we're just very busy with tour concerts in Germany.
"As 'The Mistress of Rain,' I pray for life to improve for everyone. This is my female message for everyone who takes the time to listen to us."
Artist bio: Singer/songwriter Anastácia Azevedo was born and grew up in Brazil. She moved to Berlin in 1990, and studied singing at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler for five years. While studying in Brazil, she played clubs in and around Fortaleza until she and partner Zé Eugênio left Fortaleza to move to Berlin permanently. With mutual friend Iberé, they founded Brazilian cultural center Quilimbo.
Their original music program, heavy on standards of Musica Brasileira Popular, changed in 1992, when they began penning original songsets, combining the rhythms of Brazil with new influences in jazz and funk.
Azevedo often uses rhythms common in northeastern Brazil -- Baiao, Maracutu and Samba -- in her work. Azevedo recorded debut album "Lumerê Lumerá" in the winter of 1999, laying down sunny, samba-tinged tracks while the snow piled up outside the studio.
Her latest project, "Amanaiara" is based on a series of narrative texts reflecting Azevedo’s philosophical outlook on life, love, saudade, nature, family and the commonality of human experience.
Contact/Booking agency: Griot (DE)
Read in-depth profiles with other artists, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".