That the seemingly oracular Brasilian lyricist and musician Mãe da Lua is in tune with the environment where in the world she may be is clear from this extraordinary recording by Matteo Crugnola Kalibé. Taking her name from the rare and magical bird of the Amazon which can shut its eyes and yet “see” and yet see “everything” around it Mãe da Lua seems to draw on shamanistic power hidden in the jungles of Brasil to let her beguiling sound world unfold everywhere, as she seemingly embraces the mind’s ear. With repetitious words and phrases – even vocal chants and more elemental whispers, and sounds that are rich in harmonic humming – Mãe da Lua brings a silken mix of elemental melodies, together with African-inspired rhythms and Guarani wisdom to her music.
The music of this recording is like a shifting, swirling wind that blows across the topography of any space where its echoes briefly reside. Its air is sculpted by the woody sound of flutes of every kind and tonal colour. When melded in with guitar, cavaquinho, charango, oud and violin, or the more sophisticated reeds and woodwind instruments, punctuated by the Amazonian heartbeat mimicked by gourds and other percussion the voice of Mãe da Lua and an accompanying choir of adults and children seemingly pierce the membrane of the mind as this ensemble raises its music into a stratospheric realm, while magically still remaining rooted to the earth. Mãe da Lua sings in a voice that is neither elegant or sophisticated, but her songs have a naked honesty and in our tenuous relationship with nature, sound urgent too.
Through all of this music the most remarkable aspect of it all is its simplicity of melody and idiom. With every sound – whether a melodic creation, an attempt to harmonise, or a pulse that is in tune with the heartbeat of Mãe da Lua and the rest of the musicians – this music seems to communicate unfettered wonderment and deep joy. None of that requires any translation or decoding. And yet everything that matters is understood in the echo of the sound, the colour and timbre of the eternal percussion, the age-old ngoni, the guembri, the pandeiro and every other instrument, and especially in the living breath of Mãe da Lua’s vocalastics that seem to exist in a musical and existential continuum.
Track list – 1: Universo; 2: Tudo Gira; 3: Punu-Punu; 4: Indignawa; 5: Renovo; 6: Poção Musistica; 7: Tudo Sente; 8: Aldeia; 9: Banho de Lua; 10: Respire; 11: Xamando; 12: Guaracy; 13: Agua; 14: Infinito
Personnel – India Mãe da Lua: voice, flutes, percussions, ngoni; Matteo Crugnola: guitars, charango, cavaquinho, percussions, kalimbas, sitar, bass, sounds; Ermanno Panta: flute, sax, pandeiro; Linda & Sergio: voice (8); Marco Modica: violin (5, 9, 12, 13); Joaquín Sánchez Gil: clarinet (10); Andrea Stanzione: double bass (13); Imad: guembri (4); Alex Dell’Aglio: snare & charleston (6); Maggie, Valentina, Astrid, Elisa, and many more: choir (3, 6, 12)
Released – 2017
Label – Kalibé
Runtime – 48:49