By José Oliviera, Rock At Night France Correspondent
It was an exciting night, with JAZZHAUS Records presenting to his German audience, ALINE FRAZAO, the newest member of the famous label! She was born in Angola but her inspiration drives her to insular musical landscapes such as Brazil, Green Cape or even Cuba. She cames to Freiburg to play INSULAR, her third album and the first recorded for world distribution by this German label.
A great and exciting tropical adventure of a woman who pretends to read the stars and the sky.
Rock At Night (RAN) went to Germany to have a chat with this new African pearl—and boy, was she surprise when RAN correspondent Jose Oliveira lent her 10 old EP’s of traditional Angolan music from the early-1970s.
THE INTERVIEW–ALINE FRAZAO
RAN – Why did you choose SCOTLAND to record this last work?
AF – Well, in fact, it was a process the choice between Jura Island or Scotland. I was working with Carlos Seixas, the promoter of the MUSICAS DO MUNDO Festival (World’s Music) in Sines (Portugal). He was a very important piece to guide me a little in the road for this third record. Carlos was in touch with Gilles Perring, a British Producer in Woolmax and he liked another recording he did at that place. So, he was so delighted with the idea to return at Jura Island to work. Me too. Well, I had this imaginary idea of insularity from longtime. And a will of doing really a crossing for other aesthetics. To learn other things, for not stagnating a little in the language where I move.
Then Gilles cames to Germany and join me on my last German Spring Tour. Things fit very well and it was really an incredible opportunity to go until that special place, (Jura Island) for many reasons. One of them, it was where George Orwell once wrote his novel “ 1984”! A very important book for me! We recorded INSULAR there but concerning the voices, I got sick later with the cold climate of Jura, and he went to Lisbon to finish the work.
RAN– Even with great British Musicians there, you decided to invite LINDA MARTINI’s guitar player, Pedro GONCALVES. What was your intention?
AF- Pedro was a suggestion of CAPICUA, one of the greatest Portuguese Rapers (born in PORTO) and had written some lyrics in this work. She wrote the song ” A Louca ” and I also participated in her previous record. We are partners for a long time and she talked me about Pedro’s work. Well, I knew LINDA MARTINI’s Band, an emblematic Portuguese Punk Rock Band. I thought that it was a perfect opportunity not to lost, because Pedro dominates an entire palette of electric guitars’effects!! You know, I came from the Acoustic world, then for me, it was a new world and a step to explore new sounds. Pedro, was really fantastic, because he entered enough inside my music world, doing of them a little yours also. It was a very important piece in the arrangements. I admit that these unlikely encounters attract me a lot. Joining people that don’t come from World Music universe, that haven’t the same background of me. I think that’s really interesting, because usually, musicians always seek for other partners of the same musical universe! I tried a little to leave that way and seek for new families. My last work has to do with it.
RAN – I heard that you haven’t been in LUANDA (ANGOLA’s capital) for a while! Did this happen due to ANGOLA’s Political situation?
AF – By chance, I went to Luanda after that concert in your home town (Coimbra) and I made some concerts there and in the south of Angola, in Lubango. I return with a lot of frequency to Luanda. The political situation in Angola didn’t interfere in anything with my departures or with my permanence there. Neither even with my work, my writing. Everything follows its normality. At least, now!
RAN– Well, do you pretend to be an engaged singer?
AF – Yes, I want to be! I think the commitment is important, mainly in Countries as ours in Angola. I have faith a lot in that NINA SIMONE’s sentence, “ The Artists have to be inserted in their time and they must sing what happens in the world”! Each one of us in his own way, obviously. I don’t have a very explicit form of activism. I’m not so frontal. It is not part of my musical project, although I write my opinions every week in an Angola’s newspaper called “REDE ANGOLA”. Well yes, in a more explicit way, I feel it, but as an Artist, as a citizen, I am committed with Angola…I think is very important for all of us, to give ourselves our contribution, inside that we know, inside that we do. That’s the only way to get a better country! ANGOLA will be better if its Youth will contribute for that. Nobody else could do them job. We really have to assume that commitment, in a peaceful way to put the ship on a good wave, on a right direction!!
RAN – That’s what happened these last days in Paris, with the movement “LA NUIT DEBOUT” People standing every night at Place de la Republique, to create an “Ideas Laboratory”, trying to debate about new society formulas!!!
AF– It seems very interesting. I didn’t hear anything about!
RAN – Your lyrical and musical relationship with ANGOLA is quite important, even if some of the rhythms hug other landscapes like CAPE GREEN (CABO VERDE), CUBA or BRAZIL. What’s your feeling about?
AF– As much Cape Green as Brazil healthy part of my own family origin. I have a grandfather from Cape Green and a Grandmother from Brazil. And part of the family was born in Portugal and Angola. Those are my roots. But I consider that the Angolan Music as if it was the trunk-line, mainly in the writing’s side because I adore the Angolan Literature. And that has a very accentuated weight in my work. From the beginning of my career, Angola was always very present in my records. Musically, it’s a round trip game. Sometimes more explicit and other more interpretative. I like to hear traditional music. It’s really a great way of inspiration on my work. At the same time, my generation is a little away from these roots. Luanda is a big city, receiving multiple influences of people coming from other countries. I also travel a lot. Musically, I have no limits. I like to put a feet on the Jazz way and other in the music of Green Cape or Brazil!
RAN– Did you learn some African dialect languages?
AF– I belong to a generation that didn’t learn those languages but I like a lot singing some parts of it in my concerts . Well, “SUSANA”, the last song of this last work “INSULAR”, written by Belita Palma and her sister Rosita, is an emblematical theme from the Angola popular music. It was the first time I dared to record in KIMBUNDU dialect! With a strict obligation of sitting down near the author, explaining to me the words, learning to pronounce the closest possible. Made my possible to sound well for the oldest. A question of respect! That was really a sort of a contract and at the same time, a big challenge!
RAN – How could you define your musical style?
AF– A melting pot of different cultures. With African roots but always facing to Jazz or Bossa Nova, that had also influenced a lot my musical style. We didn’t feel it so much on this record. Much more on my two previous ones. I am so open to all the aesthetics and I like to conserve the freedom to choose. If tomorrow, I should like to do something more classical, pure, I will do it. Even something completely acoustic, with African percussions. I have to stay in that musical way because of my authorial music status! You know, every time we rushed in this creative adventure of doing a record, our life will change. To be honest, it’s very important to maintain all the doors open! To enter and leave when we want!
RAN– That’s your first recording for the label JAZZHAUS Records. So, tonight, it’s an important venue. It makes you feel at home!
AF– Totally! It’s the first time I came to Freiburg! It was very curious arriving to the city. We had many long months of business talking with Jazzhaus people. So, it was normal to be happy when I knew that I will play here. Sure, you’re right, I feel at home. Everybody is so kind and cool with me and the band. We’re waiting for a homelike audience tonight. I am now linked with Jazzhaus Records Germany. They bet in this record for a world distribution, except for Portugal. (Working with Valentim de Carvalho Records)
RAN– That insular situation, took you to learn through the stars in the sky! What does you see in them by these nights?
AF– ( Laughs) Excellent question! The sky has been very cloudy lately! It’s a little difficult to do a clear reading! I am not properly a specialist in that matter. It’s a little hard to decipher that.
RAN– May be the announcement of a brilliant future! With so many surprises…
AF– I hope so! But you know, I walk on Earth. Not yet on the Moon. (laghs)
RAN– Like this beautiful surprise I did to you tonight. To lending you these 10 EP’s from ANGOLA. I bought these records during my 2 years of Army in Angola in 1971!! It was written in the stars! Who knows?
AF – I am completely delighted and I don’t know how to thank you! And it’s the first time we see each other!!! Incredible! Certain, is a loan, but that honors me so much the trust you deposit in me! (Her eyes became shooting stars, looking to these oldest Angola musical roots)
RAN– What are your plans for the future?
AF– Stay on the road, touring, still learning, discovering new audiences. Talking with more people and journalists as you. Spoon the results of this long work that I have been doing along this last year with this record ” INSULAR “. Perform in beautiful stages like here tonight! Still searching the messages hidden in the stars, trying to found an answer!
RAN– ALINE, Would you like to give a message to AMERICA?
AF – I would like to invite you all to listen to my music, to my new record “INSULAR”, which was made with a lot of love. I hope that you click the play bottom and have some fun listening to all these songs and hopefully, who knows, maybe this year coming for the first time to the USA, to present my work. Our management is talking about New York probably next year. Why not Florida also?
RAN– Many thanks!
- So Silêncio
- O Som do Jacarandà
- Império Perdido
- O Que Ela Quer
- O Homem Que Queria Um Barco
- Sol de Novembro
- A Ultima Bossa
- Primeiro Mundo
- A Louca
- Prosa da Situaçao
ALINE FRAZAO: guitar, Vocals
FRANCISCO REBELO: Bass Guitar
MARCO POMBINHO: Keyboards, Guitar
MIROCA PARIS: Drums, Percussions
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WOW, Jose, thanks so much for this interview. I am a new fan of this remarkable songstress. Totally LOVE her! I hope she comes to Florida, would love to see her live.