As a teenager I discovered Brazil studying Villa Lobos’s music, along with Baden Powell, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Choros, Sambas, but also through literature:
Flávio Moreira da Costa, Jorge Amado, Holdemar Menezes among many others.
Villa Lobos was like a “barefoot Mozart” to me. He traveled all across this beautiful and rich country to create a unique musical style rooted into the wide musical streams; from Rio de Janeiro to the Rain Forest.
He had a lot of “non-intellectual” ways to compose – what he used to call the Natural way – and new approaches to the different instruments he composed for.
Like Gershwin, he was not a guy from a rich family, playing guitar in bars and in the streets to make money. He used to tell a lot of stories about his travels in the Rain Forest, about cannibals chasing him and other funny things… His work encompasses a good dose of humor and a constant search for Brazil’s music soul.
Brazil became a dream and imagine my emotions, when for the first time, I toured there in 1998.
It was the first of many tours and a life experience in which learning the language, making friends and collaborating with several artists made Brazil my second country.
In 2000 the meeting with the great Bossa Nova singer Denise Pinaud gave birth to a duet. We first met at the “Winter Festival” in Rio de Janeiro. After my concert, Denise came to meet me with her husband Luis, who is a lawyer. She wanted to have me playing on her next album but, as I had an extensive tour, we decided to record when the tour will be over.
In the studio, for fun, I started to sing Bossa Nova in French and she loved it! Supported by her produder Durval Fereira, we seriously thought about mixing our different languages, we toured intensely, played on TV shows and eventually recorded this CD in Rio de Janeiro.
That has been for me the start of a huge career in Brazil: everybody wanted to have me! Even the techno-band “Ze Maria” with who I toured and recorded. Incredible concerts with the whole audience dancing! And ending the nights on the beach… playing music and feeling in harmony with the whole world.
Thus, I played with Kuko Moureira, Fabio Santo, Durval Fereira, Mauricio Pinheiro, Ton Sobre Tom…
Visiting the country was like magic. Everything is possible in Brazil and, like wrote Jorge Amado, if God exists he is Brazilian. The arts and sensuality are everywhere. From the degustation of a “Prato de Verao” – a plate of fresh fruits – with coffee to the “Doce de Coco”… people at night on the beach listening to a Choro group… Brazil was running in my vein.
Denise and her family became like an extension of mine and they used to come to spend Christmas, New Year or summer with us in France. Our kids became good friends and are still in touch nowaday!
Join us for an Imaginary Travel, from the Choros to the Voodoo Music.
Philippe, June 2009.