São Paulo (Associated Press) – Ni Matogrosso’s calm, collected voice off the stage makes it hard for anyone unfamiliar with his art to know that he was one of Brazil’s most rebellious and innovative artists nearly 50 years ago.
Inspired by Japanese kabuki theatre, Mato Grosso painted his face in the early 1970s and gave dazzling performances as the leader of the band Sikos e Mulhados, which was a mixture of pop and rock and roll, far from well-known Bossa artists. Samba. Later, as a reputable soloist, he made no secret of his homosexuality on stage and became a beacon to many other people who found it difficult to be openly homosexual.
Throughout his career, Mato Grosso has maintained that the creative spirit and ingenuity of Brazil have been essential material to his music. But for several years he felt that his country was falling backwards. He also says so in the US, where he will perform the 80’s this month in different cities. On Sunday, it will be one of the highlights of the Capital One City Parks Foundation’s Free SummerStage Concert Series in Central Park, New York.
“It seems that the gates of hell are open for both countries,” Matogrosso told The Associated Press in a recent phone interview. He is referring to the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which has openly mocked minorities and will run for re-election in October in Brazil, and former US President Donald Trump, whose divisive influence remains on American society, according to the singer.
“We see this radical trend in both countries at the moment. It is still spreading all over the world. But I am sure that one day this trend will disappear. Evolution is not a straight line. It is like a vortex,” said Matogrosso. Neither my music nor I should be optimistic, but I need that vision, to believe that something better will happen.”
Matogrosso’s latest album, “Nu Com Minha Música” (Naked With My Music), is titled song by Grammy Award winner Caetano Veloso. Optimism about the country’s future is evident throughout the album, which is out of tune with a nation that has been in deep economic crisis for nearly eight years, the second with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 and more than 33 million people. who live hungry.
“I see a clear path to Brazil, despite the pain. Vertigo visions need no one to follow. Naked with my music out of that only love. I can see certain things from where I am,” the song says in Portuguese.
Mato Grosso said he plans to “Nu Com Minha Música” before Bolsonaro comes to power in 2019.
One song talks about a lot of hungry people. “I wonder if it was an obsession, we didn’t have that stage at the time,” the singer said. “People starving in Brazil is really unforgivable. We can grow anything here.”
The Brazilian singer believes that, despite the current difficult times, the freedom of the younger generation will not stop.
“I was recently on a plane to Rio and two young men sat next to me. They were holding hands, no doubt in their minds. I tried not to look so as not to get in the way. I soon got into a taxi and saw two others touching their noses near the beach,” Matogrosso said. These guys don’t have to worry so much about saying they’re gay. Now it has become normal.”
Asked if he feels less rebellious than the young fans, Mato Grosso replied: “I’ve never liked to show affection in public. They have that need. Me, no. But I respect it.”
Matogrosso said he remains curious about sexuality, especially after receiving three books from Spanish transgender writer Paul B. Preciado.
“He’s such a clear thinker, he expresses himself so well that he made me understand more about transgender people,” the Brazilian said. “My interest comes from a long time ago. I remember reading a book decades ago that said that transgender people will be born and that these people should be accepted as a sign that humanity is evolving. I’ve kept it in mind ever since. We need to meet and understand those on our side.”
Mato Grosso said his schedule is busy until the end of the year in Brazil. This is not only because of the old fans, but also because of the young people who are interested in working with Secos y Molhados.
“I always knew what I wanted to be. But I didn’t know I would live to be 80, sing and dance the way I like,” said Matogrosso. Freedom for people as long as we respect each other.”
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