Neguinha Te Amo

Daúde

Though this may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Brazil's music scene, Daude is a rare find: a Black woman in Brazil's eclectic pop-roots music, known as Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB), and the first to fuse MPB with African roots and modern production values, setting the whole thing alight with sensual, driving dance beats.

"Neguinha Te Amo is really an homage to the Brazilian woman and her strength,"
While many of her peers have been abandoning Brazilian music to undertake rock, hip-hop, techno and dance, Daude takes the opposite tack. She looks to see how these forms can be brought back to enhance Brazilian music, not to replace it. The mix is all her own and the style she has created is unique.


After a four-year break between albums of new material, she is back with her first album on Real World Records. "Neguinha Te Amo is really an homage to the Brazilian woman and her strength," says Daude, "and to the legacy of mixed races, the happiness, humour and knowing tolerance of the Brazilian people, and, finally, to Africa, expressed naturally and in a modern style. I never doubted what I was doing. Even with the world in such a mess, this is what carried me through the making of the album. Throughout, my challenge was to show another side of Brazilian music."

The word Neguinha is a term of endearment in Portuguese and means little black girl, the album title being therefore Little Black Girl, I Love You.

"The African element is natural to Brazilian music,"
The stories she tells on Neguinha Te Amo are richly varied, and they're told in the language of the music as well as in the lyrics. Through the percolation of loops and beats, Daude is seeking to re-emphasise the African soul of the music while she bolsters the innately Brazilian. "The African element is natural to Brazilian music," Daude explains. "It's expressed through rhythm and often directly in the singing style, vocalisation and improvisation. It doesn't need flourishes and vibrato."


Daude has collected songs that treat romantic topics, but so, too, social and political ones. She explains, "Muito Quente, for example, describes how black brothers and sisters can feel about themselves, with positive imagery that's also full of humour. Crioula, a duet with the great Jorge Benjor, is a celebration of black Brazilian womanhood. And Uma Neguinha describes a personal experience that all women of colour will recognise. They will also identify with many other things on the album. The need to make the album went way deeper than just wanting to further my professional career."

None of this is to say that Neguinha Te Amo is some intellectual exercise. Far from it. Daude's voice and attitude sail over a music that's got a sensual, funky swagger, that's very earthy, rhythmic, danceable, sexy. "I like songs that move me," Daude says. "This emotion isn't linked to place, it could be Brazilian it could be from anywhere. With the best Brazilian music, there can often be a perfect marriage of harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics."

Daude was born Maria Waldelurdes Costa de Santana Dutilleux, hence the opportune switch to three syllables (it's pronounced Dah-oo-jee). She was born in Salvador, Bahia, the pulsing heart of African Brazil, and spent her first eleven years there. "I was born in a blessed place," she says. "I grew up in a favela where the song of the crickets and the noise of the swamp were pure symphonies. It might have been this that gave me a soul so full of music." A loving and musical family helped as well. Her father introduced her to the great Brazilian interpreters and popular traditions, her mother and aunts to the romantic singers and those of the great generation of Brazilian popular music (MPB) stars like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethania, Chico Buarque and a host of others.

"...to reach out to the international public with a different vision of Brazilian music..."
When Daude was eleven, the family moved to Rio de Janeiro. It was there, on radio, that she heard American soul artists and British blues rockers for the first time, mixed in with her beloved Brazilians. She would dance and sing along - and right then and there decided to become a singer. She started learning technique. When the family moved away again, years later, she stayed, studying singing professionally. Then she took a university degree in Portuguese and Literature.

Her career began in theatrical musicals and in nightclubs throughout Rio de Janeiro. It was through them that she came to record her first disc in 1995, the eponymous Daude. It was already forging the link between the traditional and modern that Daude continues to this day. Even on this first release she met with critical raves. She won a Brazilian Grammy, the Premio Sharp, in the new artist category. Her second disc appeared in 1997, Daude #2, this one co-produced by Will Mowat (Soul II Soul, Angelique Kidjo, Chico Cesar) and Celso Fonseca. "She was the first of the younger generation to get into fusing MPB with beats and loops," Will explains. On that album, their first collaboration, the roster of songs helped add an international audience to Daude's already impassioned Brazilian one.

Daude's work with Will Mowat has come to full fruition on Neguinha Te Amo. "One of the reasons for working with Will," she reveals, "is to reach out to the international public with a different vision of Brazilian music, a vision that goes beyond the established cliches, beyond the tropical stereotype." Will explains that "to get the maximum energy out of a song I manipulate its arrangement and chord structure to come up with a fresh statement. These songs are like brand new, even the better known ones, like Ile Aye (Que Bloco E Esse?) and Canto de Ossanha. I completely pulled them apart and rebuilt them for Daude, to shed new light on what's already there." But Daude had clear ideas on it too. It was her idea to insert the famous theme by the legendary Pierre Barouh and Francis Lai to Claude Lelouch's film 'Un homme et une femme' ('A Man And A Woman') inside Sans Dire Adieu. The disc includes a beautiful French-language version as well, with lyrics specially written for her by Pierre Barouh.

There is an obvious passion and shared vision in this recording. "Will and I are two strong-minded people," Daude reveals. "I knew what I wanted and had my own convictions in terms of the work. Will had his in relation to his side of the production and the market, so it was a perfect match, and therefore a dangerous one!" Dangerous? "Yes, we fought almost daily, on the same side or opposing ones, to get the balance right." Will agrees, saying, that what ultimately saved the project was "our inner conviction that what we were doing was right - I rate her so much, I stuck by her through thick and thin, and she by me."

"...Not for her the Brazilian cliches of sand and sun..."
"Her musical vision is her own," Will says of Daude. "She is urban, sophisticated, feminine and romantic and loves techno and dance and clubbing. Not for her the Brazilian cliches of sand and sun. She always felt her destiny was outside of Brazil, but with her feet planted in the Brazilian soil."

Her fans await the new release anxiously. "Our Black Pearl of Brazilian popular music," enthuses one on her website, "without doubt you're the swingingest muse." Her reputation at home is inestimable: "Daude, you are the pride of us all."

Reviews

  • Something original from Brazil At last some catchy and original tunes from a country that seems to have an endless supply of tiresome bossa nova beats. Daúde creates popular music that blends Latin and African music with rock, hip-hop and dance flavours - the kind of stuff that we would lap up over here if she was singing in English.. though it sounds sexier in Portuguese. Wanderlust (UK)
  • album review Daúde tames all the rhythms of Brazil into a coherent album on Neguinha te Amo (Black Girl, I Love You), and still injects radical politics not seen in Brazilian pop music since the zenith of tropicália in the late ’60s... More important, though, the racial politics of Neguinha te Amo is rhetorical dressing for the actual music, an ever-jiggling euphony of Brazilian instruments of every hoot and echo romping around electric organs, guitars and an icy-cool drum machine scaffold. Daúde also borrows wonderfully from African-American neo-soul, especially on the dreamy, sexy "Sans Dire Adieu." Neguinha te Amo is black power at its most grooving. Orange County Weekly (USA)
  • album review ...the Salvador born singer draws on influences from the 'exterior' and mixes it up with the sounds of her homeland inot something slightly off key and in places rather beautiful. Fresh from her performance at this year's Womad, the stunning Maria Waldelurdes Costa de Santana Dutilleux is after your head as well as your heart. Straight No Chaser (UK)
  • 'A truly unique voice on the mainly white dominated Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) circuit, Daúde effortlessly fuses her African roots with light pop sensibilities and funky dance beats...Already a big star at home with a Brazilian Grammy to her name, Daúde sought the talents of acclaimed producer Will Mowat to add a slick international production flavour to tracks such as ‘Ilê Ayê’ and the funky tropical sound of E Foi Mamãe Que Me Disse '. The result is an extremely polished and hugely enjoyable album of MPB diversity and Brazilian sexiness.' SongLines (UK)
  • album review Working closely with veteran producer Will Mowatt (Soul II Soul, Angelique Kidjo) Daúde has blended Brazilian music with pop forms in a fashion recalling the more attractive efforts of the Tropicalia movement of the '60s. Versatile and imaginative, she raps, she sings with a dark sensuous sound, and she brings a vigor and believability to the music that effortlessly sets aside stylistic boundaries. Los Angeles Times (USA)
  • This is Daúde's US debut, and it is a fascinating effort. ...the album consists of songs that, according to Daúde, pay tribute to Brazilian women and their strength. Daúde's sound is distinctive in that she seems to be comfortable working both American styles like hip-hop and rock and African beats with Brazil's Musica Popular Brasileira (pop/roots) vibe. Add to this the proto-feminist nature of her lyrics and a little samba - this is Brazil after all - and you have very current, very danceable Brazilian music. Cue up "Naja", a tune that exemplifies nearly every element of Daúde's groove in four tasty minutes. Billboard (USA)
  • album review Neguinha Te Amo reveals a mature, unique female voice... she manages to fuse the quintessential Brazilian languorous sensuality and innate vivacity with a muted dance beat of blips, beats, samples and 'deconstructing' rap-narratives...At her best this Bahian singer takes you to impossible beaches lit by fizzing neon, to retro 70s bars shimmering with beautiful people and onto Varig flights attended by demure Angolan stewardesses... With Real World's peerless production values matching Daúde's raw talent and scintillating voice, Brazil is back, inimitable, beyond fakes and fads, and very, very stylish. BBCi (UK)
  • album review Forty years since the birth of Bossa Nova and Brazil continues to turn out some of the world's most exciting musical forms. As one of the few black women active in popular Brazilian music, Daúde goes a step further with her effortless fusion of Brazilian pop, African rhythms and driving beats. The result is a funky, soulful record sounding like a new twist on classic material. Daily Express (UK)
  • ...a spirited quest to find a new attitude and style for black Brazilian music.... The beats, samples and bleeps seem to grow organically from the songs, rather than being grafted on as a trendy afterthought....The African elements also enhance the commerciality of the album...Daùde is a strong performer. Her brief gig at Club WOMAD this summer was a highlight of the festival. The Guardian (UK)
  • Neguinha Te Amo is frothy, funky and languorously sensual pop... Before her brief but infectiously joyful performance at this year’s WOMAD festival in Reading, Daùde was a virtual unknown in the UK, despite being a celebrated artist in Brazil....Neguinha Te Amo is frothy, funky and languorously sensual pop...Samba, drum & bass and various exotic touches permeate this warm upbeat album...a sure fire party record, though it also has roots, depth and subtlety. HMV Choice (UK)