A gloriously heartbreaking set released an emotional climacteric reeking of tragedy, desperation and unexploited what-ifs. AJ Dehany, London Jazz News
As we say in Turkish, she has ten talents on her ten fingers. Başak Yavuz, Jazz Dergisi
Doesn't sound directly like anything. Diedrich Diederichsen, TAZ
EROSÃO: THE ALBUM
After 20 years working intensively as a drummer, singer, producer and composer in the city of São Paulo, the Brazilian based in Duisburg Mariá Portugal (Quartabê, Arrigo Barnabé, Elza Soares) released her new album EROSÃO in November 2021. The album have a digital, vinyl and fanzine release, all designed by Maria Cau Levy.
EROSÃO has three layers: song material, acoustic improvisation and electronic manipulation. In each layer exists both the reminiscence and the oblivion of the precedent, like a stone that is built up of overlapping layers that also modify each other through mechanical and chemical processes.
Mariá Portugal’s songs are the first layer and the basis of the project. As any Brazilian singer/songwriter, she has strong roots in the Brazilian song tradition, going from Dorival Caymmi to Itamar Assumpção and Arrigo Barnabé to Caetano Veloso, besides being strongly influenced by same-generation composers, such as Negro Leo, Iara Rennó, Kiko Dinucci and Maria Beraldo.
In the beginning of 2019, still living in São Paulo, Mariá made a series of improvisation sessions using the musical material of eight of these songs. These sessions took place with several musicians from the prolific experimental São Paulo scene (Metá Metá, Música de Selvagem, Quarteto Solto, Quartabê). The instrumentation was composed of saxophone, clarinet/bass clarinet, guitar, piano, double bass, drums and voice. Since it was not possible to acoustically isolate her voice from the drums, Mariá also invited Tó Brandileone (5 a Seco) to improvise as the singer of the songs. This improvisation session became the second layer of EROSÃO.
In 2020, she brought the resultant audio material to Moers, Germany, where she went to spend a year as the mœrs festival 13th Improviser in Residence. Living in Moers during the pandemic, Mariá edited and processed the material, further adding overdubs of her voice to the recordings. This became the third and last layer of the album.
The result is a full-length album with 6 tracks with different relations to the original improvisation material generated in São Paulo, ranging from little alteration (like “Dois Litorais”, which involved no editing, only voice overdubbing) to totally processed tracks with no relation to the original material (like “Telepatía”), made with material from other songs and non-intended noise from the recording session. In electronically manipulating audio of improvised and acoustic music, Mariá Portugal tries to play with determination and indetermination, control and release, acoustic and synthetic.
EROSÃO VIVA (LIVE ENSEMBLES)
To bring EROSÃO to the stage, Mariá Portugal has two different ensembles: EROSÃO SEPTET, mainly based in Cologne, and EROSÃO PERCUSSION TRIO, based in Berlin. Each concert will be an improvised session with different ensembles made of musicians from Berlin, Cologne and Bremen. Each ensemble highlights a certain aspect of the album, “eroding” its musical material through improvisation and taking it to unknown places.
EROSÃO PERCUSSION TRIO
MARIÁ PORTUGAL, drums, percussion
EMILIO GORDOA, percussion
BURKHARD BEINS, percussion
In this trio, Portugal invites Berlin-based percussionists Burkhard Beins (DE) and Emilio Gordoa (MX) to a highly improvised concert with only non-pitched percussion, from the drum-kit to bowed cymbals and non-traditional percussion instruments. As it happens with Portugal's EROSÃO album, each song generates metaphorical triggers to improvised creation, in a concert where Brazilian popular song and Berliner Echtzeitmusik are intertwined.
MARIÁ PORTUGAL, drums, percussion
HEIDI BAYER, trumpet
ANGELIKA NIESCIER, alto sax
FILIPE NADER, alto sax
MORITZ WESP, trombone
CARL LUDWIG HÜBSCH, tuba
REZA ASKARI, double bass
EROSÃO SEPTET, composed by outstanding musicians from the Cologne jazz/experimental scene, uses song as raw material for free improvisation. Mariá's songs are intertwined with other external elements, such as Brazilian musical tradition, international pop music, European classical music and pieces from the other musicians in the septet. This "samples" form a musical compendium with which the musicians can freely play and relate to when improvising. With this approach, Portugal seeks to challenge the conventional idea of authorship and established musical hierarchies between voice and instruments and between composition and improvisation, subverting the common format of a pop/jazz-song concert.