tue 31/01/2023

Album: Lucas Santtana - O Paraiso | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lucas Santtana - O Paraiso

Album: Lucas Santtana - O Paraiso

A timely hymn to nature from Brazil

Lucas Santtana's romance with nature

Perfect timing for the release of Lucas Santtana’s new album release. The return of Lula to the presidency of Brazil has been received with a surge of optimism and joy. We have witnessed the end of Bolsonaro’s corrupt, opportunistic and authoritarian years, in which the Amazon forest was opened up further to those who would destroy it, along with the indigenous people who struggle to survive against the depredations of greed.

With a soft tenor voice, and accompanied by his delicate guitar playing, and skilfully integrated synthesised wind instruments, Santanna sings dreamily in praise of nature and our place within it. He sings in Portuguese, English and French, in a manner that soothes: these are incantations as much as protest songs. In “La biosphère”, he contrasts the sauvage – the wild rather than the savage – with the "civilised", and the choice we face between embracing life or death.

The gentle tone of the music, seductive and sensual, embodies the very essence of the themes evoked in his poetic lyrics. We should all, he seems to suggest, take as a role model Paul McCartney’s “Fool on the Hill”, the sage whose innocence is a form of wisdom. In an enchanting cover of the song, he is joined by the soft-toned French singer Flore Benguigui. In the song “No Interior de Tudo”, Santtana invites us to connect with our deeper self, drawing energy from the collective unconscious that dwells beneath the surface of the ocean.

Santtana does not just allude to images from Jungian psychology – big in Brazil – but there are also references to Funes the Memorious, the character in a short fiction by Borges, a fantastical man who remembers everything, in the song “Sobre la memoria”. And yet, the poetic and intellectual sophistication of the album is carefully framed within a musical context that is beguiling in its almost child-like simplicity. There is nothing overdone or baroque about Santtana’s songs. As in so much of the best Brazilian music, the spirituality is well grounded in lilting samba rhythms and a delicacy overflowing with magic.

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