Brazilian Art & Music
April, 2018 – Edition #9
INTERVIEW WITH JOAO BOSCO
In an interview with Bossa Magazine, João Bosco talks about his professional career, his songwriting process, and the release of his new CD in New York City. This is the second consecutive year João Bosco performs in New York after eight years without an appearance.
Interview by Madalena Sousa and fans
BM: When did you start writing/producing music-and what were your first passions and musical influences?
I think it is very difficult for me to specify the beginning because it was a heterogeneous musical selection. That’s what I heard on the streets, on the radio, at the dance clubs…
BM: Did you finish the engineering course?
How do you think your life would have been if you had followed the career of an engineer?
I finished the Civil Engineering course because Vinicius de Moraes advised me to stay in Ouro Preto, where I met him. He thought the city would be good for me and my music, so I stayed until completing the course in 1972. That year Elis Regina had already recorded “Bala com Bala” (Bullet with Bullet, and I had already recorded “Agnus Sei” (Agnus Know) on the pocket disc of the newspaper “O Pasquim” on the “B” side and on the side “A” Tom Jobim recorded the unprecedented “Águas de Março”(March Waters). As for the possibility of being an engineer, I think that was just not meant to be.
BM: The guitar in Brazil was marginalized in the early 20th century; however, it would become an object of desire, and a protagonist in the most varied musical styles. What do you think about that?
The guitar is the soul of Brazilian music.
BM: When did the guitar come to be part of your life? Was it always the guitar, or did you play another instrument?
My older sister had bought a guitar. She played the piano very well but she decided to have a guitar too. This guitar spent a good deal of time with me, and my sister noticed so she decided to give the guitar to me. Soon afterwards I got to know the album of the Caymmi “Canções Praieras” (Beach songs), recorded in 1955. I could not leave the guitar after that!
BM: How many hours a day do you play guitar?
Oh, I have no idea… I just know it’s hard to stay away from it.
BM: Can you put limits on your work hours or are you totally addicted to music?
Music is my craft, the fruit of my addiction.
BM: We can say that you live on music and music is your life. Is this statement 100% true in both forms of expression?
I can only talk about the present, it is late night and very hot, I can’t sleep anymore, because a song insists on appearing mysteriously in my head… does that answer the question?
BM: What else are you interested in besides music?
It’s the music that makes me like things. It’s for the music, through music, that I let life take me surfing the rocking waves, feel the motion of a rocking chair, the flow of time, the swing of the sea, and do not fall out … music teaches to live
CA: By Clarice Assad-Pianist: What do you think of the difficult cultural situation in Brazil, and how does this compromise future generations in the propagation and development of Brazilian Popular Music (MPB)?
Hi Clarice, what a pleasure to know you’re here. Well, there are a lot of nice people here working hard to show Brazil to Brazilians who do not know Brazil yet. I am preparing for when Brazil discovers Brazil. There’s a lot of work to do but I believe in the brave Brazilian people.
BM: What do you think of the new generation of new Brazilian musicians?
In relation to instrumental musicians from the time I started, the instrumentalists of now are more technical and specific. The main point for me is to know how to get inside pages of a book and run away with the characters, then go inside a song and hear your soul singing…
LL: By Luiz Lima/Bus. Administrator
At the beginning of your career, Elis Regina was very important in promoting her work. How did the duo John Bosco/Aldir Blanc approach with Elis Regina happen?
Hi Luiz, at the beginning, I met Vinicius. That was in 1967. He gave interviews to the newspapers of Rio de Janeiro talking about the musical talent of a young student from the city of Ouro Preto that he knew and with whom he would bet his chips on. In 1970 I met Aldir and we started working together with Vinicius, closely listening to our first song.
In 1972, I was passing few days of school holidays in Rio at the invitation of Vinicius and the painter Carlos Scliar when I received an invitation from Elis to go to the theater of the beach (she was rehearsing a new show) to show some songs. That’s where the shooting of bullet with bullet came from.
VF: By Vanessa Falabella-Singer
How was your composition process over the years and where does your inspiration come from to compose these days?
Hi Vanessa. I’d say I’m a more intuitive guy. Conceptualizing on this process escapes my inspiration. But I realize when a song is insinuating…I feel the temperature of my body changing.
LS:Luiz Simas – Pianist /Singer:
In the process of composing a song such as the song “Linha de Passe”, what was done first? The song or the lyrics? Or were the music and lyrics made at the same time?
Hi Luiz. In this composition I did the samba first then came Paulo Emilio and Aldir. But this is a samba that we could still be doing until today because it does not want to end… as long as you have the line the reel will keep spinning.
BM: How do you feel playing for an audience that doesn’t understand the lyrics of your songs?
Music is a set of meanings and sounds. The music, perhaps among all forms of artistic communication, is one that is understood in a more intuitive way. I did not speak any African or English language and already “understood” what the songs meant. Music has its own way of
making itself understood. The lyrics in a song also contain music. When one understands the language is more a detail of deepening in music they can understand it without knowing it. It’s a kind of love at first sight…
BM: When you make a song, do you go back to the past and rescue arrangements already made by other musicians and adapt the music today?
This process, for me, is not defined that way. It is more loose, less committed to this or that time. I value much more the temperature I feel in the body at these times.
BM: How is your musical memory? Still keeping the new songs in memory
or writing/recording now? I never recorded anything as a way of remembering. I think what’s in memory is what’s supposed to be…
LL: By Luiz Lima/Bus. Administrator.
You received, last year, the “Award for Musical Excellence” of the Latin Grammy. How do you see, personally, the “set of your work”?
Hi Luiz, it was very good to receive this award. Every award is a way of saying that people are attentive to what we are doing. But this award was very special because I received it along with Lalo Schifrin, among others, of whom I’ve admired since the times I lived in Minas Gerais. It was also very good to receive the award from the hands of Cesar Camargo Mariano, of whom I have been friends for 45 years and I consider one of the great pianists/arrangers that I have known and worked with through the years.
BM: Any new CD’s being released on 2018? Tell me about them!
We’re launching “Mano Que Zuera” (Brother What Mess). We will be playing some tunes from this record at the Blue Note. We are now in Portugal performing this show. We will play in Lisbon and Porto in the beautiful theatre called “Casa da música”. It could even be a Solo record but the participation of the instrumentalists helped to expand the six strings of my instrument in a very creative way. It is a record that walks in the line of what we have done so far but I feel that one takes another step in that same line.
BM: You will be performing at the Blue Note in May. Will you be bringing something new or is it a show of the best songs? Who will be participating in the show with you?
It’s going to be a new show. Based on the new disk “Mano Que Zuera”(Brother What Mess). The band will be, Ricardo Silveira, Kiko Freitas and Wirtti.