Musical Travel to New Dimensions
Madredeus is the most successful project on the contemporary Portuguese music scene which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The internationally renowned music group will celebrate with a series of concerts, also in Ljubljana, as the highlight of the Druga Godba festival in May. We spoke to the group’s long-time keyboard player, Carlos Maria Trindade.
How has Madredeus prepared for the new tour marking its venerable 25 years?
We will mostly perform in the European countries where we’ve already had concerts in the past. We are revisiting old songs and we’ve picked some iconic ones -mainly those will be performed on the tour. It is not going to be a concert of our greatest hits but more a selection of songs which are best for the occasion and our current formation. Although some of them are very well known and were big hits in some countries and some were chosen by our violin director, Jorge Varrecoso, who is a classical musician and he’s picked some of the songs for string arrangements. The selection of the songs which we’re going to perform is not typical, but neither is the occasion.
How has your music changed over the years?
Our songs have always been very diverse. Some of our albums are very thematic, e.g. the one for the Lisbon Story film, while others are just a bunch of songs we wrote at a certain period of time. Thematic albums hold greater messages, the rest are an expression of freedom and can have many different messages. However, what’s changed the music most are the people in the group. Madredeus has changed its formation many times and each new group member influenced the music.
Where have you sought inspiration?
We have learned from life, travelling, working. It’s a life cycle, a life process which affects the music and the entire creative process. Yet the largest chunk of inspiration comes from the Portuguese language itself as it is very original and its accent is very different from the more famous Brazilian language. To a large extent it evolved from the oral tradition which can be perceived in its melodious sounds. Songs in Portuguese are a tool to tell a lot.
The tour will take you to Ljubljana where you’ve already performed twice. What memories do you hold of the concerts and the Slovenian audience?
During our career, we have learned that each audience has a personality, depending on the country and its culture. We were very surprised by the way the Slovenians received us and we have very good memories of our visits there. The concerts were a real success, the audience was mixed but with a lot of young people and we noticed how very warmly we were accepted there. We were also thrilled with the city of Ljubljana itself as it is completely different from others in the same region. The architecture is brilliant and we were intrigued how culturally interesting Slovenia’s capital is.
What can the audience expect from your concert this time?
In general we are a group which is sometimes perceived as exotic as our formation is not standard. We do not have instruments typical for a group, our music is neither rock nor pop, our sound is neoclassical and the songs are sung in Portuguese. All this enables one to travel through space and other various spheres. At the concert, which will be among the first on our current tour, the audience will have a chance to revisit the group and experience the special ambience Madredeus creates on stage. Among the novelties are the string arrangements and sounds of two violins and the cello which give the songs a very dramatic expression. And last but not least,our formation has changed – we have good classical string musicians and a new singer.
What does the new singer, Beatriz Nunez, mean for Madredeus?
She has an amazing voice andsheinterprets our materials very well. She grew up listening to the songs and ended up singing them which is something truly special.Some people say she has a similar voice as our former singer, Teresa Salguiero, but she is very unique. It happens that people are a bit suspicious at the beginning of the concert due to her predecessor’s charisma, but later they are taken into the songs and applaud her with their hearts, admitting she is outstanding and that her interpretations are wonderful and fresh. I’m really looking forward to the concert in Ljubljana where she will be able to present herself to the Slovenian audience.