Mario Lucio
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Mario Lucio

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I read the sun shines all the time in Cabo Verde. Now you are going to tour in Germany in January. Don’t you think it is sort of weird to tour in Germany in January? Do you really know what you are doing or did your management force you to do it?

ML- Good question because it has caused me a big smile. Fortunately, today nobody can force me to do what I don’t think is good for others and for me. I’m going to show my music and my country to other people and that can make them happy, overall if I can bring with me a part of my sunshine interior and exterior. To bring the happiness to the people around the World there is no suffering: for this intension I am able to go barefoot to Himalaya in January.


Your forthcoming album Badyo is your second solo album. Does it mean the end of your former band Simentera?

ML- I have quit Simentera before to start recording solo. In a meeting with all my friends of the Band I ask them to let me go, because I had other different ideas to work in capeverdean music. I thought I had finished that I had considered Simentera. And I was not there only for playing and make tour around the world and win some money. I was developing an idea, a project I had for capeverdean music, for my poems, my feelings, my traditions. All the members of the Band have understood my option. They have agreed. However I have asked them to continue. But they have stopped. I can not ignore that may be they need me, but a man can not be hostage of his own creation. I think in few years we can restart giving concerts together.

On Badyo you work with a lot of musical influences. Sometimes it sounds brazilian, another time african, you use jazzy influences, one can even hear country sounds. Is that blending/mixing the essence, the character of Cabo Verde music?

ML- Yes. As you can understand reading the booklet, Badyo is the first black man to be free in Cape Verde, an Archipelago that was non inhabited in 1460. So, these men from different African ethnicities are a part of our ancestors. But later they quit Santiago Island and go to Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Santo Domingo, New Orleans, Louisiana, Europa. Of course they bring some rhythms, songs, and instruments, cooked in the Islands. I say especially from the Island, and not at all from the African continent, because they had created a new music with the miscegenation (Bantus, Mandingos and others playing together). To be honest, one of the main reasons that force me to make the research which is this album is to clarify the world about our music. Because, several times in Europe journalists have written that we have influences from Brazil, Cuba, Jazz, Blues, etc. That is normal because nobody had shown them before what is the universe of our music. It is completely the inverse. Is capeverdean music to influence Samba, Blues, Jazz, and others. But as we are a small and unknown country people need the reference to understand us. What I am trying to do is to show that you can not understand those references if you don’t understand the passage of the Badyo, of the capeverdean culture and traces around the world. I don’t work with a lot of musical influences, I just work on my multiple roots. We are at the former origin of the actual mestizo, we can explain the music of the Atlantic Slave Trading routes. It starts in Cape Verde Islands in former 15th century. Of course we have to add to our African roots the Europeans heritages as Valsa, Mazurca, Country dance, Polska, March, what also are at the origin of this mixage. The world knows only one side of capeverdean music.

Don’t you fear to ask too much of your audience with this tremendous mix? Who do you think is your audience?

ML- I think my audience is people with an open mind, open soul, spirit, and horizon. People who want to understand this world for better understanding other, for better conviviality between all cultures, differences and peoples. We human kind are a mix, that’s why we are diverse and one. If our main goal is to include, we can eliminate the discrimination. I want to say that I feel the world into my music, into me, and that I feel my music and me into the world. I think that after genetics elements which make us equal, the only thing that can make us feel as the same is our mix. The only thing pure we have in the Universe is the mixture. Everybody knows that. I’m just one voice. I don’t thin I ask too much because I just ask each one in my audience to identify himself with just one song, to identify himself with what he find close to him, and don’t hinder others to do the same, even when this other is identifying himself with a song that his neighbour don’t love. I expect to play about 20 songs. Are we so different?


It seems everybody talking about world music but no one knows exactly what it is. Do you have a smart definition for us?

ML- World music is that music that you don’t believe it exists.

For how long are you in music business?

ML- I have neve - by Bernd Lubienetzki for Unruhr Magazine


Discography

Mario Lucio (Badyo)
(Lusafrica / im Vertrieb von Rough Trade, 2008)

Mario Lucio (Ao Vivo e aos Outros)
(Mala Producoes, 2006)

Mario Lucio (Mar e Luz)
(Melodie, 2004)

Tete Alhinho (Voz)
(World Connection, 2004)
Arrangements, musical direction: Mario Lucio
Production: Mario Lucio & Tete Alhinho
Guitar: Mario Lucio
01. Scutam es morna (music and words by Mario Lucio)
03. Princesa (music and words by Mario Lucio)
07. Tema (music and words by Mario Lucio)
12. Voz (music and words by Mario Lucio)

Simentera (Tr'adictional):
(Melodie, 2003)

Simentera (Cabo Verde em serenata):
(Piranha, 2000)

Lena Franca (Amornado)
(Last Call Records, 1999)
Arrangements, musical direction: Mario Lucio
01. Scutam es morna (music and words by Mario Lucio)
03. Morna pa ninguem
04. Oto morna sobre desilusao
07. Dispidida cantado

Simentera (Barro e Voz):
(Melodie, 1998)

Ildo Lobo - Nos Morna
(Lusafrica 1997)
Arrangements, musical direction: Mario Lucio

Simentera (Raiz):
(Lusafrica/Melodie, 1995)

Tete Alhinho (entires)
(1996)
Arrangements, musical direction: Mario Lucio
Production: Mario Lucio & Tete Alhinho
Guitar and several other instruments: Mario Lucio

Tete Alhinho (De Cor a Som)
(1998)
Arrangements, musical direction: Mario Lucio
Production: Mario Lucio & Tete Alhinho
Guitar and several other instruments: Mario Lucio

03. Storia Di un Homi (music and words by Mario Lucio)

Charles Marcellesi
(Lusafrica, 2000)
Arrangement, musical direction: Mario Lucio
Production: Mario Lucio
Guitar and several instruments: Mario Lucio

Photos

Bio

Lucio Matias de Sousa Mendes, better known by his artistic name, Mario Lucio Sousa, was born in Tarrafal, on the island of Santiago, Cape Verde, on October 21, 1964. It was there that he finished his elementary school studies. His father died when he was 12 years old, and at 15 he became an orphan, together with his seven brothers and sisters, when his mother passed away. When he was 12, he was adopted as a pupil of the Armed Forces, and went to live as a boarder in the barracks located in the former Tarrafal Concentration Camp, under the guardianship of the Military. He carried out his secondary school studies in Tarrafal. He obtained a State scholarship upon entering high school in Praia. During his academic career he stood out as a brilliant student, cultural activist and musician. In 1984 he obtained a scholarship from the Cuban government to study Law at the University of Havana, from which he graduated in 1990.
He returned to Cape Verde and practiced as an independent lawyer.
He was a Deputy in the Cape Verdean parliament from 1996 to 2001.
He served as Adviser to the Minister of Culture (1992) and was recently named Cultural Ambassador of Cape Verde.

MUSIC. Mario Lucio Sousa was the founder and leader of the musical group Simentera, which marked a turning point back towards acoustic music in Cape Verde and claimed continental African culture as an element of Cape Verdean cultural identity. His conceptions earned him an invitation from the Cape Verdean government to serve as Adviser to the Commissioner for Expo/92 and author of Cape Verde’s musical project for the 92 Seville Expo and the 98 Lisbon Expo.
He is a multi-instrumentalist and arranger of various albums by Cape Verdean solo artists. He is founder and director of the Quintal da Musica Cultural Association, whose private cultural center works for the valorization of traditional music and children’s access to learning and the promotion of their talents.
As a composer, he is a member of SACEM (Societe francaise des Droits d’auteur), with compositions recorded by Cesaria Evora and other Cape Verdean artists. He is the permanent composer of the company Raiz di Polon, the only contemporary dance formation in the archipelago. He composed the soundtrack for the theater play “Adao e as Sete Pretas de Fuligem,” which he also authored on request for Porto European Culture Capital and which was staged by Joao Branco. He is the founder of Fesquintal de Jazz, the Cape Verde International Jazz Festival. He has performed concerts in the United States, Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Senegal, Mauritania, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy, Romania and England, among other places.
Together with the group Simentera, he recently recorded in France the CD Tr’adictional, his musical project on miscegenation, in which Cameroon’s Manu Dibango, Senegal’s Toure Kunda, Brazil’s Paulinho Da Viola and Portugal’s Maria Joao and Mario Laginha participated.
He is a student of traditional musical forms, among them the vocal music of the Rabelados religious community of the island of Santiago.

NEW ALBUM RELEASE IN 2008. About his last Album BADYO, he explains: "In fact, I’ve been working unconsciously on this album for 30 years. I’ve always been fascinated by the way the different rhythms such as mazurka, valse or polka on one hand, and the influence of the African continent on the other hand get melt in the Cape Verdean musical soul. I wanted to understand this phenomenon” Mario Lucio explains. Either during his studies in Cuba, where he discovered a new kind of Creolity, or while he toured around the world with his band Simentera, Mario Lucio has always composed, anywhere he was, and rediscovered his own music among those of the people in Brazil, Senegal, Finland, Portugal, or China.

Mario Lucio’s lyrics talk about himself, about his childhood and about his emotions. His songs tell the stories of men, of blacks and of whites, and of course of Creole people. “I wanted to record an organic album, whose skin bears the taste of spice” explains Mario Lucio concerning the choice of the “Cimboa” (traditional single string violin), the use of traditional rhythms (funana, tabanka or batuko), the way to sing or the recording of objects of everyday life such as washbowls, brooms or glass bottles.

Badyo impresses by its simplicity and its honesty, two qualities which the Badios of Santiago refer to themselves. But barely on this island, a complex music is born which is on the middle of the ocean, between two continents. However, it has not lost anything of its harmony.

LITERATURE. He is the author of the following works: Nascimento de Um Mundo (poetry, 1990); Sob os Signos da Luz (poetry, 1992); Para Nunca Mais Falarmos de Amor (poetry, 1999); Os Trinta Dias do Homem mais Pobre do Mundo (fiction, 2000 winner of the 1st edition of the Portuguese Language Bibliographical Fund award); Adao e As