I met Uiara Leigo at a conference for indie musicians in São Paulo. We exchanged CDs and she explained me in her deep, calm voice that she had worked for a long time as a nurse. Later, while listening to her album, it all made sense: Uiara takes care of people and their needs. Traditional African rhythms are the starting point for a musical journey filled with lyrics about racism, homo and transphobia among other delicate subjects, without sounding preachy. Beautifully human, with a scent of magic.
(GF) Can you tell us about your first contact with music?
I guess it all started in my mother´s womb, when I first listened to the sounds of the percussion. My father used to play during religions ceremonies held by my grandmother. She was what we call “mãe de santo” [a priest woman in African religions] and my father, an amateur musician and composer, was my first contact to music. I guess my heartbeat was defined by that drums. I always wanted to be a singer and my great influences were The Beatles, U2, Brazilian rockers such as Renato Russo, Cazuza and Cássia Eller and the MPB (Brazilian popular m usic) tradition: Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethânia. As a child, I took part in a religious choir and when I was 13, I learned to play the guitar with my brother, a musical therapist and teacher, but apart from that, I never had any musical training. Instead, I went to the Nursing College in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais (I am originally from a small town in Rio de Janeiro called Macaé).
(GF) And when was your “come back” to the music?
Only after graduation. By then, I´ve decided to make my dream come true. I began singing in bars. I was also part of a rock band, but in 2010 I decided to launch my solo career with an album called “Pedra Bruta” (“Rough Stone”). Six years later, I released “Meu Canto é Segredo” (“My Song is Secret”).
(GF) How would you define your music?
I propose a universe of creation with no rules or labels. This concept guided my last project, giving me the freedom to mix the influences of important Brazilian movements, such as Tropicalism, with my childhood references, the sounds of the candomblé drums. Together with my musical producer Hérmanes Abreu, we created a very special sound for the project, reaffirming our African-Brazilian musical heritage. The promotional single “Basta” (“Enough”) is a call for reflection upon all sorts of intolerance.
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(GF) What´s next?
I am recording a new project called “Somos feitos do agora” ("We're made of now"). It is inspired by reflections on time and happiness, conflicts, hope, solitude and love. I wrote all five tracks and the arrangements bring a mix of Rock´n´Roll, Blues and Progressive. I stick with the primordial characteristic in my career: the freedom of creation!
Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro
The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo.
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