Thursday, 03 January 2019 10:02

Voices from the heart: Brazilian choir Boca Que Usa represents the best of the new a cappella music

Written by Geisa Fernandes

Many musicians (and non musicians) had their first contact to music through a choir at school, church or community group. A choir brings back a lot of affective memories and the Brazilian group Boca Que Usa (a playful Portuguese translation of the Italian expression boca chiusa, used to describe wordless humming), from Rio de Janeiro knows just how to balance impeccable technique with a passionately executed repertoire. I talked to Amilcar de Castro, thirty years of choir experience and one of Boca Que Usa first time members, about the successful journey of the awarded group, which includes participations in festivals in Argentina, Venezuela, USA, Spain and the most recently in the city of Riga, in the Republic of Latvia.


(GF) What is so special about choirs?

(AC) Singing in a choir is a very rewarding experience, especially when you have the opportunity to be in a group with  a variety of repertoire that allows you to go from the erudite to the popular. It allowed me to meet several musicians from all over the world, to get in touch with diverse styles and ways of making music. When I started, I had the chance to be part of one the most influential choirs from Rio de Janeiro, Canto Em Canto, conducted by Elza Lakschevitz, a reference in Brazilian choir singing. At the same time, I started to work with Boca Que Usa. I am very proud to be part of it since its first formation, back in 1997.

(GF) How is the repertoire selected?

(AC) Boca Que Usa has a wide and diversified musical proposal. The repertoire contemplates from old to contemporary songs from many genres. We privilege tunes that are less known in Brazil   and we work under no fixed, direct regency, that is, the preparation of the songs is done collectively. Actually, collaborative work is the international current trend and it has been one of the  pillars   of our group.

(GF) The group has been active for over two decades. Any special memories?

(AC) Boca Que Usa has already won gold and silver medals representing Brazil at international festivals. Those were opportunities to show a little bit of our music to other cultures and to prove    that there is also quality choir music being done here. Another interesting moment happened during our last festival performance. We sang a tune in Latvian. The audience was very impressed!    They simply could not imagine that Brazilians would come up with a song in their language!


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(GF) Future plans?

(AC) Logistically and financially speaking, coordinating a trip for twenty singers is not an easy task, but the big plan of Boca Que Usa for 2019 is to take part at the ‘Garda International Choir    Festival  & Competition’, in Italy. It is a daring goal, considering that Brazil has no tradition in choir singing, what makes sponsorship or any kind of funding support extra difficult.


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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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