It is said that Brazil is a country of female singers. The history of Brazilian music is full of examples of powerful voices from women that left their marks in all genres. Mona Vilardo, from Rio de Janeiro, confirms this tradition twice: being herself an outstanding singer and paying tribute to emblematic Brazilian voices in one of the many projects of this busy and yet very accessible artist.
(GF) You have a solid musical background. When did your story with music start?
(MV) My mother always told me that since I was a baby, I would turn my head to follow any kind of sound. At 8 I started taking piano classes and was also part of the Children's Choir, in Rio de Janeiro. We did lots of concerts, including a big one at a Festival in Kansas City and operas played at the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro. By then, I started to earn a bit of money and I decided to dive into music: I had piano lessons at the Universidade Federal of Rio de Janeiro and developed a taste for the discipline demanded by the study of music. Actually, I loved running from school to the piano classes, studying music theory and all the practicing.
(GF) What about your musical references?
(MV) As a child, I liked Dolores Duran [Brazilian singer and songwriter, 1930 – 1959] and this is weird, because my parents didn´t listen to her, but I do have such memories. Edino Krieger, Villa Lobos are also early ages references. As a teenager, I heard lots of artists like Elis Regina, Chico Buarque, Marisa Monte, Legião Urbana, but I kept my main interest in classical music, so I went to the Lyric College at UniRio. I also studied at Tablado, a traditional art school, in order to improve my performance skills.
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(GF) Your tribute to legendary Brazilian singer Dalva de Oliveira was loved by critics and audience and you recorded a DVD of it. Was it a long time idea?
(MV) I am a teacher and I also I write chronicles for the newspaper "O Folha de Minas" and for the site Literarte.art, and I´ve noticed that there was almost no information about this important time in the history of Brazilian music. The musical is part of a bigger project on the Brazilian “Radio Queens”, great female singers who have been very successful in the 1950's. Next April, I will I launch the collection “The Queens of the Radio by Mona Vilardo", a book for Tweenies, with the stories of the life of many Brazilian singers. Dalva is the first title of the collection. Rona Hanning from @lerconecta was the consulting and Mariana Erthal illustrated it.
(GF) Future projects?
(MV) Together with the Arts and Language Alliance (ALMA), I will teach music in Chicago at the Oak Park Public Library, next summer. I am very happy for such a great opportunity!
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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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