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A Conversation with CéU

TIM: Here you go, the lovely CéU.


Puremusic: The lovely, yes, you are lovely.

CéU: Thank you.

PM: So you're walking around looking at vintage instruments and stuff in L.A.?

C: They're rare in Brazil, expensive, so it's nice to see if--

PM: So you're looking at like old guitars and stuff, or what?

C: Moogs and so forth. [early synthesizers]

PM: Oh, Moogs!

C: And delays, analog delays, these type of things.

PM: Ah, I see, pedals and old keyboards, right.

C: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

PM: Now, I know that you, on top of being a great singer, are also an instrumentalist. What do you like to play these days?

C: Well, actually, I don't consider myself much of a player. I don't play well. I just understand the chords. And to compose I go into piano or, of course, the guitar. But I prefer singing.

PM: Right, prefer to sing. But you understand music and harmony and stuff, so you can talk about it?

C: Yeah, yeah. I understand. But it's pretty much intuitive, my relationship with music.

PM: Maybe that's best. I think that most Americans have either very little idea, or an out-of-date idea of what Brazilian music is, so I'd like to ask you a little bit about that. What's the live scene like in Brazil? Is it more of a concert atmosphere or more of a dance floor culture?

C: We have both, I think. In São Paulo, which is my city, we have a great scene now happening, underground music in Brazil. So I think outside Brazil people always think that we are much more into only Bossa Nova or Carnival Samba.

PM: Right.

C: But we actually do have a large culture around music, a lot of different rhythms. And we have old school samba, which is much more a philosophy than that carnival thing that you see on TV.

PM: Right.

C: So it's really, really rich. Brazilian rich. It's a mixture of three big cultures: our native Indians, Africans, and Europeans, especially Portuguese. So this mixture makes Brazilian music so rich.

PM: So in São Paulo are there lots of smaller clubs where live music is going on?

C: Yes. There are not a lot, not as many as we should have, I think. [laughs] But very--there's an amazing scene, now, happening there.

PM: There's a big underground movement?

C: Yes, yes.

PM: Wow.

C: And in São Paulo especially, because it's the best city to work in Brazil, to show your work. So everybody is there now.

PM: Now, what do you think, is São Paulo an easy place for Americans to visit? Can you get along with English? For a person who wants to check out the underground scene and the music of São Paulo is it easy to just drop in and trip around and go to the clubs? It's easy for visitors?

C: Yeah, I really think so. I really do. It's totally easy. And I think Brazilian people are really receptive to foreign people. We have been anxious to get people feeling comfortable and show nice places. I really think so. Of course, São Paulo is a chaotic crazy city, so you must want to be around that.

PM: Yeah, you've got to be ready for something like New York; yeah, it's crazy, no doubt.

C: Yeah, it's crazy. But it's really interesting there. And I think everybody should go, yeah.

her city

PM: Because your record is so amazing--I mean, if there's a scene in São Paulo that your record is representative of, we have to go and check it out.

[laughter]           continue

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