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Juçara Marçal

Brazil | R+

Brazilian rituals crossed by Afropunk and hip-hop from Detroit

Juçara Marçal is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and educator whose music bridges traditional Afro-Brazilian folk sounds, electronic music, rock, and hip-hop. Though a solo artist, she is equally well known for her work in vocal groups such as Grupo Vésper during the 1990s and A Barca in the early 2000s where her bold, reedy contralto was easily arranged as a dominant voice. She also co-leads vanguard rock outfit Metá Metá with guitarist Kiko Dinucci and saxophonist/flutist Thiago França. Their iconoclastic sound weds punk, jazz, samba, Afrobeat, and candomblé. Marçal made her solo debut with the guitarist on 2008's Padê before forming the band. She was 35 years old. She released the self-produced Encarnado in 2014 with assistance from her bandmates as well as guitarist Rodrigo Campos and fiddler Thomas Rohrer. In 2015, she issued Anganga in collaboration with Brazilian experimental electronicist Cadu Tenório. Two years later, after three more recordings and tours with Metá Metá, Marçal re-teamed with Campos and producer/vocalist Gui Amabis for the mini-album Sambas Do Absurdo. She also performed with her MM bandmates in the show Brigitte Fontaine, in which she sang the artist's repertoire in French. In 2021 she released Delta Estácio Blues.

Juçara Marçal’s Delta Estácio Blues captures the anger felt by many in Brazil at the current government’s repressive regime, and imagines a new history of Afro-American music in which blues, samba, rap and Afro-Brazilian religion are but interchangeable tributaries on a river that never ceases flowing.

Four years in the making, Juçara’s second solo album sees the Brazilian singer turn her usual way of working on its head. Recorded with an extended family of collaborators and produced with fellow Metá-Metá founder Kiko Dinucci, the album finds Marçal using hip-hop’s method of initially creating a beat for each song as a way of rewiring her own music, resulting in some of the most uncompromising and often aggressive songs that she has ever put to tape.

Production for the album began in August 2017, inspired by Atrocity Exhibition, an album by left-field rapper Danny Brown. “Me and Kiko we were really passionate about this album”, says Juçara, and they used it as a jumping off point to try something different. “We had the idea of exploring [Danny Brown’s] path of building beats, but not so that a rap could be sung on top. We had the idea of moving on to other instruments. We’d take a guitar, a bass drum, percussion, then we’d put together several pieces that formed a beat. It made us think about the song, the melody in a different way, because it was following a different path of composition.”

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