GRANDEZA OUT JUNE 4 ON BOILED RECORDS
Photo Credit : Helena Wolfenson // DOWNLOAD HIGH RES
Today, São Paulo musician Sessa shares “Dez Total (Filhos de Gandhy)”, the second single from his stunning debut solo album, Grandeza. A long-time fixture of the American and Brazilian music scenes—known for his collaborations with Yonatan Gat and his co-founding of acclaimed psych-rock group Garotas Suecas—Sessa’s solo debut album points to new directions for Brazilian pop, with a perfect balance of subtlety and euphoria that harmonizes its traditional and modern elements. The album displays a deep, minimalist, almost insinuated use of the rich textures and rhythms that define the songwriting history of Brazil, captured perfectly by the simple but lush atmosphere of the new single. Grandeza will be released in digital and vinyl formats on June 4, 2019 via Boiled Records and RISCO.
“Dez Total” speaks to a specific moment of Sessa’s engagement with Brazil’s vast musical legacy. Sessa describes being inspired to write the song after watching Filhos de Gandhy, the traditional Afro Brazilian drum ensemble, rehearse one day in Salvador, Bahia. He explains: “Watching them play all those drums and agogos moved me deeply, I couldn’t speak without crying for the whole time I was there. It was so great to see the dynamics of their rehearsal, the elders directing the younger players, all those layers and layers of polyrhythmic textures and the singers alternating rounds so the drummers could play for extended time and perfect their sound before the start of carnival. Such an amazing thing that exists in this world, and ‘Dez Total’ is my humble celebration for this incredible life force.”
Across Grandeza, Sessa’s songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics in the vein of Caetano Veloso, and the melodic flourishes of Tom Jobim and Arthur Verocai. However, the music gets a deliberate minimalist treatment rarely found in contemporary Brazilian music, more reminiscent of the bareness of Leonard Cohen, with touches of tropicália, and a collaboration with the group Música de Selvagem that permeates the album with elements of the spiritual jazz of Pharoah Sanders and Moondog.
Sessa emphasizes that the arrangement of “Dez Total” is particularly stripped down, describing the studio session for the track as solely the core of his band. “This song shows the role of the singers well, how much space they are able to fill with their power and how the idea of the Grandeza band relies so much on minimalist arrangements and the dramatic entrances and exits of the elements: nylon guitar, percussion, and my vocals connecting with the singers to build soundscapes around the songs.”
Written and recorded in multiple locations between São Paulo and New York during a nomadic period in Sessa’s life, the eleven songs in Grandeza portray different worlds of sound and poetry. Sessa—who was raised in a Sephardic Jewish family in São Paulo—notes that although his feelings about traditional religion have oscillated, spirituality is deeply embedded in his worldview, and in this album he connects sexuality, tactility, and music-making as their similar forms of spiritual transcendence.
Embarking on a solo career has offered the Brazil-born musician an opportunity to continue to deepen his work as “an apprentice of Brazilian music,” immersing himself and developing his notion of traditions in Brazilian poetry and lyricism, tapping into memories of the music he was surrounded by growing up and the music he has passionately listened to and played throughout his life. With Grandeza, Sessa creates a soft focus portrait of Brazilian music, all without abandoning his love for psychedelic, folk, and soul music—a sensibility that propels the devotional sounds of Grandeza towards decisively modern territory.
Sessa will perform the songs of Grandeza to North American audiences on tour in July. Full dates below.
GRANDEZA TRACK LISTING
Flor do Real
Toda Instância do Prazer
GRANDEZA ALBUM RELEASE TOUR DATES
July 5 - New Haven, CT - State House
July 6 - Northampton, MA - Historic Northampton
July 7 - Montreal, QC - Marché des possibles
July 7 - Quebec City, QC - OFF Festival
July 8 - Toronto, ON - Baby G w/ Tal National
July 9 - Detroit, MI - Trinosophes w/ Tal National
July 10 - Chicago, IL - Hungry Brain
July 11 - South Bend, IN - Langlab
July 12 - Milwaukee, WI - Ursa
July 13 - Rock Island, IL - Rozz Tox
July 14 - Indianapolis, IN - SSP
July 15 - Nashville, TN - Little Harpeth
July 16 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight
July 17 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
July 18 - Washington, DC - Eaton Hotel
July 24 - New York, NY - Brasil Summerfest @ National Sawdust