Zé Vito, a Brazilian beyond the sea
"Além Mar", Zé Vito's new album, has many meanings for the Brazilian singer, composer, musician and producer's career. Recently settled in Lisbon, he tells how he got here and bets on the heated European market to spread his work.
® Can you tell us a little about your trajectory as a musician that went out of Ribeirão Preto, passed by Rio de Janeiro and ended up in Lisbon?
It's a crazy trajectory. I left Ribeirão Preto, State of São Paulo, in 2005. I had 19 years and played with local bands. One of these bands decided to venture in Rio de Janeiro and see what could happen. I went and never came back. The band returned a few months later and I decided to stay and started a music production course. After a few years, I was with bands like Sobrado 112 and Abayomy Afrobeat Orchestra. I learned a lot in Rio, met amazing people. I lived unforgettable things, in a Rio de Janeiro that no longer exists. Later, more experienced, I began to play with many artists, like Jards Macalé, with whom I played for 5 years, and with Céu. I released my first solo album in 2014, but I continued playing with artists. It was 13 years before I realized that things weren't going to walk as I would like in Rio, because the market is very closed. I did a tour with Macalé in 2017 through Europe and Portugal. I had already been in Portugal other times, in concert tours and tourist trips, but this time I realized that I could live here. I stretched my stay for a few days and contacted some theaters to see my possibilities working here, and the positive response really surprised me. After the tour, I came back to Brazil determined to change. I talked to my wife, she liked the idea and saw good professional perspectives for her too. And here I am, for one year.
® Brazil always revealed great guitarists. How is your relationship with the instrument?
I see the guitar and the eletric guitar as an extension of my body and my mind. I play a little every day. I compose with guitar or eletric guitar in hand, and always through riffs that appear when I play the instrument. I'm in love with old eletric guitars, unknown brands, Italian guitars and with different sounds. I get emotional watching good guitarists playing, this instrument moves me.
® Does the new album, "Além Mar" reflect your musical walk up here or are you more focused on the present experiences?
I think it reflects a bit of both. I made other three solo albums before "Além Mar" and I think this record reflects a certain maturity that we acquired on the road, in life, in the studio and on stage. It is an album where I decided to be more direct in the compositions, more simplistic. And the record got a lot of that process of change. I changed country, city, I changed everything. The sound is more mature.
® The fact that you're living in Portugal allows larger flights on your career?
Without a doubt, this is one of my major intentions. Recentlly, I played in a really cool festival in Catalonia, in the city of Lleida. I have made contacts with several festivals of different countries. In Brazil, it's hard to do this because it's very expensive to move a band across the ocean. If you're in Europe, you have more chances to get into the circuit. Here the market is huge. The music appreciation of people is more respectful too. People go to see and hear, music is not a secondary thing, a backdrop for people dancing. I think that a lot will happen in 2009...
® How do you see the music scene in Portugal? Which are the Portuguese artists that don't come out of your podcast?
I think the music scene here is in a very good phase, following the good timing that the country lives. The portuguese are feeling proud of your language and your country, as ever on songs in Portuguese, something. There are many new good artists. The country is small and sometimes limits things a little bit, but in General, have a very heated circuit. Is one of the countries that have summer festivals, more than 30. The artists that I like to listen to are Boss AC, Marcia, Sara Tavares, Madrepaz, Capitão Fausto, The Legendary Tigerman, Antonio Zambujo, Jeanne Bar Vaz, Marco Oliveira ... So many! I also like the oldest, which are masters to me. For me Zeca Afonso and Sergio Godinho are some of the best songwriters in the world.
® Ivan Costa
Photos . Daryan Dornelles