Brazilian musician and singer Lucas Santtana added his seventh album to his catalogue this week with O céu é velho há muito tempo via Nø Førmat!. It’s a haunting and dreamy listen and has the politics of his homeland and the anxiety of global issues influencing his creative process. “We’re living in a time in which everybody is talking loud,” he observes. “I thought the time had come to whisper into people’s ears.”
Santtana’s previous albums have fused a rich variety of rhythms and cultures – traversing native cornerstones like Tropicalia and bossa with elements of electronica and hip hop. But this third release for the French label – also home to the likes of Oumou Sangaré and Mélissa Laveaux, and follow up up to 2017’s Modo Avião – is stripped back to guitar and vocal, a barer aesthetic and a heartfelt vibration. At the album’s outset, Portal De Ativação (“activation Portugal”) makes clear the political theme with an ominous spoken word section: “Who wants to speak? Raise a hand / Who wants to listen? Raise a hand / Who wants to demonstrate? Well then get up on your feet / Who wants to understand?”
Brasil Patriota subverts the Brazilian National Anthem to take direct aim at those who are perverting the country’s human and criminal justice systems from the top down. Um Professor Está Falando Com Você (“a professor is talking to you”) speaks of the institutionalised corruption which breeds “justice that lies, police that kill and the church that extorts,” Santtana says.
Não vamos nos desgrudar nunca mais (“we won’t ever let go of each other”) is a more personal song on the album:
And what about the cover art? The star constellation from the Brazilian flag is blood red and is met with various symbols of resistance from different cultures, including Shamanism, Hinduism, various social movements, Afro-Brazilian religions and the Maya Calendar, even the Star Wars saga!