Assucena Performs “Gal a Todo Vapor” in the Premiere of her Solo Phase

photo by fernanda tiné

After six years as a member of the As Baías project, the singer, songwriter and performer assucena has just embarked on his solo career. The first movement chosen for this new phase was the live re-reading of the album Fatal – Gal at full steam, by Gal Costa, who turned 50 in 2021. The presentation, entitled “Rio and I Can Cry Too”, will take place at 9:30 pm on January 12, at Casa de Francisca, in São Paulo.

Assucena says she has found herself again as a singer and as an artist with Gal’s album and expresses reverence for the political artistic relevance of the work. With her re-reading, she intends to remember and pay homage to the 1971 album, but with care to express her own traces and sound research.

The artist sees her performance as a conversation with the dark past in which Gal’s album was released. She draws attention to the permanence of authoritarian tendencies of that period in the present time and quotes Walter Benjamin: “Every monument of culture is a monument of barbarism”.

But Assucena also recognizes that his art speaks to the future: “I hope that one day art does not have to come only from melancholy”. And he adds: “But he doesn’t come, does he? Art comes from everything.”

Música Pavé: After six years as part of the musical project As Baías, you are about to make your first solo movement. What are the plans and expectations for this new phase in your career?

Assucena: I usually say that all collective work has two moments: the one of intersection and the one of renunciation. The intersection is the agreement between ideas that merge and generate a synthesis, something new from the fusion. But, in a collective, there is also the renunciation of the individual idea that has been denied and kept. Sometimes you have to let go of what you believe in and that is painful. In the solo project, all decisions will be mine. Many friends have said that solo work is lonely. I’m going to experience this solitude now and hope to build an identity that I haven’t been able to present in collective work yet. There’s a lot in the band that’s mine and a lot that isn’t. My face will become more apparent and clearer. I intend to venture out, because I like what is more experimental. But I also like what is radio and that vein will never leave me. In January my first singles and an EP with original songs will be released.

MP: Is there any legacy from As Baías in this solo flight? What was the importance of history in the group for your trajectory as an artist?

assucena: Inheritance is a natural part of a process in my history. I built and founded The Bays, and that foundation leaves its mark. I can’t deny my story and I don’t want to. The point is to assume and build for the public an identity that in my head is very evident, but that I now need and can externalize as a solo singer. I was able to learn a lot being six years ahead of a collective project and I will carry that with me. With As Baías, I learned how to deal with the phonographic market and that being an artist in Brazil is not easy, especially in the dark times we are living in. I also developed a love for music, which is part of my story.

MP: The show Fatal: Gal at full steam took place in an obscure period of the military dictatorship in Brazil and marked the artistic resistance of the time. How do you relate that political context to our present and to your role as an artist?

assucena: The reminiscences of that time are alive. We have an obscurantism parked on the plateau and an authoritarian cloud over us, and it is painful that we have to live with this everyday reality after having suffered so much for centuries. The history of Brazil is a story of suffering, rape and violence and it is sad to know that we have not overcome certain trends. Fatal it was made in 1971, three years after the AI-5, when Gil, Caetano and so many other important artists in our history went into exile. Gal was left alone, but found companions like Ali Salomão, Jards Macalé, Luiz Melodia, among others. With the rereading of Fatal, we are honoring a cultural, political and artistic monument of our history and talking to it, because this past is a living present. We are also talking now about our future. I intend to draw attention to this work, in another way, in my own way.

MP: Gal’s presentation consisted of an acoustic first part, with voice and guitar, and a more energetic one, with guitar, drums and other instruments. Does your re-reading follow the same format?

Assucena: I really wanted to make one cover of the record, for the beauty as an attempt to experience that moment, that magic. But it’s not a cover. I’m on my time and I need to talk to myself, so I preferred to venture into my subjectivity. Although I’m honoring an artist who was fundamental to me, for my creation, the presentation is much more about me than Gal. The show does not follow the same script or the same format. I create a new prism and look. I don’t pretend to be better, just to make something that is my truth, a tribute to this album and to Gal Costa.

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