Words by Alex Robinson
What a wonderful CD: joyful, bursting with energy; rooted in tradition but as fresh as the morning light; and age-old but new to pretty much everyone who’s never been to Dona Onete’s corner of the vast Amazon. Songlines have been championing new Brazilian music since the days of mangue beat and was the first English language magazine to write about Dona Onete – back in 2007 when she was a leading light on the Amazon music scene as a member of Coletivo Rádio Cipó. I photographed her then on the banks of one of the Amazon rivers – and remember her not as a 60-something, but as a flirtatious bundle of energy bursting with mischievous grins and cackles.
Her music reflects her young spirit, her traditional Amazon roots and her love of Brazilian ‘voodoo’ or candomblé. Rhythms peculiar to Pará state in the Brazilian Amazon sound as staccato as an up-tempo salsa; they mix with brass, jangly indie guitars, rap, samba and psychedelia. The result is enchanting. Mais Um Discos are helping to update the anachronisms that are often all we hear in Brazilian music. Long may they continue to do so.