vocals & guitar
For centuries, the world's best musicians have built bridges between cultures. They cross borders, blur lines between our similarities and differences, and bring us closer together with their artistic courage. They play. We listen. As we sway to exotic rhythms, we unite. Musical bridges create harmony through shared understanding.
Singer and guitarist Ulla Haesen's newest recording, rio – só vim matar a saudade, fuses the talents of three renowned Brazilian artists (Kiko Freitas, Lula Galvão, Nelson Faria) with the passions of some of Europe's finest musicians (Decebal Badila, Alfonso Garrido, Jesse Milliner, Francesco Petrocca, Gabriel Pérez, Jürgen Schuld, Hendrik Meurkens).
The Portuguese word saudade means to "long for something," the melancholic feeling of missing a place or person. Ulla, consumed by a decade-long ardor for Brazilian music, travelled to Rio to meet, study, and work with some of her heroes. "I wanted to breathe the air where the music is composed and meet legendary artists like Lula Galvão. It was magical to hear this music in its home territory."
Ulla, with the evocative pulse of Brazilian music still in her heart, began to construct her musical bridge when she returned to Europe. She invited three of the artists she met in Rio to come to Germany and record with some of her favorite European musicians. The result? A Brazilian-Eurocentric masterwork that links two contrasting cultures by giving them a common stage. On Ulla's bridge from Rio to Bonn, European flair meets Brazilian abandon.
"Every song on this album has its own energy," says Ulla. "There's a lot of organic movement in this work; it's sensual and emotional. And there's so much joy coming from every musician. When Kiko plays the drums, it sounds like he's dancing. And what a sparkling line-up of gorgeous compositions—including contributions from Ivan Lins, Marcos Valle, Joyce Moreno, João Bosco, Ronaldo Bastos, Nelson Faria (who penned the title track), and Toninho Horta."
Masterfully recorded by Klaus Genuit, rio – só vim matar a saudade offers us a musical bridge built by love, curiosity, and a personal longing for the splendor of unfamiliar cultures.
Cross the bridge. Listen to the music. Hear the joy.
Author of Piano Girl; Rhythm; and Manhattan Road Trip