Quartabê is nowadays considered one of the most inventive and original bands of the independent Brazilian music scene. The band transits through different sonorities and musical references: from free jazz to afrobeat, from electronic to Brazilian choro. Formed in 2014, at the invitation of ‘Moacir Santos Festival’ (Rio de Janeiro), the quintet became in a short time one of the main references of the new experimental music produced in the country. Released in 2015, their debut album ‘#Lição1: Moacir’ was hailed by critics as one of the promises of the new generation of Brazilian composers.
The quintet QUARTABÊ has stemmed from the band Claras e Crocodilos – an ensemble created by composer Arrigo Barnabé to reinterpret the repertoire of his masterpiece: the LP ‘Clara Crocodilo’ of 1980. Barnabé is considered one of the forerunners of a Brazilian cultural movement called Vanguarda Paulistana (São Paulo Vanguard) that flourished in the early 1980s. This underground movement had as main reference the experimentation of music. QUARTABÊ is thus formed by: Ana Karina Sebastião (bass), Joana Queiroz (tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet), Maria Beraldo Bastos (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Mariá Portugal (drums) – the female wing of Arrigo Barnabé’s project, which has been drawing critics and public praise with shows in Brazil and abroad.
1) The airplane was invented by a brazilian (#sorryUS)
2) Culture and Biology can’t be seen as two separate things
3) Quartabê, when not talking through musical sounds, use a veryspecific dialect with odd words like „Lili“, „Gaxado“, „Negodi“ etc.and cannot communicate without using at least one of them
1) What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
The first inspiration of Quartabê is Moacir Santos- his music,beautiful trajectory, and his verve to create and bring new directions to music. But we are also inspired for all the great music and art that is being made nowadays in Brazil. We are Rio-São-Paulo-based, andthese two cities are quite ebullescent in matters of creativity and crossing of many different countries. Let’s not forget that São Paulo have a population of 12 million people, without counting the adjacent cities. A huge part of this population is of people from manydifferent places in Brazil and also immigrants from South America to Africa, Europe and Asia.
2) How and when did you get into make music?
Some of us know each other for a long time (Maria studied with Chicão at university and is a close friend of Joana’s since teenagehood), but the band came originally from Arrigo Barnabé’s ensemble „Claras e Crocodilos“. In 2014, after one of our shows with Arrigo, the great musician Andrea Ernest Dias, curator of “Festival Moacir Santos”, asked us to create a concert with new, fresh interpretations of Moacir Santo’s work. From that concert on we got in love with Santo’s music, developed a great group connection and good things started to happen very fast.
3) What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
– Clara Crocodilo (Arrigo Barnabé)
– Clube da Esquina n.1 and 2 (Milton Nascimento and others)
– Urubu (Tom Jobim)
– Festa dos Deuses (Hermeto Pascoal)
– Album 2 (Louis Cole)
Not necessarily in this order.
4) What do you associate with Berlin?
Berghain, the head of Nefertiti, „Run Lola Run“, Karaoke at Mauerpark (Mariá once sang „I will Survive“ for 1.000 people there), Rosa-Luxembourg, Natassja Kinski, Walter Benjamin, Bratwurst, one wall and many bycicle and subterranean paths.
5) What’s your favorite place in your town?
The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) and SESC Pompeia in São Paulo (both made by the brilliant architect Lina Bo Bardi) and the astonishing view of Mirante Dona Marta in Rio, just to name a few.
6) If there was no music in the world what would you do?
We would search for music life in space.
7) What was the last record/music you bought?
Chicão recently bought a LP copy of 1975’s „Moraes Moreira“ – a masterpiece.
8) Who would you most like to collaborate with
Bjork, David Lynch, Caetano Veloso, Ai Wei Wei, Berliner Philharmoniker and Beyoncé.
9) What was your best gig?
Definitively, our concert at Casa da Música in Porto (PT) for 1000 people in this first tour of Quartabê in Europe, opening for Diane Reeves.
10) How important is technology to your creative process?
Lately we started to use many pedal effects in the wind instruments sampling and MIDI controllers. Since we don’t have a bass player, we use this devices to share this function between us. And we use e-mail a lot.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Half of us doesn’t have siblings, half does. But for our pleasure our siblings are musicians too and everybody cheer for mutual success.
To Listen: soundcloud.com/quartabe