Is the year over yet? No? So, there’s time for the last list of 2009.
As a music addict, I’ve listened to dozen of bands all along the year. Some of these artists have managed to touch me in one way or the other, for they were part of the soundtrack of my life in 2009 (sound memory forever). And some of those acts launched new albums this year. So, with no more delays, here’s my list of the top 5 albums of 2009:
- The xx. The year’s best discovery. Melodic songs, sexy voices, strong bass and heart-warming lyrics. Unforgettable.
- Fever Ray. The world’s most luxurious electronic music bathed in feeling, meaning and purpose. A masterpiece.
- La Roux. How far can a beautiful voice and lovable synths go? Quite a long way, it seems. Deliciously good.
- The Arctic Monkeys – Humbug. More mature, more guitars, more melody, more Alex Turner. For all times.
- PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Man A Woman Walked By. Banjoes, organs, guitars and voice. A breath of fresh rock into one’s ears.
A universe of feelings:
A musical universe:
May all of us have an art-filled and creatively rich 2010, with lots of good music too.
I’ve always greatly appreciated the presence of animals in connection to most human festivities.
Since Christmas is somewhat linked to the North Pole, I chose an image that depicts the sweetness of the animal kingdom and adds to a hopeful message. This is a lovely illustration by Camilla Engman:
The waves of my sea of work have recently washed my shore, leaving me bored and highly unmotivated.
A wise girl I know told me last week one of truest sentences I have ever heard:
There’s nothing like 9 to 5 work to dry one person of his or her creativity.
I’ll definitely drink to that.
Since the beginning of the month, I’ve been dedicating a lot of my time to reading novels I’ve always wanted to read.
Today I finished a fascinating book by 19th century Portuguese master Eça de Queiroz. His realistic descriptions and depictions of bourgeois (Portuguese) society and their petty lives are delightfully truthful even today. A deep critic of society’s institutions, his work is remarkably interesting when it comes to women. They are portraited in an extremely independent way, with strong minds and a lot of will power, though constantly stifled by their counterparts.
Lisbon, where "Cousin Bazilio" takes place
The book which I just read and in which this is very clear is Cousin Bazilio, a thoroughly exciting novel that tells the story of Luísa, a young married woman who risks everything due to the return of her childhood love, her own cousin (unlike the US, dating cousins is not a taboo in Portugal or Brazil).
Now my reading glasses are turned to J.M. Coetzee‘s Disgrace, a book I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time, even before my interest for Africa had been awakened.
There’s nothing like literature to ease one’s heart.
Today is the second day of Chanukah and I shall use this remembrance day of victory under difficult circumstances to talk about other groups of people who are suffering due to ignorance.
Following my recent and intensive interest in everything African, I decided to investigate how the situation for young Africans is at present. I am not talking about black gay people, rather those men (and women) who were born and/or live in the African continent and who happen to feel attracted to the same sex.
The picture is appalling. Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries and gay men and women are subject to all kinds of discrimination, violence, hatred and even to being killed because of their sexuality.
Fortunately, some people are mobilized for the homosexuals of Africa and doing a great work in bringing awareness of the issues involved in it: Behind the Mask. In their own words:
Behind the Mask is a communication initiative around LGBTI rights and affairs in Africa. The organization considers information and communication technology (ICT) and independent journalistic activism as its main tools. By way of publishing a website magazine the organization gives voice to African LGBTI communities and provides a platform for exchange and debate for LGBTI groups, activists, individuals and allies.
From now on I shall be very keen on helping our African fellows in the global fight for Human Rights and Equality.
Street art is in again. This new-found appreciation for the works of underground artists who work in the streets has been recently embraced by one of São Paulo’s most important museums, the MASP.
One artists who does deserve the attention is Stephan Doitschinoff. Mixing religious motives with strong colors and dozens of depictions of skulls, devils and women, his geometrical painting is at times breath-taking.
Doitschinoff's favorite subjects
The colors and irony of the paintings go perfectly well with most street walls and are really beautiful when in contrast with poor houses and abandoned areas (some of the artist’s dearest choices for canvases). What surprised me the most was the beauty of his sketches and so thinly drawn lines that create quite powerful images.
As pretty as it can be.
There’s nothing like a refreshing trip to a city of culture to brighten up one’s ideas about life in general.
I was amazed (yet again) with the number of options for night time fun in São Paulo.
I’ve said this before and I don’t mind repeating it: Brazilians really, really know how to party like no one else on the planet.
Paris, Berlin, London and New York are nothing compared to the excitement and fun there exists in a Brazilian city like São Paulo.
The city of fun
Just come and see.
- I hate having to work with incompetent people – they make my work even harder.
- I hate dealing with impolite people – they shock me out of my senses.
- I love sipping coffee at home in a rainy day – a true blessing.
The multitalented Swedish artist Karin Dreijer Anderson has recently announced the end of her solo project, the wonderfully surprising Fever Ray, after just one record.
In an interview to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, she claimed that she’s accomplished what she wanted with this album, so it’s time to move on.
Fever Ray live
It saddens me but also it makes me admire her even more. Despite all the positive criticism, she chose the hardest path, the one of creativity. I can’t help but admire independent-minded artists and especially musicians who never cease to amaze. She is aware of the fact that what she does isn’t mainstream and bases the explanation to her choices on her own pursuit of artistic expression, a thought I cherish deeply.
When asked about the difficult reception her music sometimes gets, she replied:
“I think listeners are often underestimated if one thinks that they only want to get fast-food songs, easily accessible tunes which everyone can understand the first time they hear them. I think people appreciate songs that take a little time to be taken it.”
A Fever Ray concert is conceived to be an exhibition, uniting sounds, music and visual elements to give access to Karin’s conceptions of a true and thorough artistic experience. In a fruitful partnership with Swedish artist Andreas Nilsson (who also directed the videos), the singer developed the concept of a five-sense approach to a music concert.
“I think it’s exciting to work with music that tries to express things in different ways, which can be accessed through many different entrances. One can listen to it for many reasons and purposes.”
In a world so full of idols and disposable artists, her words are an indescribable relief to one’s ears.