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MOMO. – Photo Credit: Nuno Carvalho
Influenced by a lifetime living between Brazil, Angola, the US, Spain, Portugal, and now the UK, Marcelo Frota is a multi-faceted singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, better known as “MOMO.” His hushed voice and crisp, cunning guitar lines transform his delicate melodies into a universal language, admired far beyond his native Brazil.
His 2006 debut album, A Estética do Rabisco, established him as the face of a new breed of Brazilian psychedelia, influenced by Os Mutantes, Milton Nascimento’s Clube Da Esquina, and Tropicália Ou Panis Et Circensis.
It was named one of the best albums of the year by the Chicago Reader. Across five more albums, MOMO. further developed his gift of reinventing classic music genres, delving into indie pop and intimate acoustics.
His impassioned songs have gotten the attention of musical icons such as David Byrne and Patti Smith, and got him an invitation to participate in a tribute album for Caetano Veloso’s 70th birthday, alongside Devendra Banhart, Beck, Rodrigo Amarante, and Os Mutantes.
Throughout his career, MOMO. has embarked on numerous tours in the US, Brazil, and Portugal. Among his notable live shows are performances at David Lynch’s Silencio Club in Paris and opening for Andrew Bird at Misty Fest 2016 in Portugal.
MOMO.‘s song “Diz a Verdade” (and album of the same name) was originally released in 2019, but Yellow Racket Records released the LP on vinyl this past October 28th for the first time. So this is something of an awareness campaign for a wildly unknown record. It’s so gorgeous.
MOMO. has kindly delved into his Top 10 Songs with a YouTube Playlist for The Big Takeover:
Paul McCartney – “Temporary Secretary”
“Soundtrack of recent days while staying at home with my daughter. A cool, futuristic electropop song by one of my favorite composers.”
Dorothy Ashby – “Soul Vibrations”
“An African-American woman playing jazz harp (not a very common instrument in the jazz scene in the ’50s). The song is a unique mix of African percussion and superb orchestrations.”
Mulatu Astatke – “Mascaram Setaba”
“I got to know his music watching Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers and became a big fan. I’ve watched him performing live. It was fantastic.”
“I’ve just come back from a European tour playing in Alabaster’s band. He has a very particular way of making the setlist for the shows. They are never the same. “Visit Croatia” is the only song that we play in every show.”
Amália Rodrigues – “Abandono”
“This song brings me back to Lisbon, Portugal, where I lived for many years. Amalia has such a sensitive and powerful voice.”
Dorival – “O Vento”
“Dorival is one of my heroes. He is the master of combining voice and guitar, especially while playing live. Both instruments meld together in such a beautiful and unique way.”
Frank Black. – “Los Angeles”
“In ‘95 my brother had just come back from the U.S after living there for a year. He brought lots of good music back with him, including Frank Black’s debut album, which had a big impact on me.”
Egberto Gismonti – “Janela de Ouro”
“I really like the groove and the orchestra’s arrangements of this song written and played by the prolific and self-taught musician Gismonti. This song is definitely a fit for a James Bond’s film.”
Sergio Murilo (Joe Becerra edition) “Lua Azul” (“Blue Moon”)
_“The first song I learned to play on the guitar. My mum taught me this version of “Blue Moon.” In the ’60s a music movement called Jovem Guarda was notorious for doing Brazilian covers of American love songs.
Sibylle Baier – “Tonight”
This song appears in Colour Green, a masterpiece made by Sybelle and recorded on reel-to-reel tape recordings in Germany between 1970 and 1973. Some 30 years later, her son Robby compiled a CD from these recordings to give to family members as presents. He also gave a copy to Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, who in turn passed it along to the Orange Twin label. Orange Twin released the album in February 2006. The album was acclaimed and put Sybelle on the map.
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