Goa and Cape Verde: The music ties
Singer, composer, and writer, Mario Lucio, will perform today, on the second day of SurJahan festival which is being held at International Centre Goa, Dona Paula. NT BUZZ interacts with the Cape Verde star
VENITA GOMES | NT BUZZ
Mario Lucio’s encounter with music happened at an early age of five. Like many of us who tried playing music by striking utensils together he too would try to do something similar, collecting utensils from his grandmother’s kitchen and trying to create a melody out of it. He discovered his true calling to music however, when he was passing through a street and happened to hear someone playing the accordion. “The sound of the accordion hit me and made me learn more about it. I wanted to go back and listen to it again and find where it came from and what it was,” says Mario. At the age of 10 he left home and joined an army school where there was a music room full of instruments which allowed him to experiment. Later at the age of 12 he formed his own band, and it is then that his musical journey started off.
Today, the singer and composer who plays multiple instruments, has nine albums to his credit including ‘Sea and Light’ (2004), ‘Live and Others’ (2006), ‘Badyo’ (2008), ‘Kreol’ (2010), ‘Funanight’ (2016).
He also holds a degree in law, and in fact it was while studying law in Cuba that he realised the importance of studying and learning about traditional music.
“I love traditional music. I was born in the countryside in a fishermen’s community and there I would listen to a lot of musicians. We had a lot of traditional women singers and they would only sing, and through song they would narrate the past history,” says Mario. He also mentions how the country invested a large amount of money to encourage musicians to continue with their music. “I thought why not renew music in my place Cape Verde, not trying to modernise it but keeping it original in a modern manner along with some traditional aspect in it? From then on I started a detailed understanding about music, its origin, what it means,” he adds.
During his research on the traditional aspect in music he found a collection of traditional music of Goa, Malacca, Diu and Daman which was published by a Portuguese anthropologist, and realised the similarities between the music of the two places- Goa and Cape Verde. “Goan music is very interesting, they mostly use string instruments like the violin, viola or light percussions, and there is always a man at the end singing. This is somewhat similar to when you hear music from the Cape Verde islands, the mountains or the country side- where the music is still pure. People in both places (Goa and Cape Verde) don’t sing for the stage or the concert, they sing for remembrance. They sing with feeling and that feeling is what makes it special,” says Mario. “The honesty in the music is what I love and therefore, I truly appreciate the spirit and life of people in these two places.”
Besides music, Mario has a keen interest in experimenting with poems and music.
“Music and poetry is the same thing. When you read poetry, you can try to feel the music inside as well. In the same way, when you listen to a nice melody without lyrics you can feel up words and make it into a song,” he says
At the Sur Jahan festival, Mario will offer the best selection from his career; starting with music he played with the band Simentera, followed his solo works, and much more.
(The concert will be held on February 7, 8.30 p.m. at International Centre Goa. He will also conduct a workshop on February 8 at 11.30 a.m.)