Grandeza points to new, more subtle directions for Brazilian pop—a deep, minimalist, almost insinuated use of the rich textures and rhythms that defined the songwriting history of Brazil—which Sessa now joins as one of the most promising new voices. Today, Sessa has shared the music video for “Flor do Real,” the album’s first single. Grandeza will be released in digital and vinyl formats on June 4, 2019 via Boiled Records and RISCO. Listen and pre-order HERE.
“Grandeza is an album about the natural gesture of love and the softness of the human body,” says Sessa. “It’s also about my love for Brazilian music and its many shapes and colors. I like to think that it exists somewhere among the rituals that celebrate life. It’s a reminder that amongst all the pain, music comes to reaffirm the beauty in living.”
Sessa’s songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics in the vain of Caetano Veloso, and the melodic flourishes of Tom Jobim and Arthur Verocai. However, the music gets a deliberate minimalist treatment rarely found in contemporary Brazilian music, more reminiscent of the bareness of Leonard Cohen, with touches of tropicália, and a collaboration with the group Música de Selvagem that permeates the album with elements of spiritual and free jazz.
Written and recorded in multiple locations between São Paulo and New York during a nomadic period in Sessa’s life, the eleven songs in Grandeza portray different worlds of sound and poetry.
“I’d finish a tour and usually rent a room to write, I’d gather 2 or 3 songs, put a band together and get in whatever studio or large room I could get, set up my tape machine for a day or two and work arrangements live, improvising and recording as much as I could. So the record has these different sound colors because of all these different spaces.”
Sessa—who was raised in a Sephardic Jewish family in São Paulo —notes that although his feelings about traditional religion have oscillated, spirituality is deeply embedded in his worldview, and in this album he connects sexuality, tactility, and music-making as their similar forms of spiritual transcendence. He intones on the single “Flor de Real”, “foda é o prazer do som… viver pela pele é a minha crença” (“f*cking is the pleasure of sound…to know through the skin is my creed”). Sessa describes “Flor do Real” as “paint[ing] something of a microcosmos” to the album as a whole. He elaborates, “All the elements that make the record are there. The free psychedelic horns, the deep and heavy low drums, my vocals trading verses with the singers… ‘Flor do Real’ is about overflowing, shapeless love that can’t be contained to a single body, finding its reason to be as one’s lover.”
Embarking on a solo career offered the Brazil-born musician an opportunity to continue and deepen his work as “an apprentice of Brazilian music,” immersing himself and developing his notion of traditions in Brazilian poetry and lyricism, tapping into memories of the music he was surrounded by growing up and the music he has passionately listened to and played throughout his life. With Grandeza, Sessa creates a soft focus portrait of Brazilian music, all without abandoning his love for psychedelic, folk, and soul music — a sensibility that propels the devotional sounds of Grandeza towards decisively modern territory.
Sessa will perform the songs of Grandeza to North American audiences on tour in July. Full dates below.
GRANDEZA ALBUM RELEASE TOUR DATES:
July 5 – New Haven, CT – State House
July 6 – Northampton, MA – Historic Northampton
July 7 – Montreal, QC – Marché des possibles
July 7 – Quebec City, QC – OFF Festival
July 8 – Toronto, ON – Baby G w/ Tal National
July 9 – Detroit, MI – Trinosophes w/ Tal National
July 10 – Chicago, IL – TBA
July 11 – South Bend, IN – Langlab
July 12 – Milwaukee, WI – Ursa
July 13 – Rock Island, IL – Rozz Tox
July 14 – Indianapolis, IN – SSP
July 15 – Nashville, TN – Little Harpeth
July 16 – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
July 17 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light
July 18 – Washington, DC – Eaton Hotel
July 24 – New York, NY – Brasil Summerfest @ National Sawdust