Fanzine Brasil

quarta-feira, 8 de maio de 2019

INTERVIEW WITH JESSIE EVANS:

Por: Vannucchi
 
Jessie Evans not only produces works of art but its as if she were a work of art. Her work is filled with contagious energies which are able to free us from all darkness that afflicts us. Her songs offer us a bit of everything: a colorful and creative mix of feelings, emotions and experiences. Our beloved saxophonist and composer has already played in countless stages around the world, through which she has gained recognition. She has lived in many different countries and currently resides in Brazil. In April 2017, she released her latest album, titled "In Love with Jessie & Pitshu". Last year she performed at Virada Cultural, one of the most important and popular musical events in the country. And how is Jessie's life and career today? Well, I had the opportunity to chat with her, and I brought some news and curiosities to Fanzine Brasil. Check it out!

1. Jessie, what are your plans for the future? Are you working on some new material?

I’m currently working on two new albums. One is in a new wave/ film noir/ pop style with a producer from France named Younick Yvenou, and one which is Reggae/ dub project with a producer from Mexico named Ima Felini. I also have an unfinished album of reggae versions which I’m slowly completing. Last time I was in California I made plans to begin making new material with Billy and Brian from my old band The Vanishing. It’s a slow start, but Billy and I have some new songs in the works. Have also started a collaboration with Karim Shuquem, singer from The Phantom Limbs (fellow deathrock / wave group from San Francisco) who is a dear friend. These are on back burner but will manifest in time…

2. Are there any concerts for 2019?

Nothing planned yet as I’m still focusing on recording right now and I’m not in a rush to return to the stage until I have new material.

3. What have been your main inspirations lately?

 Love has always been and continues to be my main inspiration for songwriting and for life in general. When I first began writing songs I felt I had to be very conceptual about it, very metaphorical, political. I felt as though every song was my chance to say to the world every single thing I felt in my heart, and felt this urgent responsibility to say something important. Now I’m much more relaxed. I don’t try so hard, I just let things flow and write how I feel. I feel beyond all, it’s important to be honest and to speak from your heart. Love is the only subject I feel I have any grasp on really. Not just romantic love but love for my daughter, my mom, my chosen country, this planet. 

 My environment is a big inspiration as well. For the last three years now I’ve lived in Ubatuba, Brazil, which is a beach town halfway between Rio and Sao Paulo on the north coast of Brazil. We have over 103 beaches in our city. It is literally one of the most beautiful places on earth and I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to live here and spend this quality time in nature. A couple years ago when I was living in Aricanduva- Zona Leste in Sao Paulo, an area known for having the largest shopping mall in South America, I dreamt of this amazing place with all these beaches and tropical fish. It was so beautiful, unreal, like nothing I’ve ever seen. And now we are here! It was my dream for a long time to return to the sea.  Friends, family and society told me that I had to wait until I was retired to move to such a place. That I needed to be in a city to be an artist. But, as I’m sure I’ll never retire, and also uncertain how long I’ll actually be here on this planet, I decided to live for today. It was my greatest desire to live by the ocean in a time and area where the ocean is still clean enough to swim in and I wanted to share that experience with my daughter while she is growing up. I am from a small surfing town in Northern California and grew up swimming. It’s something which greatly shaped my spirit. So I end up writing a lot of sailor style songs, with references to the sea and ships, beaches, islands. As it rains so much here, rain and flooding have actually become a very constant topic in my songwriting as well. Mermaids are a big inspiration to my visual art as I’ve begun making mermaid dolls in addition to the Josephine Baker dolls I make.  I’m not sure at the moment if I will stay here long term, as I’m feeling the 7 year itch to move onward and try something different, but at the same time, I’m very happy with the time we’ve spent here and wouldn’t mind if we stayed forever. I find the nature here incredibly inspiring. I could spend hours on my hammock just looking at the wind blowing the leaves on the trees. I tell my daughter that the trees are dancing. The leaves are like people in a dancehall, moving and fluttering together in the wind. In nature, every part is connected to a whole, where as humans we are sadly separated by our egos. I will never get tired of the beach, the ocean, the mountains, the jungle. We have over 30 fruit trees in our yard including banana, jabiticaba, pineapple, guayaba, papaya, avocado, amaro, acai, coconut.  I am constantly amazed by what new exotic fruit I discover here in Brazil. Many of them have textures that are so erotic, and flavors that combine nuts with fruit sweetness.

The Nicherin Buddhism that I study and practice with the chanting of Nam myoho renge kyo is also a constant source of joy and inspiration in my life. This modern form of Buddhism teaches that out of all suffering comes joy, that there is actually a sacred law to the universe and that everything is in rhythm to this. They say “Let the poison be the remedy.” They believe we are all gods and responsible for our own happiness, and that enlightenment is not something resigned for the after life but something which is attainable to all people, and in all moments. You could be happy in the next instant, if only you change your perspective. It brings great courage to know this, and to have found a faith which encourages such positivity. The simple discipline of chanting brings great courage and force for me in my daily activities and continues to make me feel as though we are all just rocks tumbling through the sea, continuously  crashing against the shore  and will eventually become polished and purified, more beautiful than imaginable. 

(...) from this darkness I believe we will birth the new world, and are in fact, in the midst of this darkness,  we’re already entering the next golden age (Crédito da imagem: foto de Fabio Viana).
4. How has it been for you living in Brazil, that currently faces such a difficult political situation?

I have sincerely enjoyed living in Brazil. I’ve always felt so grateful, as Brazil has been a country which received me with open arms and heart and has nurtured me on many levels. Though it has been a challenging time in my life in terms of surviving as a musician, I do feel that I have been well received here and greatly appreciate the kindness and humanity of the Brazilian people. Community is important here and people are very friendly, talkative. It makes life so much more enjoyable to wave and say hi to people on the street when you go to the store.  I’m scared over the new president and what destruction that will bring to not just Brazil, but to the world, as he is keen on destroying the amazon and its resources as well as natives at a speed that we have not yet seen. I’m sure this will have devastating effects on the planet and I hope something can be done to stop this progression of stupidity and egocentric greed which is so prevalent in the world these days. For sure we are in dark times, but from this darkness I believe we will birth the new world, and are in fact, in the midst of this darkness,  we’re already entering the next golden age. It is like a shedding of skin on a planetary level, in which all darkness and sickness must be revealed in order for the truth and love beneath to shine once again.

5. Do Brazilian songs have or ever had any influence on your compositions? Do you like any specific Brazilian musical genre?
I don’t feel that Brazilian music has had much impact on my music, no. Brazilian music is very specific, very diferent from my punk/ wave/ jazz/ reggae roots, and even if I can appreciate it, it is not something really natural in my blood that I could just transplant into myself. I guess what I enjoy the most is the percussive elements. I apprecaite Brazilian pop music too: Ludmila, Anita. I find these styles very sexy. I enjoy a lot the álbum FATAL from Gal Costa, and her early work. That álbum has had the most impact on me. Rita Lee of course I think is fabulous too, Gil Gilberto...

6. What bands/singers have you been listening to lately?

I discovered this band WILD BELLE (from Chicago, based out of LA ) who I absolutely love and identify a lot with. Also been listening to Lana del Rey a lot the last weeks. I’ve always liked her stuff but until now was never obsessed. My daughter loves Cyndi Lauper “Girls just wanna have fun” and needs to listen to it and do all the dance moves from the video several times a week, which for me is just such a pure joy as Cyndi Lauper was the first singer I truly identified with and who inspired me to sing. I am also listening  to Ima’s electro  cumbia AMANTES DEL FUTURO. Can’t wait for him to release his new album so I can share it. In general I listen mostly to roots reggae / dub and new wave music. Nina Simone is a constant favorite too, along with Prince.

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