Interview with Vinicius Cantuaria, musician and football fanatic
The most important to me is to create a good music, to play again and again with the great musicians as Arto Lindsey, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bill Frisell, Mark Ribo… And not to lose the connection with the newcomers. In that I find the pleasure of this profession – says in this interview for the “Blesok|Shine” magazine Vinicius Cantuaria, one of the most significant Brazilian musicians in the last two decades. He’s known as the living bridge between the generation who started the Brazilian musical revolution named “Tropicalia” and the new generation grown up with the Rock’n’Roll
#1 Vinicius Cantuaria was one of the great stars of the revived Belgrade Jazz Festival, side by side with the Dave Holland, All Foster, Dave Libman, World Saxophone Quartet, Charlie Hunter, Duško Gojković, Dennis Baptist… As a representative of the post-electronic acoustics, he again showed why is he called “an artist” in his area of work. This interview is made right after his concert, but only after he checked the football results of the League in his country – Brazil.
You’re known as a musician who is the same time a great football fanatic. You live with Brazilian football on regular bases, although you live in New York and travel a lot. How it happened that you’re not in the football, but in music?
– The football and the music are my passions. I lived with them both, as any young Brazilian. Now, I even can’t tell why I’m in music and not in football. My choice was made in a very difficult times for me. I grew up in a country with great contrast, a lot of poverty and a few over-rich people. Same as my good friends, the famous Brazilian football layers Zico, Socrates, etc., I didn’t belong to the rich people, although I also wasn’t among the poorest. You know, the musicians and the football players both, are very close to the common people. They animate the masses. They inspire the people with their skills and imagination. The only difference between the football players and the musicians in Brazil are the fees – they earn a lot more money than we do. But that doesn’t mean that they forget their past, or their origins. Here, for example, Ronaldo is directly involved in many projects helping the young strained in the street vices and criminal activities.#2
What were your beginnings? Which of your precedents were your inspiration?
– Well, huh, I have absorbed so many influences from the musicians all around the world. From the Brazilian ones, it was Antonio Carlos Jobim. I learned what’s music from him. My moments with him and with Vinicius Morales are unforgettable for me. We share the same name with Morales, he really liked me, and did protect me several times from many troubles. But, at the same time, I grew up with the jazz and the pop-music, also. I listened to Miles Davis, Chat Baker, Bill Evans, Beatles… This people made my music to be what it is. You know, in my country in the 60’s, the radio had very liberal programs. They played Jobim, then five minutes later they would played Beatles or Stones, and after that, they would play something from the Italian music stage, and so on… That diversity determined my own music path.
You are the author and guitarist. But, at the start of your music career you played drums.
– Exactly. While I was with the Caetano Veloso Band, at first I played drums. But, soon I started to play a guitar, too. As it was the period when I started to write my own music, it’s understandable that I chose the guitar to be my basic instrument. It was my most appropriate instrument for music expression.
Caetano Veloso has a certain status of God, in Latin America. You’ve played with him a long time, how you feel about him?
– It’s really hard for me to speak about that. We are great friends. We played together for ten whole years, and even then I started solo. But, I can tell you that even today, we work together quite often. So, I even today don’t have the required distance to answer this question. He is my very dear friend. I can only say that he’s great artist on global level. One of those who make the feeling of the time we live in.
Did he influenced upon your personal musical vision?
– No. Musically seen, not at all… He let me to find my own music. His influence was more in the sense of building an attitudes and stands of my own, to find my own song – that was his greatest help to me.
What was the most decisive moment in your career? Maybe the decision to leave Brazil and go to USA?
– In 1994 I felt constrained in Brazil. I was at the beginning of my solo career and I had the need to play a lot of different things. At the same time, I didn’t think that I must choose between playing Bossa Nova or Rock’n’Roll. It was a difficult time for Brazilian musicians to make music in their own country. It was the same for all… So I decided to go to New York. I felt it as my own great challenge.