Mar Anterior transits sonorously between the poetry of orixás songs in the Yoruba language and the medieval Iberian poetry sung. Its key point is the longing for African diaspora, the trauma of slavery and forgetfulness. Along with the first vessels built with the pine trees of Leiria (Portugal), planted by Portuguese kings, who start the Iberian maritime epics, the unprecedented repertoire also starts from the 7 love songs written by the troubadour king Dom Dinis (1261-1325), considered the inaugural landmark of the Portuguese songs of saudade and found in fragments in 1990 at Torre do Tombo (Lisbon) and unpublished for the current ears.
The newest volume of the serie, Imaginário Sonoro Brasileiro, entitled Mar Anterior (2020), had been released through Sesc Digital on May 29, 2020 and streaming platforms Spotify, I Tunes, Deezer, among others) on June 3, 2020. With 19 tracks, the physical disc – still without a live release date due to Covid-19 – is inserted in a booklet of 112 pages, which includes works by the visual artist Rosana Paulino, also responsible for the cover image; text written by the Portuguese medievalist Manuel Pedro Ferreira; photos by Daniel Bittar; and comments by ogan Leandro Perez (guest musician), Luiz Fiaminghi, Paulo Dias and Valeria Bittar, which deal with the encounter of the music of the conquered people, separated from their origins, and especially in this volume, of the enslaved African people, together with songs of King Dom Dinis.
The core of the musical spectacle, of CD recording and book printing / CD insert commemorating its 25 YEARS of work, are the Afro-Brazilian religions with their rituals of ENCOUNTERS, together with the MILLINGS OF MILLS studied and collected by Mario de Andrade in the First Mission of Folklore Researches of 1929 in the Northeast of Brazil, contained in the 1st. Taken from the Dramatic Dances of Brasil collection. The first step towards the meeting of Anima with the Maranhão Mine Drum and with the Cheganças de Mouros do Nordeste is the Myth of the King “ENCHANTED” – Dom Sebastião (1554-1578), his disappearance in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, in Morocco (August 4, 1578) and the possibility of his resurgence in the “Shrouded Isle”, or in the “Fortunate Islands”, leaving the condition of “Enchanted”, from “Covered”, to the condition of “Savior of the World, of the oppressed and of the Nation”, possibility still pulsating in the popular imaginary Brazilian. This Brazilian popular musical legacy is the source where the entire musical spectacle of “ENCANTARIA“. More.
Booklet | SoundCloud | YouTube | tratore
The CD and DVD, DONZELA GUERREIRA / WARRIOR MAIDEN, travels in the imaginary space between diverse borders: Brazilian oral tradition / European medieval music; scholar / popular; contemporary / historical; female, male. Through the musical dialogue between distant cultures in time and space, the ANIMA Group builds a dramatic script, basing her repertoire on innovative readings of the music of Hildegard von Bingen (12th century), the ancestral music of indigenous women, the Latin American novel of the Warrior Maiden, Afro-Brazilian traditions of Congado, Caixeiras do Divino and songs of friend of Portuguese troubadours. Conceptually places the attributes of DONZELA GUERREIRA as the guiding principles of his dramaturgico-musical script. The spectacle assumes that the myth of the Warrior Maiden traces the path of the human experience of conciliation and encounter between the opposing poles, anima and animus – feminine and masculine – seemingly irreconcilable.
ESPELHO / MIRROR – This CD was sponsored by Petrobras and released in 2006/2007. Most arrangements were produced collectively, but we asked Fernando Carvalhaes to help research the medieval repertoire and its performance, and write some of the arrangements. As singer, medievalist, professor, and composer, Fernando took part throughout the ESPELHO project at several meetings, working with us and offering arrangements for medieval pieces he proposed for this CD; indeed he was very much involved throughout the process. Fernando died in the city of São Paulo on 23 August, a few days after the master CD was sent for pressing. Not only the members of ANIMA, but music in general, and particularly medieval music, lost its “alter – ego”, who set a great example with his guidance, and was a great friend of many years to Valeria Bittar and Luiz Fiaminghi. The ESPELHO CD was dedicated to Fernando Carvalhaes. Scenographic direction for the ESPELHO concert by LUME TEATRO: Raquel Scotti Hirson and Jesser de Souza; costumes and scenery by Márcio Tadeu; lighting design by Eduardo Albergaria, also a member of LUME. Photography by Fernando Laszlo and Gabriela Bernd; booklet art by Mickael Jacques, Karla Wanderley, and Izabella Del Castillo. Executive management, phonographic production and project coordination – LUIZ FIAMINGHI and VALERIA BITTAR – AnimaMusica.
AMARES – CD sponsored by the REDE electric company and released in 2003. Scenographic direction for the concert by Lu Favoreto – Estúdio Nova Dança, São Paulo; costumes and scenery by actress and director Claudia Schapira and lighting by Fábio Rett. AMARES was staged in Canada, the USA, and Bolivia, and a tour was organized and sponsored by SESC NACIONAL as part of the series Sonora Brasil. On this for 70-day tour, ANIMA took AMARES to 60 theaters in state capitals and small communities throughout Brazil. The repertoire for the AMARES CD contained 2 compositions by Ricardo Matsuda, who worked with ANIMA as guitarist from August 2001 through April 2008. Graphic design by Valeria Bittar; executive management, phonographic production and project coordination – Valeria Bittar and Luiz Fiaminghi.
Booklet of Amares | listen to YouTube
For the ESPECIARIAS CD released in 2000, ANIMA’s line-up included Paulo Freire as guitarist and writer. Also contributing by researching Brazilian oral tradition, Paulo was with the group from 1999 through June 2001. For the ESPECIARIAS concert at Rock’n Rio in 2001, the director and actress Raquel Araújo generously did scenographic direction, and costumes were designed by Neide Fuser. Valeria Bittar researched images for the ESPECIARIAS CD booklet at the Rare Works section of the National Library in Rio de Janeiro. For this CD, the State of São Paulo Culture Secretariat named for ANIMA the 5th Carlos Gomes Award as best chamber music ensemble 2000. The ESPECIARIAS concert was taken on several tours in the United States, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Colombia.
Booklet of Especiarias | listen to YouTube
ESPIRAL DO TEMPO / SPIRAL OF TIME was launched in 1997/1998, and included José Eduardo Gramani, our dear friend and one of the founders of Grupo ANIMA together with Valeria Bittar back in 1988. From 1996 through July 1998, ANIMA had 7 members. We asked Luiz Fiaminghi to join the group playing Brazilian fiddle (rabeca) alongside “Zé” Gramani in 1996. The composer and guitarist Ivan Vilela took part in the ESPIRAL DO TEMPO project in 1993, and worked with ANIMA until May 1999. The ESPIRAL DO TEMPO CD benefited from the generous contribution of artist Marlene Perlingero, whose woodcuts were used for the CD booklet. For this CD, ANIMA gained an award from the SÃO PAULO ASSOCIATION OF ART CRITICS (APCA) in 1997, as best chamber music ensemble and the MOVIMENTO award for best instrumental arrangement CD. Graphic design, phonographic direction and executive management by Valeria Bittar, flautist and founder of ANIMA.
Booklet of Espiral do Tempo | listen to YouTube
ANIMA’s work on CDs with other musicians
In 1994, ANIMA recorded 4 pieces for TRILHAS, a wonderful project led by José Eduardo Gramani. Others taking part in this CD: Trem de Corda, Trio Bem Temperado, Oficina de Cordas and ANIMA – all ensembles in which Gramani was involved as “inspirer,” member and mentor. TRILHAS was nominated for the Sharp award for best arrangement in 1996. After many pressings, this CD is no longer available.
In 1999, ANIMA provided the musical direction and CD recording for TEATRO DO DESCOBRIMENTO, a musical project led by the singer Anna Maria Kieffer, produced for the anniversary year of the discovery of Brazil.
In 2004, we recorded CAMPINAS DE TODOS OS SONS, a CD, together with the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra of Campinas in state of São Paulo, then led by Claudio Cruz. Ricardo Matsuda wrote three arrangements especially for ANIMA and the Campinas Municipal Symphonic Orchestra.
ANIMA also recorded a concert for the RUMOS MUSICAIS project in October 1999, which was released by Itaú Cultural in 2000.