Martinho da Villa: “Bolsonaro is rude, speaks bad words, incites people to violence, but that will pass soon”

One of the greatest names in Brazilian music spoke to CNN Portugal a few days after his return to the Portuguese stage. He described the meeting with Lula in prison, the company atmosphere in the slums and his desire for the October elections: that Bolsonaro would be defeated.

“My little sister

Let’s make sed

Cut what?

herbs

like which

located in the savannah

cut corners

There in the middle and on the sides”

The first clip of the song that opened Martinho da Vila’s new album “Mistura Homogénea” goes straight to the point. There are weeds in the Planalto Palace and they must be cut. In an interview with CNN Portugal, Samba does not forget about the October elections for the Brazilian presidency and portrays Bolsonaro as “badly educated” and as a vehicle for “homophobia”. “The head of the nation is like a family man, he has to set a good example,” he notes.

The genius behind “Canta Canta Minha Gente”, “Mulheres” and “Devagar, Devagarinho” reached 84 in February, 54 of which have designed a new samba. He has eight children and has fought many political struggles, including the “Diretas Já” movement in 1983. Two years later, he released his first children’s book, in which he asserted that “there is nothing more political than samba”, in 2022, he was the owner of The great homage at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when it was chosen to be the subject of his samba school, Unidos de Vila Isabel.

The artist, Lula da Silva’s longtime friend, whom he nicknames “Sio Ferreira,” recalls the day he went to visit the former head of state in prison, with Chico Poarque, and reveals that he felt even more excited when he left that when I walked in. “It was so good, it softened us.”

In conversation days before returning to the national stages – Martino da Villa will perform in Faro (20/5), Porto (26/5), Lisbon (28/5), Braga (29/5) and Coimbra (31/5)) – He admits his admiration for Bemba’s music and folk rallies, while describing Brazil as “the country of contrasts”, stressing that there is a need for a more united and mixed world, as he sings in the first song of the new album, in that “Everyone Prays Together”.

It’s been a tough year. He was honored by his samba heart school, Unidos de Vila Isabel, at this year’s Rio de Janeiro Carnival. He has now released this album, “Mistura Homogénea” and is back in Portugal for a new tour. Were they special moments for you?

I released the album in Rio de Janeiro and I came here, it’s very modern. The album Mistura Homogénea is an album that mixes everything. A homogeneous mixture is something inseparable, isn’t it? Brazil and Portugal cannot be separated, it is a homogeneous mixture.

He is a fan of Portuguese cuisine, fado, but one thing I found interesting is his taste for Pemba music. What attracts you to this musical genre?

I like Portuguese music in general, but Portuguese folk music in particular. He is very good. I love the music you say here it’s pop, it’s a good song, I really like it.

Do you have things you like?

I don’t listen to it that much, you know, but when I do, I love it. I’m going to sing a song they say is “Pimba” and it’s “Chora Carolina.” Cry, Cry, Cry Carolina. It is the union with tradition, and there is also a folk song called “Milho Verde” which I also think is very beautiful. Another thing I love is the rallies they do in June. I even scored one, the São Vicente Rally…”São Vicente Rally, no.. dara… no… Tintin. Yes, it’s very good.

This new album is a meeting of different musical styles, mixing rap with samba de vista-alto, for example, but also hinting at chemistry. Martino studied this subject and even worked in the area. Was it a return to the past for you?

Yes, this album has a little bit of that thing in it. I never thought that I would be a singer in the future, no, it just happened. My profession even there in Brazil has a name, it is called the National Service for Industrial Learning. She studied, took an assistant industrial chemist course. There’s even a testimonial in the house that says “Martino Jose Ferreira, Lab Technician. Prepared for oils, waxes, perfumes, greases, and soaps. Yeah, I don’t know how to do any of that. That’s why I remembered so little of it, it inspired me a bit to set this record.”

This type of meeting without borders also sends a message of faith in peace among ethnic groups, peoples and religions.

Yes, in this work I benefited even from this topic, because there is a path that is joyful prayer, and it has themes of different religions, so that people learn to respect each other. There are evangelists singing along with the menorahist. It even has a rabbi who is Nelton Blonder and Muslim leader Cesar Kaab. And this is really the intention, the making of the mixture… because God is one and has a name in every city. Ecumenism is for everyone to pray together. For example, I have a large family and at the end of the year we meet, around Christmas, and in the family there are Catholic people, there are people from Candomble, and there are evangelical people. It has it all, we sing it all, we pray, it’s all together and it’s so much fun. We can do everything together.

Have you taken a very critical attitude towards Jair Bolsonaro, do you think that Brazil today is less tolerant?

The artist, he has to make music. He is naturally influenced by what is going on around him and it ends up becoming part of his job. People indirectly talk about the herbs in the palace [do Planalto]. Now, we’re in a rather confusing election period, October now, and I think we’re going to get rid of Bolsonaro. Because Bolsonaro, when he took office, no one was Bolsonaro, they voted for Bolsonaro by not voting for Lula. They voted against Lola. And when he gave his first speech, I said I think he would be a good president with good intentions. But what he said ended up being the other way around. I just don’t like him that much because he sets bad examples.

what do you mean by that?

The head of a nation is like the head of the family, he has to set a good example. So, he’s rude, he swears, he’s inciting people to violence. All this conveys a lot of homophobia. This is what bothers me the most about it, but this will pass.

It was not for a friend of his, and he has admitted this many times. Would you like to know what it was like to see him imprisoned for more than a year and then leave and run for president again?

Lola is a girlfriend, isn’t she? I met Lula during the time we were fighting for direct elections in Brazil. We have taken part in a big movement called “Diretas Já!”. This is where I found Lola. Then I went to release a book in São Paulo and he went there too and our friendship solidified and we became friends. My friends, we have to be together through the joys and tribulations. When he was in prison, I also went to visit him and he was recently at his house. It is a friend. Comrade, that’s it.

What was his vision like under these circumstances?

I don’t visit someone when they are in a tough situation. It’s bad, isn’t it? Visiting a man in prison .. What will we do? But with him it was different. For as soon as I got with Chico Poark to the prison, I thought I’d find him rickety, but he immediately said “Hello, Mr. Ferreira, you’re at last,” Mr. Ferreira called me and I called him Ignatius. He asked me when will we get one? “It is not possible here, Mr. Inácio.” “It’s not possible here,” he said. It was so good, we loosened it up.

Do you think political leaders are giving a wrong impression of what is happening in slums?

Brazil is a country of contrasts. It is a rich country, and it should not have a poor country. We are the sixth economy in the world and there are countries in the twentieth rank and there are no poor people below the poverty line. Rio de Janeiro, for example, is divided into two parts. There is the upper city which is the slums, the lower city is the street dwellers, and there are also the lower slums which are the fringes. There are people who think that in the slums there are only bad guys, bandits, all-day war and crime, but this is not the case. There is more crime in the lower city than in the upper city. It’s amazing, the people there are very supportive of each other. Sometimes, a family that does not get along well with another, if they realize that one of them needs something, they send their son there to get it. There is exchange, there is solidarity, I come from the slums so I know that very well.

And can we still talk about samba as a weapon of political resistance?

Samba is resistant because Samba has always talked about her problems. The oldest samba, the more traditional samba, that first samba on the hill, they mainly talked about the lack of work at home. This wasn’t doing politics, it was simply listing your stuff, your singing. Even in romantic samba there are these things, so samba is always a resistance.

And what do you resist samba?

Yes, when there is a beat that takes over more media, they always say the samba is over, or about to end. There’s even a verse written by my friend Paulinho da Viola saying “I’ve been listening to this bullshit for so long that the samba is over. He only left when the day dawned. So good.”

One of the first books he edited was Let’s Play Politics (Global, 1986). It was a children’s book with adult themes. Was it important to you to take an educational aspect?

It was a children’s book but it wasn’t very childish. I kept talking about things the kid didn’t have time to think about. Explaining what was socialism, republic, democracy. I intend to write a new book, Let’s Play Politics, Childish. I did some work, but it’s hard to make a children’s book, because a children’s book, you have to talk to the child, so you have to act like a fellow child who is talking with the child to write. So much so that, at times, the most important thing is to clarify the book.

Or play with words.

I wrote a children’s book that was the red rose and the white carnation. This was interesting, because I thought of the circle game that says “The carnation played with the rose / Under the porch / The carnation was wounded / The rose was torn.” I thought it was a war. absurdity. Then I made “The carnation was fucking the rose / Under the porch / The carnation was down / And the rose was more fragrant”.

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