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Dona Onete

2018. 02. 28.

27 March 2018, Tuesday
8 pm — 10 pm
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

Dona Onete

Eighty-year-old Dona Onete, the grande dame of the songs of the Amazon, is more than simply a Brazilian icon: she is one of the biggest sensations in contemporary world music. It was a childhood experience that inspired her to become a singer: she was washing clothes in the Amazon when she noticed a river dolphin, which she enticed to come closer with her singing. When she went to the riverbank the following day, two dolphins came to listen to her. By the third day, it was a whole group. By the age of 15, she was already singing at local bars, but when she got married, her husband refused to hear anything about her songs. A later job opportunity allowed her to keep music in her life: when teaching the traditions of Amazonian Indians and African slaves, she was able to sing when a demonstration was required. As fate would have it, she was later remarried and recently retired when her desire to sing resurfaced. This time with the encouragement of her new husband, she developed productive relationships with local musicians as a member of her town's cultural committee. On one occasion when they performed before the famous Naná Vasconcelos, they were such a success that a producer offered Dona a contract.
This is how she came to record her first album (Feitiço Caboclo) at the age of 73, becoming an instant hit at festivals. Her second album, Banzeiro, was released in 2017 and made it to the top of the European world music radio charts. The record's title refers to the crashing waves that ships make on the Amazon: powerful, irresistible and ever-shifting. One song is from the world of carimbos, another from that of the samba, but there's no lack of cumbias or boleros, either. All are matters of the heart, so to speak, but the body also gets its share: from the smells of the fish market to the taste of the wildest kisses - it is full of gripping rhythm, life and inventiveness.

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