with opener Ilya
7pm doors • 8pm show
Brasil Summerfest is the premier contemporary Brazilian music and arts festival in the United States. Now in its ninth year, the festival takes place at venues across New York City, showcasing a superb lineup of some of Brazil’s most dynamic performers alongside film screenings, art exhibitions, talks, and special events, all celebrating the diverse cultural offerings of Brazil.
In the first of two nights at National Sawdust, Brasil Summerfest presents singer-songwriter Sessa. A co-founder of São Paulo psych-funk group Garotas Suecas, Sessa recently debuted a collection of sensual solo songs, in which the vibrant textures and rhythms of Brazilian popular music are pared down to an understated lyricism reminiscent of Leonard Cohen and Devendra Banhart. Sessa and his guitar are accompanied by lithe background vocals and spare Afro-Brazilian percussion.
A long-time fixture of both the American and Brazilian music scenes, as a collaborator with NY guitar legend Yonatan Gat and as co-founder of São Paulo psych-funk combo Garotas Suecas, respectively, Sessa debuts his solo work for the first time in 2019. His songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sexual lyrics in the vain of Caetano Veloso and melodic flourishes not unlike those of Jobim. However, the music gets a deliberate minimalist treatment rarely found in contemporary Brazilian music, more reminiscent of the understated directness of Leonard Cohen or Devendra Banhart’s early work. Sessa’s concerts are already stuff of legend in Brazil, as he takes the stage accompanied solely by female background vocalists and Afro-Brazilian percussion. While the songs often deal with subjects such as the sensual body in times of digital excess, the music points to new, more subtle directions for World-pop in 2019 — a deep, minimalist, almost insinuated use of the endlessly rich textures and rhythms that defined the songwriting history of Brazil, one which Sessa now joins as one of its most promising new voices.
A rising star in today’s bubbling music scene in the state of Ceará, Ilya debuted her solo project to critical acclaim last year with the independently produced album Doces Náufragos. The song “Se Eu Saio e Você Dança” gained rotation on French radio station Nova, and in the short span of her young career, she’s already had the opportunity to share the stage with respected Brazilian artists such as Bixiga 70 (at New Morning in Paris), Francisco El Hombre (at Maloca Dragão Festival), and more. Doces Náufragos features both her own compositions and those of her friends in the music scene. Her music incorporates elements of Brazilian popular culture and distorted electronics.