By Kátia Moraes | English Edition: Cecillia Schlesinger

Image Music Lenine and Lula Queiroga Together 1

Lula Queiroga and Lenine

Honestly, I don’t know the difference between bass’n’drum, acid house, pop/ lounge, and chill. What’s important to me is if the sound gives me goose bumps, intrigues me, makes me think, dance – in other words, if it pinches me. The “pernambucanos” Lenine and Lula Queiroga have been pinching me since 1982, when they lived and performed together in Rio. They have a lot in common. They love Recife, are guitarists and composers who mix regional rhythms (i.e. percussive manguebeat punch) with MPB and electronic paraphernalia. Jamari França, from Jornal do Brasil calls Lula Queiroga’s sound “Technordestino”.

I watched their incredible show with the “21st Century Fox” Band at the Ipanema Theater during the 80’s. They made their way to the stage to begin the show by coming through the audience playing percussion and singing. Their personalities complemented each other – Lenine, the ‘Lion of the North’, with his strong stage presence, and Lula with his enchanting melodies. I think Alceu was amongst the first to bring the mix of rock and Northeastern grooves to Rio and spread them throughout Brazil – at least for my generation. Lenine and Lula added other variations and multiplied the musical paths, using electronic machinery to create universal imagery.

Lenine returned to Rio in 1980. Composer Ivan Santos ran into him in Alagoas. They began living together at “Casa 9” in Botafogo. Ivan and Lenine were acquainted and had performed together in the Northeast. Ivan describes “Casa 9” as an artistic point – a hotel that received artists from Recife and Paraíba, like writer and lyricist Bráulio Tavares, Alex Madureira, composers Zé Rocha, Fuba, Pedro Osmar, as well as their respective girlfriends, and the Cariocas who wanted to learn from them.

Baião melody in the voice

“We were friendly, and we also had that ‘dry way’ of Northeasterners. This attracted a lot of people (and we were attracted to the ‘fine and charming’ ways of the carioca). The same thing happened with the music. Lenine opened his mouth and his voice was pure ‘Baião’, a regional vibe that usually attracted prejudice. But as soon as he started playing guitar, people heard his modern chords and rhythms so broken nobody could imagine someone playing them and singing at the same time. Lenine would do that, and dance while he did,” Ivan told me via email.

Lula Queiroga lived in Copacabana during the 80’s. He recorded “Baque Solto” with Lenine in 1983 and a single, “Presença” in 1984. Afterward, Lula returned to Recife and spent almost two decades not recording music. He worked in advertisement, built a studio and created the production company, “Luni.” But his musical partnerships never s

SBWeb 2016 Aug 30 KatiaMoraesLenineMarioCostaPaulo Guerra

In the 80s: Lenin with Katia Moraes, Mário Costa and Paulo Guerra.

topped. Proof of this are compositions that Lenine recorded with him and achieved great success with, like “A Ponte” and “Dois Olhos Negros”.

Lula gradually returned to music, participating in festivals like the Rec Beat and April ProRock in Recife. In 2000, he released “Aboiando a Vaca Mecânica” on his Luni label. The CD features special guests Arnaldo Antunes, Jorge Mautner, Pedro Luís, Silvério Pessoa, Chico Cesar, Lenine and more. “Lula is a great chronicler, an excellent lyricist. His CD is sensational and I wish him the best,” said Lenine when the CD was released.

In 2001, Lula won the São Paulo Artists Critics Choice Award for Composer of the Year. This was the second time Lula won a national composer’s award. His first was the Sharp Award for “A Ponte”, composed with Lenine. During an interview, Lula discussed his 2004 release, “Azul Transparente, Vermelho Cruel”, “On this new album, the electronic is not so strongly demonstrated. My primary inclination was to create the grooves and percussion first. The lyrics are kind of surrealistic, without any traces of cheap romanticism. It’s a mosaic, a figurative panel.”

“In the Conceição Church
In the Synagogue of Brooklyn
In the Curumim Tribe
The faithful get up
And the faithless sing like this:
I love the money”

His name is Osvaldo Lenine Macedo Pimentel. “My father named me in homage to Lenin. My father was a serious defender of the Communist regime.” Lenine loved rock and roll, but says Milton Nascimento’s “Clube da Esquina” ‘parted the waters’ in his life. “At that time, the CD was technically impeccable, bold and beautiful. But it was seeing Gilberto Gil on stage that really made me decide I wanted to be a musician.”

“I’m a Northeasterner, with all that the mixture the region has to offer. Dutch in my head, black power in my feet.” This “pernambucano” who looks European and is almost a “carioca” (“I’ve lived half my life in Rio. As a result, I harbor a strong sense of ‘dis-patriotism’. I belong to the world,”) gave me the honor of opening some shows I did with my friend, Mario Costa, at the Sala Funarte during the 80’s. Lenine would come on stage with his guitar and suddenly the audience was his. I think I first heard the esoteric “Much Beyond” – composed by Lula Queiroga, Ivan Santos and Bráulio Tavares – during that time:

“A man on the sand like it was in the beginning
Brushing two rocks, one in each hand
Discovers the spark
That burns down the paradise
And imagined that he had created God
It’s beyond, and beyond, and beyond, and
beyond, much beyond than that”

Bráulio Tavares explained how he composes with Lenine in an interview, “Because we have different backgrounds, we like to begin composing with a visual or dramatic idea. Often, the music is conceived like it’s a comic strip, short film or a science fiction narrative. It helps to open mental windows when we come from a non-musical universe.”

lenine cantor e compositor brasileiro e1714434694287At times, Lenine is considered a neo-Tropicalista because of his mixture of musical styles with samplers or anything that inspires him. “I’m completely ‘open handed and minded’ regarding music and the process of making it. I don’t look for a style. I believe technology exists to serve creation.” After five albums recorded in Brazil Lenine was invited to record his recent CD, and first DVD, “InCité”, at the Cité de la Musique in Paris.

The CD features Yusa, a Cuban bass player /vocalist, and Argentinean percussionist Ramiro Musotto. Award winning Brazilian music engineer, Moogie Canazio, watched Lenine’s rehearsal at “Mistura Fina” in Rio and said, “I was surprised and impressed by the quality of the project.”

“I don’t think I compose, play, arrange, sing or produce well. My best quality is being intuitive,” said Lenine. “I don’t do music. Music is simply the conduit. I deepen the human relationship. Actually, that is the only thing I do.”

Find out more about the artists:

Lula Queiroga 
Ivan Santos
Braulio Tavares 

* This article was originally written in the year 2003

*** Katia Moraes is a singer, songwriter, and artist from Rio de Janeiro. She is a long-time Soul Brasil magazine contributor and lives in Los Angeles since 1990. To know more about her, visit:

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