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Edition #7
Rio de Janeiro, 2004

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Johann Heyss

TAGS: interviewsmusic

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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

"Remote Batucada". The first thing that the album's name evokes is Gal Costa's voice singing "... comes from a remote batucada, with a well-marked cadence that a Bahian has...". However, the album cover does not show the tropicalist muse, but another muse, more visionary, and somewhat neotropicalist: a beautiful blonde, with green eyes and full lips, posing as Cleopatra and as a Brazilian Indian. The name, written in stylized Egyptian-style letters, is no less mysterious: May East. A name that can designate a date and/or place; it can be an Oriental reference to Mae West, or it can simply be the maybe Orient. In fact, the Sao Paulo native Maria Elisa Cappareli Pinheiro has always been called by the nickname May. The addition of East came after the season she lived in New York, on the East Side.

Her beautiful face was already known to the general public since her participation in Gang 90 & Absurdettes, a band of historical impact and success in Brazilian rock. But "Remote Batucada" was not aiming for commercial success, but rather to explore new musical possibilities and anticipate trends. In 1985, nobody talked about electronic music or ethnic music in Brazil, and very few did so abroad. The concepts of "techno" and "world music" did not yet exist, but the album based its two pillars on these ideas: future (electronic) and past (folklore). Brazil and the Orient.

"Remote Batucada" is a landmark, a surprising and unexpected album, still current today. Its modernity makes it timeless, and the recording credits are a true "who’s who" of the Brazilian pop scene at that time.

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SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR MAY EAST

1. How do you feel listening to your old records nowadays?
May:
I feel how revolutionary the music I made was for my generation.

2. What led you to blend electronic music with ethnic and tribal elements?
May:
Intuition and the notion that the past and future merge like an ouroboros in the continuum of existence. I remember stating that my "Brazilian Music of Will and Search" reaffirmed the roots of Brazilian music and the commitment to future generations.

3. How did the audience react to your music? And the artistic community? While your albums feature contributions from much of the 80s pop rock scene, your work is not aligned with any of them.
May:
I remember my first solo performance where I was both booed and cheered at the same time, with great fervor. Despite being surrounded by musicians, I actually felt very alone in my research and musical journey. My albums did not align with the rock or Brazilian Popular Music production of the time. These were the only possibilities of the 80s. That's why when I signed a deal with an English record label, I left Brazil in '88 and I still feel like I haven't returned.

4. How do you view electronic music and world music today?
May:
Quality world music plays a crucial role in synthesis, as it promotes dialogue between civilizations by transcending geographical, ethnic, and religious boundaries. Which electronic music are you referring to?

5. Which of your albums is your favorite?
May:
"Remote Batucada."

6. Explain the transformation that occurred from your solo career to musical work in Findhorn.
May:
Findhorn is an eco-village, a laboratory of new human relations. Almost everything we do here is in group formation, including music. Everything I've recorded since arriving here has been done as a group. Findhorn is based in Scotland but is very international, with representation from over 40 nations. The music I've been making I call transcultural, as it transcends cultures. It reflects the cultural diversity of Findhorn.

7. Is there a possibility of you recording a new album or performing shows?
May:
Yes, both. I plan to return to Brazil next year and intend to resume shows and recording.

Do you like the sound of May East? Tell us in the comments below

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Ethnic Fusion

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