BY PATRÍCIA PALUMBO
In her stalking pants, girlie shoes, braided hair and colored make up, Karina Burh almost fools an unwary individual with a coy face. Soon, her greenish eyes will launch themselves towards the audience and some acid verses will come out of her sweet mouth: “a hatred fury is ready to burst”, she chants. In a lullaby made for kids in Baghdad, she sings: “go to sleep before you die, it's raining fire and the streets are burning up”.
Karina deals in spontaneity and unusual references, like saying she wants to spend a whole afternoon bursting bubble wrap. But her content can often be unsettling Her images are not ordinary and there's quality in the construction: “O céu embaixo das nuvens, a terra por baixo do asfalto, o centro da Terra que puxa a gente, a gente pula contra a vontade do chão” (the sky under the clouds, the dirt beneath the tar, the center or the Earth that pulls us down, we jump against the will of the floor). Her writing is not obvious, even when the subject is love: “Fria, não miro a ira, não miro mas te acerto no peito, quando mudo meu amor de endereço” (Cold, I don't aim at the wrath, but I hit you in the chest, when I move my love around.)
Karina was born in Bahia state, but was raised in Pernambuco, where she experienced local traditional culture at its roots: pastoril, cavalo marinho, maracatu. The color in her songs and lyrics comes from there. Seeing her in concert or listening to her album leaves a somewhat dreamlike impression. A cloud surrounds you. I believe this 'high' has to do with the originality of her discourse and it can be seen in her lyrics, in her stage presence, in her current musical concept, free from genre or style definition. Nowadays, diversity is a cultural reality and Karina Buhr is a highlight in this scene.
Ten years ago, Itamar Assumpção told me: "Brazilian music has many popular melody makers, Luiz Gonzaga, Monsueto, Cartola, Lupicínio, Adoniran... Melodies are eternal. So, if you say you're making Brazilian Popular Music (MPB, in the Portuguese acronym), you have to watch out. Being different is simply not enough!
Karina Buhr is, indeed, different. Eu Menti pra Você is her debut album in a solo career after years with Comadre Fulozinha and it's already one of the best records of the year. The musicians are the best of this generation: Bruno Buarque (drums, mpc base), Mau (bass), Guizado (trumpet), Dustan Gallas (keyboards and piano), Otávio Ortega (keyboards and electronic bases), Marcelo Jeneci (accordion and piano). As well as the most awesome guitars in the country: Edgard Scandurra and Fernando Catatau. The German actress Juliane Elting and the Cuban percussionist Pedro Bandera also participate. The way her music goes, as I've said, beyond our understanding. The references are diluted by the originality of these many talents. It'd make someone as demanding as Itamar very happy, as it makes me.
I've wanted to listen to something like this for a long time. To understand what I'm saying, listen to the album freely and attentively. Learn from Karina Buhr when she says: “Pelo avesso vamos pro fundo (...) sinto muito que você não pensa nisso, surpresa sua. Mas pode ser também surpresa minha, surpresa sua” (“Inside out, let's go deep… I'm sorry you don't think about it, your surprise. But it can also be my surprise, your surprise”) And be happy!