Sessa creates seductive, minimalist tropicália | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Sessa creates seductive, minimalist tropicália 

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click to enlarge Sessa


Helena Wolfenson

São Paulo singer-songwriter and guitarist Sessa called his 2019 debut Grandeza (Boiled), which means “greatness” in Portuguese. The record lives up to its title; Sessa’s stripped-down, minimalist bossa nova is both dreamy and raw. His beguiling combination of amateurishness and suaveness, as well as the juxtaposition of Spanish guitars with female backing vocals and Afro-Brazilian percussion, recalls Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes’s great 1966 Os Afro Sambas. “Flor do Real” could almost be an outtake from that record, if not for its trippy, sexy lyrics: “To live in the guts of those who make us horny / It’s good / Fucking is the pleasure of sound,” Sessa and his backing vocalists sing (in Portuguese) with detached innocence. On “Orgia,” Sessa has a back-and-forth with a woman, their voices echoing and entwining over isolated, supple bass. Other songs get a little noisier: “Tanto” starts as quiet folk and about halfway through turns into the sort of spiky, dissonant tropicália practiced by Brazilian contemporaries such as Negro Leo. Sessa’s mysterious, concupiscent vision is flamboyant yet laid-back; he lets you know he can seduce you without even trying.   v

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