TUQTI, Dani Gurgel’s new album is released by BERTHOLD records in April 2019. The Brazilian singer and composer uses precise and unique scatting to highlight the percussive and syncopated sound of the Portuguese language. TUQTI, says Gurgel, is not a word but an onomatopoeia. Her samba scat opens the album. For Gurgel, who is also writing her PhD in communication science, scatting is commonly tied to the singer’s language, particularly to the sonority of its poetry and spoken word.
Gurgel quips that her greatest fan is her two year old daughter Rita. “She mimics me when I’m singing and makes fun of my scatting. Rita wants to be part of it. She memorises my scat singing syllables.” Indeed the singer dedicated Cadê a Rita?, the first track on the album, to her daughter. “The title means ‘where is Rita?’ She likes to play hide and seek. It’s as if I’m looking for her and playing with her. She is sharp, fast and agile, fits into every nook, hangs, leaps and in the end she’ll sing a song.”
TUQTI is Gurgel’s second solo album. It includes her own compositions and the music of modern Brazilian composers with whom she closely collaborates. The band line-up: Thiago Rabello on drums, who also produced the album, Gabriel Santiago on acoustic guitar, Conrado Goys on electric guitar and Frederico Heliodoro on bass.
The album also introduces special guests: Joe Locke on vibraphone and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. The latter features in the track Voou, meaning ‘she flew’, a song with lyrics dedicated to Jensen, in which the trumpeter displays her brilliance. “She’s a strong woman who fights for women in jazz,” says Gurgel. “We don’t have much space as jazz instrumentalists. It’s hard to be a woman playing jazz. It’s very hard to be a woman doing anything that is supposed to be done by men.”
Other tracks include: Sete Anões, a 7/4 baião, which means the seven dwarfs. “It’s composed by the great violinist Ricardo Herz, one of the brilliant new generation of Brazilian composers,” explains Gurgel. It’s a song without lyrics.”
Gungunado “is Rita’s favourite song, it’s about not saying what you really want to say, like – I love you, or go to hell. ‘Gungunar’ means to grumble, growl, mumble a complaint. When we sing the chorus ‘a – o – e, e – o – a’ live audiences go nuts.”
Whispers “is about how the world is making us mad at each other, about fake news and social media and how it’s shaping us to be crazy and sad, instead of just talking to each other.”
Remanso “is an instrumental song originally written and tailored for me by the composer Guilherme Fanti.”
Conselho de Irmão “refers to a good friend’s advice. Say or do what you want to say, but please don’t come nagging later.”
Só Um “won best song of 2008 on Rádio Cultura, an important Brazilian radio station. It’s about tolerance and is especially relevant for Brazil now. The lyrics include the verse: ‘I have a friend whose name is Hussein. I don’t know if he comes from Syria or from Manhattan. If he’s rich or poor – I don’t care, he’s just my friend Hussein.’ We’re alone, but we’re in the crowd. We should respect each other.”
Gurgel regards her voice as her instrument. “So what if I don’t fit in a box but am doing something different! That should be encouraged.” she argues. Wherever Gurgel plays her music, be it in South America, Europe or Japan, she dazzles audiences and critics with her adventurous rhythmic patterns, lightness of touch and originality. As best described by Libération, Paris, “Dani Gurgel represents a new musical generation, both traditional and unexpected”.