Tribalistas is the musical trio of Marisa Monte, Arnaldo Antunes and Carlinhos Brown. Their first album, Tribalistas, was released in Brazil in 2002, and then overseas in 2003. BBMag was granted an exclusive interview with these hugely influential musicians, a must-read for fans of Brazilian music.
BBMag: We know this is your first tour together. After 16 years and two albums, as well as successful solo careers, what was the reason behind deciding to tour now?
Marisa Monte: The desire to tour together was always there, but timing and circumstances conspired against us. We are all solo artists in our own right, and have enjoyed success beyond music, with art, poetry and television. Carlinhos, Arnaldo, and I are all extremely active in our own fields. Back when we recorded the first album, I’d just had a baby so being on the road wasn’t viable. But now we are able to reunite as a trio and perform on stages throughout Brazil and the world. Syncing diaries was not easy, but has resulted in this rare and happy moment.
Arnaldo Antunes: The seed has always existed.
Carlinhos Brown: And that seed has grown into a huge tree!
BBMag: And what has changed since 2002, from the Tribalistas’ perspective?
Carlinhos Brown: Tribalistas was a baby 15 years ago. Now it’s a teenager! (LOL…)
Marisa Monte: The world has changed considerably, including the way we make, consume and relate to music; everything has been revolutionised by technology. Today we live in a more connected world, in which we face new issues that didn’t necessarily exist in 2002. Subsequently, our creativity works intuitively with our natural feelings and experiences.
BBMag: As individuals, how did each of you influence the overall sound of Tribalistas?
Carlinhos Brown: The moment of truth is when we finish a song and our shared sense of intimacy is able to detect what each other think.
Arnaldo Antunes: Tribalistas has a sound of its own, one that none of us could effectively recreate alone. There is a personality—a language—that surprises even us. Once recorded, we’re like, “Wow, that’s magic right there!”
Marisa Monte: We would record a song a day in the studio, each of us poised and ready to experience whatever each song demanded of us. We would start recording after lunch and go until three in the morning. We dedicated ourselves to creating and exploring the music: It was a truly collective musical experience.
BBMag: What are the challenges you face as a trio, given that you’ve spent so much time apart? Have you thought about releasing more material as a collective?
Arnaldo Antunes: We never stopped recording music together. We already have 56 tracks recorded as a trio, and this doesn’t account for additional material recorded by us working in pairs, be it myself with Marisa or Brown, or Marisa with Carlinhos. But the Tribalistas is a trio, and we’ve been busy all this time. We just never really talked about releasing another album, despite the fact that the moments we record together are so special. The songs we write have an inner cohesion, and an identity that is only possible when we’re together. Our live show is quite revealing in this sense.
BBMag: And your audiences, how have they reacted to your show after all those years apart?
Arnaldo Antunes: People sing, clap, and sway their arms in unison. It’s beautiful to see music creating such energy. It’s inspiring.
Marisa Monte: There’s an overwhelming sense of togetherness when we see people singing along and having a great time. We create a trouble-free and loving Brazil, one that we cherish and identify with, and often long for. As our music professes: we are one.
BBMag: Will your next stage collaboration be in 16 years from now, or can we expect something sooner? Do you intend to expand the tour to other places, such as the US?
Marisa Monte: We are heading to Europe now and will visit several countries. There are plans to possibly tour North and South America early next year. But we are three separate people with busy lives. Sometimes circumstances overpower desire.
BBMag: What do you hope for from European tour?
Marisa Monte: We hope that the audience sings along and helps create a kind, loving and harmonious choir. It’s been so powerful to see this in Brazil and we’re sure we can extend this shared sense of intimacy beyond Brazil.