You may know Rodrigo Amarante already. You may have heard "Tuyo," his theme tune to the Netflix drama Narcos, or the Little Joy album, recorded with Fab Moretti and Binki Shapiro, you might have noted his name among the credits on songs by Gal Costa, Norah Jones and Gilberto Gil; or perhaps you saw him play live with Brazilian samba big band Orquestra Imperial, or with Rio rockers Los Hermanos; you really should have heard his debut album, Cavalo, released in 2014. You may think you know Rodrigo Amarante already, but Drama, his second solo album, is going to introduce a whole new level of confusion to the mix.
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1976, Amarante points to two incidents in his past that fed directly into the recordings: a childhood illness that makes him appreciate the beauty of the second chance; and the moment when his father (with Amarante’s begrudging consent) cut off his long hair, an attempt to unburden all the drama and sensitivity from the young man’s head. “Dressing up as means to reveal, rather than dressing down, to conceal, that is Drama” says Amarante. “A tool. Tickling memory into confession, seeing through the eye holes of a mask. Peeking into the mirror that is playing a part. This is not something I followed but a posthumous realization, something that followed me, as it often happens. These songs were the instruments to realize it, not the other way around.”