Kara Jackson ⟡ MaZela

Galeria Zé dos Bois

©Lawrence Agyei
MaZela ©Tiago Cardoso

An invitation. Put “Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?” on and close your eyes, abstract yourself from the idea of what song is playing and concentrate for a moment on Kara Jackson’s voice. The feeling that the singer-songwriter is nearby is dizzying, but something else will stand out, the vocal register, somewhere between spoken word and the mood of someone performing in a comedy special. The latter is born from a combination of Kara’s register and writing, flowing with the ease of orality, disregarding song conventions or even expectations of what it is and where it should go. In part, does this mean that Kara Jackson is funny?

But humour is part of it, it’s an escape, an insecurity that manifests itself unpredictably in this singer-songwriter format. Humour can also be confessional – or falsely confessional, to divert attention – and that’s the beauty of Kara’s first full-length, released last year: there’s a gap between our expectations of what we think her music should be and what it actually is. For example, “pawnshop” invites you to immediately think of Joni Mitchell: homage, influence? Maybe something else, as Kara Jackson’s blues is miles away from what we consider blues. There is another path here, the passage of time, the visit to the genre by way of change. But change ignores tribute, respect, and goes its own way. If there’s anything to take away from Kara Jackson, just over twenty years old, from Chicago, it’s that she’s here to change something. As Angel Bat Dawid, Circuit Des Yeux and Julia Holter have been at other times, with the appropriate distances and motivations. What he’s doing now is exceptional, between truth and lies, illusion and confession and, above all, a real desire to raise alarm about the need to live the music of the present with the rules of the music of the present. This is the new blues. AS


“Naveguei (onde os outros vão)” is the lead single from MaZela, a song that transforms heartbreak into hugs through the sweet voice of Maria Roque. MaZela arises from the search for balance between acceptance of pain and attempts to diminish it. At the same time as it celebrates sorrows, it watches over them.

The project, which began in 2020 with Maria Roque on vocals and guitar, is now intertwined with a second guitar, Alexandre Mendes. Between 2022 and 2023, MaZela has already played at the Bons Sons, Super Bock Super Nova and Apura festivals. For those who aren’t aware, it’s Maria Roque’s voice and guitar that can be heard on “Canção a Zé Mário Branco” on the award-winning album “2 de Abril” by A Garota Não. “Naveguei” had a first version that was part of the compilation Super Castelo Branco, published last year, but now appears in this new guise as a calling card for the EP “Desgostos em Canções de Colo” which will be released in October 2024.

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