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Dom La Nena Releases New Album 'Tempo'

The new album will be released on 26 February 2021 with Six Degrees Records.

Dom La Nena Releases New Album 'Tempo'

The multi-talented singer, songwriter, producer, and cellist, Dom La Nena's new album, Tempo, is about time. With the new album the Brazilian-born, Paris-based artist created a series of small, crystalline moments - sometimes happy, at times sad, often dreamy, and occasionally mixed with that beautiful deep emotional state of nostalgia the Brazilians call 'saudade'. The new album will be released on 26 February 2021 with Six Degrees Records.

The new album, Tempo is La Nena's third full-length release, after 2013's critically acclaimed Ela, and her internationally-flavored indie-folk collection called Soyo in 2015. Dom is also half of the duo called Birds On A Wire with Rosemary Standley (lead vocalist of the band Moriarty). Together, they have built a songbook from the baroque Henry Purcell to Leonard Cohen, passing by Gilberto Gil, Tom Waits, and Violeta Parra. They have released two albums (Birds on a Wire - 2014- and Ramages -2020) that have been much acclaimed especially in France, where they have been touring for almost 10 years. Add to that her collaborations with Jane Birkin, Jeanne Moreau, Marcelo Camelo (from Brazilian band Los Hermanos) or Piers Faccini, and you have an artist with an eclectic, multi-lingual, unique style that is hard to define but so easy to listen to.

With its blend of pop, world, and chamber music, Tempo may be heard as a response to, or a respite from, difficult times. And that might be the case, although La Nena says that was not intentional. "Composing and writing are a mysterious and very unconscious process for me. Everything in my life is a source of inspiration and has had an influence on my music and lyrics. I have become a mother recently and it has raised a lot of questions about the value of time and life. Consequently, some of these questions are very present on the album: birth, anticipation, aging and death" says Dom La Nena.

Tempo may sound like a rich tapestry of synthesizers, strings, and percussion instruments but really the album is a remarkable display of Dom La Nena's arranging and orchestrating abilities. She created all the sounds on the album herself, using layers of her voice, her cello, and a few piano parts. Even the percussion sounds were made on the cello. "My intention on this album was to explore new ways to use my instrument, to change the original sound of the instrument and take it somewhere else," she says.

The album starts innocently, with the title track; "Tempo" acknowledges the cello's Baroque roots and pairs it with layers of Dom's vocals. "For the first time I had the desire to compose instrumental music. In the same way that I have tried to bring my cello far from his usual sonority, I also wanted to explore new musical genres."

There are lyrics on most of the songs, and in typical Dom La Nena fashion, those lyrics can be in Portuguese, Spanish, or French - or, as she points out, a mix of the three. "It is very difficult to explain because it's not something I control. The music makes the demand to match the sounds, the words, the specific language rhythms."

Julieta Venegas joins her on "Quien Podrá Saberlo" with overlapping vocals, clapping, and dreamy cello arrangements to create a sonically stunning song. And by the time one gets to the eerie, almost near Eastern sounding "Moreno," La Nena is creating drones, percussion and what sounds like mallet instruments from her cello and effects.

An album about time could be an impossible mission, but La Nena has written many of these songs about specific moments 'in time'. She has long been a gifted producer and arranger, and in stripping back the instrumental textures on this album, she displays a sure hand in the control room. Despite the restricted sonic palette, La Nena creates a wide range of sounds: the jaunty "Oiseau Sauvage," with its lilting vocal line; the waltzing bowed and plucked cellos of "Valsa"; the heart of her daughter on "Esperando Alma" and "Teu Coração" and the up tempo but still relaxed mood of "Vejo Passar." Melting vocal harmonies color the song "Doux De Rever," a song about growing older. And the subtle interplay of pizzicato cello, cello-percussion, and piano supports Dom La Nena's multi-part vocals on the album's closer, "Milonga" which she describes as a song about "death and transition." In an album that is all about moments in time, none of these moments overstays its welcome.

Tempo marks the return of a distinctive and exceptional musician. It is about time.

Listen to the album here.


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