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Press Release / Carlitos Nino  in Worldwide
Six degrees records  on 2017-05-01


Nina Miranda : Freedom of Movement

Faced with a growing climate of intolerance, discrimination and closed borders, Nina Miranda celebrates connections. Forging resistance through creation, she sketches new possibilities and imagined musical geographies

'A sense of dizzy bliss... Ms Miranda grew up in Brazil and learnt both Portuguese and vocal grace there" Jon Pareles, New York Times

Rooted in a deep sense of open-spirited community, Freedom of Movement is Nina Miranda's debut album and features a wealth of contributors from around the globe, with core band members coming from London's Ibibio Sound Machine. For Nina Miranda, that broad-minded, human approach has been a constant thread through a restless, innovative career. From late-’90s trip-hop landmarks with Smoke City, Mark Pritchard’s Trouble Man project, to guesting on Nitin Sawhney’s concerts and albums, she’s long embraced the free-flowing exchange of collaboration. With a part in Basement Jaxx’s latest record and Gilles Peterson’s 2014 Brazil opus Brasil Bam Bam Bam, she’s an indispensable part of London’s shapeshifting musical furniture.

On this long-awaited solo debut Nina harnesses a new burst of creativity. At the start of the creative process, she sought to find a new cluster of individuals who could help her realise her nomadic inspirations through sound. “For a while, I felt l’d lost my musical anchor in London,” she recalls. “But then came an epiphany and I returned to Rio to record some new ideas with my friends Kassin and Domenico (of Rio super-band Orquestra Imperial). After an incredible recording session and with regained confidence and inspiration, I started to find magical people to create with back in the UK.”

Raised between Brazil, France and UK, her upbringing encouraged spontaneous kinds of connections. Moving to London from Rio when she was eight, she’d spend afternoons making up songs with friends such as those of the sensual Rita Lee whose LPs were posted to her on her birthdays by her dad from Brazil. Her English friends were fascinated by the Brazilian soap operas on channel 4 and the tales, music and lyrics Nina shared with them from that tropical far-away place. Meanwhile, she’d hear tales of London’s dub sound-systems from her older brother, and be kept awake by house-rattling bass-lines emanating from his room. Through these criss-crossing, continent-spanning influences, Nina has formed a particular, outsider’s perspective, informing the title—and philosophy—of her record. 

“I like to share the buzz of spontaneous creativity with artists and listeners, exploring what happens beyond ourselves.” Says Nina. London musicians included Alfred Bannerman and Anselmo Netto—who play guitar and percussion respectively with Ibibio Sound Machine. Other key contributors are Chris Franck, multi-instrumentalist producer of Smoke City & Da Lata and polymath Antony Elvin. An expansive creative network is the lifeblood of this record, which re-affirms the possibilities to be found through dialogue.   

Other cohorts include Rilene de Souza—an indigenous, Amazonian Brazilian, who Nina spotted with berimbau in capoeira dress from the top deck of a London bus, who contributes spoken word to ‘Amazonia Amor’. Then there’s Felipe Couto, a lodger in Nina’s house who taught himself guitar while the album was being recorded. He pieced together a riff before he moved out and Nina arranged it to make ‘Feminist Man’, Brazilian Artist extraordinaire Chico Cesar and Professional surfer Fred d’Orey also added their textures to the mix when a social visit culminated in a recording in Nina’s home studio.

Forming a personal response to a constantly deteriorating political reality, she explains, “As the rhetoric being hoisted upon us is about closing borders and putting up walls. I’m reminded of the shocking racism prevalent in the UK when we arrived. I want to keep opening doors and finding connections and similarities between us whilst also celebrating the differences. That’s what Freedom of Movement represents, along with the freedom to move between musical genres. This record carves out a space for boundless dreams and infinite landscapes".

Nina’s global outlook has nurtured a deep interest in ideas of place and belonging. The Brazilian sound of the album, for example, draws it’s main inspiration from the country’s Bahia region, This is where she projects her idolised vision of Brazil. “I feel like everyone has their own Brazilian fantasy and I have mine,” she says. “For me, it’s the northeast of Brazil. It’s much less segregated and there’s always music in the streets.” Drawing out how a particular place—real, or imagined—can resonate and inspire her, she says: “I want a certain type of Brazil, so if I can’t find it I’m going to make it in a song.”

 On ‘Play’, Nina settles into a dreamlike, steady-moving funk indebted to Carlos Santana and Earth, Wind and Fire in equal measure, which is a danceable statement of intent. For ‘Whole of London’, she worked with Antony Elvin to realise the record’s most outright, hook-laden pop number. ‘The Cage’ sees foot-stomping drums interlaced with spiritual incantations and, as if to underscore the album’s diversity, ‘I Am’ sees dub echoes and syncopated, club-ready rhythms. 

Above all else, Freedom of Movement underlines Nina’s belief in the power of imaginative creation. An intricate, multi-faceted patchwork of the people and places that excite her, it stands as a rebuttal to the restrictive, negative forces she sees prevailing over the world in 2017. Nurturing the music, artwork and concept over a period of five years, it’s a deeply personal project. “I’m holding up what I love, and putting it up on a massive golden pedestal. It’s about multiculturalism, and saying why it’s beautiful.”

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