Here is an English translation of selected parts of that article that came out on Vreme magazine in late August which mentioned my concert in KC Grad in Belgrade, written by Dragan Kremer. Translation from Serbian by Saša Rakezić, revised by Tim Stappard.
COMING OUT AT NIGHT
Rita Braga, KC Grad, Belgrade 22.08.2014
“(…) Rita Braga (b. 1985 in Lisbon, lives in Porto) studied musicology, did illustration work, composed music and also voiceovers for animation, film and commercials and acted in cabaret and film… in 2004 she started touring around the world, appearing in burlesque plays to even elementary school performances. Last Spring, she was on her first ex-Yugoslavian tour where she appeared in variuos places, from the Sardine Factory in Mali Lošinj, Croatia, to Salon of Applied Arts in Maribor, Slovenia, and Belgrade’s KC Grad and memorably in Skopje. “Like most people I met in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia I too long for that distant country Yugoslavia where being a poet used to be a very respected job”, she said. “And Skopje is my new favorite European capital: it’s like being inside a Monty Phython movie – mixed with ancient Rome”. On her latest tour around Serbia, she will play at Deliblato Sands (where there’s a comic workshop), and Pančevo (playing at the Film Festival). Rita’s career is a mishmash of everything – field recordings, analogue sounds made on Moog, self-published material, internet radio, pirate webcasts, low-fi and SoundCloud, home tapes of her singing over the sound of old records and broken old radios. Throughout she has been changing identities, leaving them behind like old clothes. She has collaborated with numerous musicians, (such as Presidente Drogado), and forms bands in a jiffy. Original posters for her shows are usually made by well known graphic artists. She even claims that cartoon characters appear in her dreams, and give her “career” advice.. It’s not just coincidental that the cover design for her first album Cherries That Went to The Police (released in 2011, with musicians including collaborators of Zappa and Waits) was designed by Aleksandar Zograf in person!
And take her music, her repertoire – the word “eclectic” is not enough to describe it. It’s a sound collage that includes music coming out of Brazil and Bollywood, adding everything from Mozart to cowboy songs, with ethno-musical references connected even to the countries that she hasn’t visited yet. There’s Katyusha, and on Her…Home Recordings Vol. 3 there is Jedva čekam da nedelja dođe. Actually, she does everything but fado!
Even though she sometimes uses piano, synth, or pre-recorded tape with minimalist electronics (Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart sounds like Julee Cruise), while playing live she mostly only plays her miniature ukulele (shorter: uke), which definitely affects the choice of styles and numbers. (…)
Anyway, Rita Braga perfectly fitted into Belgrade’s monsoon summer. With her Do-It-Yourself approach, without virtuosity, but convincingly and charmingly, she toys with music making; not unlike The Lounge Lizards did before. There was even a random Intermission supplemented by a passing train, which moved just beneath the stage. (…)”