Marcio was born in Jaboatão dos Guararapes, in Pernambuco, Brazil. He was born a percussionist, he was always banging on things. For him, anything is percussive: “cutlery, glass, water, our own body”.
He has played on the streets of Dublin, a city which he moved to for an exchange year in order to study English. However, seven years later he remains in Dublin, assuring that without the music he would not have stayed.
In the last couple of years, Dublin has been the stage for many great Brazilian musicians and Marcio took part at the openings of concerts of musicians such as Martinho da Vila, Emicida, Maneva, Rael and he also took part in the production of Criolo’s concert. He also recorded two EPs with the band Profunda Estima and also with Ellen Be.
“I am like that: just give me a shout and I will be there”
Today, Marcio has about nine music projects, three of which are monthly: Brazilian Reggae Night, Forró Namangaia and sessions with DJs. In addition to that he collaborates with Afrobeat, Sertanejo (Made in Roça) Axé and Tributo Rock. The schedule for Carnaval (19th-23rd of February) was well filled up; Marcio played at D-Two, Wigwan, Diceys and also at Arthur’s pub with the band of Afrobeat.
“Everything is percussion: cutlery, glass, water, our own body.”
Marcio, what did you work as in Brazil?
I used to work in Marketing at Wizard English school. My sister put me in its marketing and sales sector.
What do you do in Dublin?
I have done a bit of everything here, [for instance], I was a kitchen porter, worked at an exchange school and used to sell traveling packages. Nowadays, I work part-time and decided to invest in my music career.
How did you develop a relationship with music?
In Brazil I was not the musician I am in Dublin. My uncles and cousins play samba, but the first musician of the family was me. I was always very percussive, as in making sounds from beating on things, and when I got here I formed a pagode group called ‘Tamo Junto’ and that gave me an opening to study other instruments.
What is the music scene in Pernambuco like?
It is really multicultural. Everywhere you go you have forró, maracatú, coco, axé, manguebeat, bossa nova, MPB. Olinda, in particular, breathes music. Recife has a strong disc culture, it has the famous Vinyl Tuesday, people go there to hear the guy play vinyl.
Recife once was the most violent city in Brazil, even more so than Rio de Janeiro, but today it is better. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, Barra de Jangada, I learned about music with my friends.
What are the advantages of a musician here in Ireland?
Access to instruments here is easier, even in terms of online shopping, freight and price. Today I live in a room that resembles a shed for a samba school. And also there, in Brazil, the competition is much bigger than here.
How about the difficulties?
The work itself, [as in], engaging [in the scene] in order to get a gig, a band and create a network to be able to fit in. Documentation is also a difficulty. For an example, we have Forró here, which is one of the genres that has spread worldwidely, so we were invited to a festival around Europe but we were not able to go because a few of our [band] members were in the process of [getting] their documentation.
How did you fit in in other genres that weren’t solely brazilian?
I had been playing reggae, brazilian music, and somehow my name reached a Afrobeat band, Ajo Arkestra, and then we began to play together over 3 years ago, and we already have done around nine festivals together, including Electric Picnic Festival. After that I met “Boye & Colours Afrobeat”, and I have been playing with them for a year already.
Do you think that percussion has been more requested?
Yes, I think bands nowadays are becoming a bit more integrated, even Rock itself has been adding something extra to its sound. Percussion is in everything, and Brazilian percussion is almost unique, it fits into various genres. Nowadays, through a lot of studying, I try to find these paths to add something extra to the music. Everything is percussion, cutlery, glass, water, our body.
Every band needs a drummer, but not every band needs a percussionist. So I play cajon, cuíca and timbal, I add that to other instruments trying to fit into their style by following their pattern, adding and bringing in a bit more weight, as in filling up the spaces. In the sense of bringing in an introduction to the music, creating effects and even bringing in back-vocal when necessary. Recently I bought a berimbau, and my plan is to study it and form partnerships with DJs.
In your opinion, how do Irish people respond to Brazilian music?
The guys here don’t have much swing, so they like our rhythm, they welcome our sound, they are very receptive. In terms of musicians as well, they are interested in learning from us and in teaching too.
In terms of the Brazilian community involved in music, how is that like?
Today the Brazilian music scene here is very brother-like, very united. There are the Rock, Axé, Funk tribes but before booking dates for their events the guys check around to make sure they are not booking on the same date as someone else. When I first arrived there was a brawl, but nowadays it is not like that, especially because there is space for all genres.
Does Forró have influence from Irish music?
I believe so. The accordion is the one who sings in Forró, and the Irish instruments have a similar style. The banjo in their music sings a lot. That fusion would be interesting, I am on a standby for partners for such a project.
What instrument you don’t play but would like to play?
Piano, for the realm of knowledge, harmony and for its complexity.
Do you think that Dublin lacks space for some musical genres?
Sim, for Forró it lacks because people attend it in order to dance and not to drink, so the pubs end up ending partnerships.
What do you listen to at home and what are your Brazilian musical influences?
MPB, Bossa Nova, Forró, I listen to, and really like, the original songs from some of my friends in Brazil. I also listen to Novos Baianos, Chico César, Zeca Pagodinho, Dominguinhos, Jorge Ben, Tim Maia, Chico Buarque, Toquinho, Vinícius de Moraes among others…. I really like ‘coco de roda’, which is my root, an original and typical rhythm from Pernambuco.
And Irish influences?
The Commitments, a band that was never a band. I saw them in the movie and I related a lot to them. Also U2, I find them awesome, I grew up listening to them on MTV in Brazil. I also like Whiskey in the Jar.
What do you miss the most about your city?
The beach. Where I grew up was 560 meters from the beach, so I always surfed. Here I surfed in Bundoran and Sligo, but the sea is too cold. The first time I stayed 10 minutes in the water, the second time 35 minutes.
I also really miss the regional food: muqueca, buxada, my mother’s feijoada. And family… I miss my family.
Follow Marcio on Facebook.
Translation: Amanda Faccioli
You can also be interested in the conversation with the flutist Mila Maia, read here.