Songwriting Becomes the Perfect Ride in Rodrigo Amarante’s Cavalo

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Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.

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There can be no question that Brazil experienced a crushing defeat this week. World Cup watchers will know that Germany summarily sent Brazil packing from the World Cup with a stunning 7-1 victory in the semifinal. But today I say to Brazilians the same thing I said to the English when they were sent home from the Cup early on and completely empty handed: At least you still have stunning equestrian team!

And even more than that, Brazil has a beautiful equestrian culture. Case-in-point: the album Cavalo (horse in Portuguese) – the debute solo release by Brazil native and famed singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Rodrigo Amarante. Amarante is known for his numerous collaborations with Devendra Banhart, the critically acclaimed group, Little Joy (which included Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes and Binki Shapiro), and the longtime Brazilian rock group Los Hermanos.

Stereogum reviewed the album saying, “Cavalo will be a sparse affair featuring eerie folk ballads that could easily soundtrack a cowboy riding off into the sunset. The record is about embracing the solitude of a lonesome traveler’s life…”

Rodrigo AmaranteYesterday, speaking with KCRW DJ, Jason Bentley, Amarante expanded upon the decision to title his album “Cavalo.” In this discussion, he equates his song writing process with the perfect symbiotic relationship between horse and rider, and you know we love that here at 100% Sound!

“In writing, I realized there are two sides of me,” said Amarante, “One is in love with the process…and the other is the opposite. The other side is the rational side that doesn’t really understand where these ideas come from but has the mission of accomplishing something.”

“I feel like the metaphor for a horse and a rider was good because horse riders say that the ultimate horse ride is when there is this symbiotic relationship between horse and rider. So guide becomes guided. In this kind of environment where I’m writing and watching myself write and making fun of myself writing, this utopia is where I want to get. This symbiosis where I would merge, and these two would disappear and I would just be myself.”

Amarante also said that in the melting pot of Brazilian religion, the term Cavalo holds special significance with all people. “We call cavalo, horse, the person who receives a spirit or the spirit communicates through that person’s body. That person is a vehicle so that’s why we call it a horse,” explained Amarante.

He then added, “I thought that can relate to writing too because it doesn’t matter if you believe in spirits or not. If you do, then great you’re tapping into something that’s external to your head if you want to believe that. But if you don’t, then you’re still going somewhere in the shade of your consciousness or bringing things that are tucked somewhere that are external to your sense of self. And that’s what I was trying to do.”

You can hear Amarante’s complete KCRW appearance, in which he performs multiple tracks from the album and speaks eloquently about music, horses and Brazilian fútbol, here: Rodrigo Amarante – Morning Becomes Eclectic – KCRW

You can also decide for yourself whether Rodrigo Amarante’s album Cavalo is the perfect horse ride by buying a copy for yourself by following the links below. Or just take your first taste of Amarante’s work with this music video featuring the first single, “Hourglass.”


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