· par Michel Labrecque

The Brazilian Lucas Santtana is digging an increasingly distinctive path in Brazilian popular music. His ninth album, “O Paraiso”, is his first (partly) French album. And possibly his best.

“O Paraiso” (Paradise) is a record of gentle activism, in favor of the environment. “Vamos Ficar na Terra ” (We’ll stay on earth) is a clear message to the Elon Musk of this world. The future is not in space, it is here. The title song, on the other hand, states that the earth can become a paradise, if we all get involved. The song “Biosphere ” – in French – states: “Ne croyez pas en ce progrès qui affirme sa cupidité”.

There are also two songs in English and one in Spanish. And two beautiful covers, “Errare Humanum Est”, by his Brazilian colleague Jorge Ben and “The Fool on the Hill”, of course from The Beatles. In these two cases, they are real rereadings, in the sense that these songs become totally different, without denying the original. “The Fool on the Hill” starts with acoustic guitar, bossa nova chords and gradually turns into percussive jazz with an intense saxophone solo without you noticing.

And this is where we have to talk about France and music. Lucas Santtana has been living in France for a short time. O Paraiso was recorded in Paris, with a majority of French musicians. With, in particular, the wind section of Rémi Sciuto and Sylvain Bardiau, which gives a new color to Santtana’s compositions, without ever putting too much.

Let’s be clear: this album remains a Brazilian and very Santannian record. Lucas has always had a very folk side, staying close to his Brazilian roots. He has sometimes experimented with rock. This ninth album takes his creation a little further, with hyper subtle arrangements, small flights of electro and percussion. And then these horns, which complexify the harmonies.

And his ecologist texts, a little naive? Perhaps. But it is perhaps also of the lucidity.

“O Paraiso” is illuminated, meditative, musically intelligent. Ideal to survive the winter without getting a stupid tan.

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