Votes have been cast, hanging chads have been assessed, last year’s winner has been dethroned and cast to the wolves, and the winner of Ukulele Video of the Year 2011 is A Banda Mais Bonita da Cidade’s Oração. With more views than all the others on the list put together, a joyous video and a tune that makes me sing along despite having no idea what I’m saying, it was a clear winner.
Second place was Lisa Hannigan. You can find all the results here.
Vaguely interesting fact: Ukulele Video of the Year has never been won by someone from the same country twice. So far: an American, two Japanese puppets, a Welshman, a Canadian and now a bunch of Brazilians.
A Ukulelist Mais Bonita da Cidade, Rodrigo ‘Lemoskine‘ Lemos was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Congratulations on winning! Can you tell us a bit about what inspired the video and how it was filmed?
Thank you all, people from Uke Hunt! We’re very happy to represent our folks here. Well, the idea for the video came up as we were invited by our sweet friend Ana Larousse – who also is a singer/composer – to spend the weekend at her grandma’s house in Rio Negro, this very little town in Paraná, south Brazil. By this time, the band already had gigs and a large set of songs in which “Oração” (by Leo Fressato) was kind of “in charge” to be arranged. We just told people to come over for the weekend and brought all of our audio and video equipment to shoot it.
For us non-Portuguese speakers, what’s Oração about?
You’d have to ask Leo, if you wanna know better lol. But certainly he’s gonna tell you it’s pretty much about love and hate. He was like so stuck to a bad experience on a past relationship that the only way out was to start being lovely, instead of being greedy. The main verse says “My love, this is the everlasting pray to save your heart…”.
How did the band get started and why did you name it A Banda Mais Bonita da Cidade?
The band began to play gigs in 2009, when Uyara (vocalist) and Vinicius (keyboardist, director of “Oração” sequence) came together with this idea of reinventing other people songs. At first, I was featuring on the debut show as a composer and special guest musician… by the second time, I was officially in the band. The name was suggested by Vinicius, and it came from a story by Bukowski which is called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town”.
The video made a huge splash all over the world. What do you made it so popular?
I’m not sure, obviously. We think that is the truth behind it and the friendship we’re celebrating there. I guess people simply identify with that…
How did you first start playing the ukulele?
It was back in 2010, when I first visited New York City. I was already in love with the instrument because of George Harrison’s tribute “Concert for George” (you know, that McCartney’s uke version for “Something”… and then suddenly Clapton goes wild with his Stratocaster?). So… I had the rare opportunity to buy a cute “Cordoba” mahogany model on that trip. Later, when I was well adapted to the chords, I bought myself an electric Lanikai (recommended by sweet Lou Armer) to play live. Things are slowly getting better, but it still hard to find good ukes here in Brazil.
It seems like a lot of the focus on Brazil is centered around Rio and Sao Paulo. What’s the music scene like elsewhere in Brazil?
I believe it’s everywhere. Our new artistic output is getting bigger with the internet thing, of course. There are many acts being nominated and playing worldwide because of the free sharing of information. You see, plenty of them were not necessarily raised in Rio or São Paulo. I have a special feeling for the northeast scene, for example, which stands out with “Nação Zumbi”, “Otto”, “Cidadão Instigado”, “3 na Massa”, “China”, “Lulina”, etc.
What are your plans for the future? With the band and with your solo music.
The band is back on the road, promoting the album we’ve just released. It can be downloaded for free on Facebook, and it’s a good thing to do right now that “Oração” is no longer “fresh meat”. My solo project is running damn great this month. I’m producing its debut album with the co production of John Ulhoa (Pato Fu member) who already worked with my early band “Poléxia” and with huge Brazilian artists like Arnaldo Baptista (Mutantes) and Zélia Duncan.
There’s another project (I’m never tired of…) sung in english. It’s called “Naked Girls and Aeroplanes” and we’re putting out a virtual EP in a few weeks. People can listen to it on Soundcloud.