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Interview with the wonderful Cristina Clara

Finalist at the RTP Song Festival 2024

Before the final of the Festival RTP da Canção 2024, between rehearsals, the fantastic Cristina Clara gave us a short interview about the Festivals and her career.

How excited were you when you received the invitation from RTP to participate in the Festival da Canção?

– Enthusiasm may have been predominant. I love creative challenges, particularly in the context of the Song Festival where the proposal is to represent our country through a song that can speak to people from other places.

Are you a fan of the Festival da Canção or will you remain one?

The Festival brings me very beautiful family memories and ends up being an institution, a ritual celebrating the music that takes place here. I follow whenever I can.

Cristina Clara > Primavera

What is your favourite song from those that have represented Portugal?

I always highlight “E depois do Adeus”, not only because it is a beautiful theme but above all because of the significance it has in our History, which is always worth remembering, particularly in the current context and in the year in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April.

What was the main inspiration for the song?

The sounds that inspired this composition were those of Fado and Morna. The composer of the music is from Cape Verde – Jon Luz – and with him, I developed this research and experimentation work within these universes. One of the original themes that came up was this. The lyrics talk about how I believe that when we listen and use our voice to encourage others and ourselves, circumstances can transform, like from Winter to Spring.

Cristina Clara > Primavera

What was the creative process like?

I believe I already answered a little above but I can add. I believe that a creation of this type and with the type of message I wanted to convey had to be a movement. That’s why we use natural flowers throughout the process, from the photo shoot to the video we create, to the stage. The flowers we used in the studio sessions were later shared during our visit (mine and the musicians) to the Centro Social do Bairro Padre Cruz where we organized a musical gathering. The semi-final flowers were also shared with the artists and teams. Flowers here are a symbol of this desire to communicate, to reach out to others and encourage them. Furthermore, I was personally involved in the entire process, from creating the costumes with Andrea Verdugo, who did a beautiful job, to the scenography for which we had fundamental support from Lieblings.

What sets your song apart from its competitors?

Each theme is special and has its uniqueness. Of my theme, I would highlight the fact that it is rooted in traditional sounds – which represent many of the strongest influences in the current cultural panorama – with a contemporary approach, bringing together instrumentalists from the worlds of popular music and jazz. The instrumental and vocal arrangement includes musicians from Portugal, Brazil and Cape Verde, which is very representative of our culture and therefore enriching. The adaptation to the use of square tambourines – by Rui Aires – and adufe in the live version highlights these Iberian instruments, traditionally played by women but currently embraced by everyone. I also highlight the spoken poetic passage, adapted into Cape Verdean from S. Vicente by Henrique Silva from Colectivo Acácia Maior as a form of homage to the inspiration that Jon Luz’s work and Cape Verdean music, in general, has brought me over the last 10 years.

You’re in the final, now what? Can you represent Portugal?

We all can, for sure.

How important is the Festival da Canção for your career?

All creative projects are of great importance in our maturation and development as artists. The Song Festival, due to its meaning and scope, is a wonderful opportunity to take our music to more people and places.

And after the Festival where we can see you live, do you already have concerts scheduled?

We are heading very soon to Funchal, where I will have a concert at the Funchal Cultural and Research Center, on the 15th and 16th of March at 9 pm.

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