Celia Mara

Region: Brazil


Célia Mara is a guitarist and singer-songwriter from Brazil, now residing in Austria, who combines funk, samba, rock, electric-tango, and Nu-bossa into sophisticated, vibrant and socially aware pieces.

Celia Mara Podcast

Célia Mara is a guitarist and singer-songwriter from Brazil who combines funk, samba, rock, electric-tango, and Nu-bossa into sophisticated, vibrant and socially aware pieces. Her passionate singing has led Healer Selecta, of the United Kingdom’s reason2b, to label her as “the best Brazilian international underground artist.” Mara defines herself as “bastardista”: a mixed, female-made hybrid that violates race, gender and class structures but her sound is that of “nu Brazilian flavor”, presenting a Latinized version of multicultural world music.

Mara was born in Pedra Azul, a small town that was the site of political oppression and censorship during the military dictatorship. At the age of 16, she started translating her experiences into songs for voice and guitar. The sound of Topicalia highly influenced Mara’s musical development and she called upon such artists as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Mercedes Sosa to be her sonic role models.

After touring Brazil for the subsequent few years, Mara was invited to perform in a small festival in Switzerland. Her experience touring abroad led her to move to Europe in order to pursue a career as a performer of rural and urban songs. In Austria, she discovered the local jazz and ethno scenes, which both helped her music molt again, this time into a Samba-Jazz-Funk fusion.

In 1997, she released her debut-album, “Hot Couture do Samba”, which exposed her to various new opportunities at music festivals and on the radio. With her band PotênciaX, a group of Austrian jazz-instrumentalists, she presented her independent style of Samba meets funk and jazz: original Brazilian grooves mixed with sophisticated instrumental interpretations from within the European musical context. In 2000, Celia Mara was selected as the “Best World Music Artist” in the Austrian Concerto Poll.

Célia Mara produced her latest album “Bastardista” between 2004 and 2005, with the help of her keyboarder Geri Schuller and mixer Pogo Michael Kreiner. The record brought her to the Top 10 of the European World Music Charts and was ranked various times among the “best of the year, best of the week” selections in different countries. The album is a fascinating mix that provides a trip through samba, tango, afoxé, bossa nova, forro, and reggae.

At the root of the music lies a marriage between traditional Brazilian rhythms and European underground instrumental grooves. The lyrics, sung in Portuguese, English, German, Spanish and French, are urban poems that sing the voice of migrations and provide communication without any borders. All the tracks on “Bastardista” are songs are dedicated to the crucial questions of being, that is, love, religion, and politics. Their diverse influences come together to establish a cultural individuality within the global community. She is currently working on a new album entitled “Santa Rebeldia.”

 Célia Mara is a powerful bandleader and engaging front woman, giving her soul to the audience through dancing, grooving, entertaining, and having a wild ride on her acoustic guitar. She never fails to impress with her amazing vocal improvisations, which she quickly switches over to beat boxing and sometimes even ascend to trumpet solos. With help from the band, the “Bastardista” set-list provides, in the words of Gregory Klemm of Element, 
”a beautifully uplifting atmosphere.” Additionally, it involves the listeners completely in the Célia Mara world of sounds, in-between a smoothly groovin’ ambience of good mood and hot and spicy phases of global ecstasy.

• Hot Couture Do Samba, 1998
• Necessario, 2000
• Bastardista, 2005
• Santa Rebeldia, 2008


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