Cristina Branco Interview

Interview: Işıl Gerek

“I’m here to become a better being, otherwise what would this be all about?”

Cristina Branco, who presents traditional Fado songs of Portugal to the whole World and inclines to much more contemporary melodies with her recent albums, is coming to Istanbul with the songs from her “Menina” and “Branco” albums. We have talked with Cristina Branco, who is to be on Cemal Reşit Rey stage on 20th October, about her music and career.

Was singing your childhood dream? How did your music adventure start?
Cristina Branco: Yes, it was, somehow! Someone was always listening to music in the house. My grandfather was very attached to morna because he lived for a few years in Cabo Verde, he used to sing ancient lullaby’s in creole to my mother when she was a baby, and at my place there was always music, long plays of Portuguese musicians like ZecaAfonso and French singers like Brel or Barbara, we had the Beatles too.

Later, my brother used to buy a lot of music too and I spent hours by the mirror recreating the songs of Paul Simon or Pink Floyd or Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso.I used to pretend that the patio at my grandparents’ house was a theatre and a broom was my microphone and I “performed” for hours in unknown languages of my imagination.

Your grandfather presents you an Amalia Rodrigues CD and so you are acquainted with Fado. Do you remember how did you feel when you first listened to Amalia Rodrigues?
Cristina Branco: Yes,my grandfather offered me a LP of Amalia Rodrigues called «Rara e Inédita». At that album she was not singing Fado or its tradition but I got curious with her voice and the power in it.

She really got my attention and after that I was obsessed and bought everything of her, and that was how Fado got into me.Always and still today, it is Amalia who really gives me the chills. After her, when I look for it, it is to learn with this or that old singer, but Amalia was unique!

You released Menina in 2016 and Branco in 2018. How do you define and explain the style and sound of these two albums?
Cristina Branco: Briefly they are like the 4.0 of what I was doing till then! They’re also so much more. With them I found out other and younger authors, a different approach to music, more relaxed, closer to reality, to a normality, a new normal.

Everything became new in me although it was already there, I was just not exploring it, and this people opened my eyes and my ears. My curiosity and willingness for novelty, for freshness was at its max!

You have been pursuing a successful musical career over 20 years. How do you evaluate your musical development? Is there any difference regarding your sound?
Cristina Branco: Of course there’s an evolution, otherwise it wouldn’t be interesting. People would not follow my work if they didn’t felt that path, that search and curiosity for more. I’m a singer, a mother and a conscientious human being facing a turbulent world, all that influences my sound and my interpretation.

We’re not isolated. I want to learn with what I see, what I experience. I’m here to become a better being, otherwise what would this be all about? If life tells me that my voice is my instrument, then I use it as a tool for my path and for the energy it creates towards all those who surround me and come to me.

Could you please give us more insight about your Istanbul concert?
Cristina Branco: We will have fun telling a lot of stories about us, about people_ it can be one of us or you, I want you to understand that we’re not that different and the basic instincts are pretty much the same_ we will use other instruments and a few unexpected surprises to relate to your emotions. Music is centred in my last two albums. Menina and Branco.

Last but not least, you wrote a book named as “Road Cook”. It’s an alkaline cooking cookbook. How did you decide to write such kind of a book? How did you get acquainted with alkaline diet / nutrition?
Cristina Branco: My necessity for healthy food after years of bad experiences and regular problems with allergies and vocal diseases. It was my doctor actually who put the light on the spot. She said: water has to be alkaline to protect your over exposed vocal chords. From water it was easy to “add two more two” and realize that food also has a ph schedule and every single product is positioned from acidic to alkaline in a long scale.