Luciana Souza has one wish for humanity in a troubled time: “That we all can make a difference in every way that we live.”
Souza is a singer-songwriter originally from São Paolo, Brazil, and her words carry a certain tragic resonance as the world watches the Amazon rainforest burn. But she spoke those sobering words last March, on The Checkout Live at Berklee College of Music, right before paying homage to her country’s all-time greatest songwriter, Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Souza performed his “Waters of March” with Berklee’s Global Jazz Ambassadors. The song, “says more about Brazil than any other song that I have ever tried to sing,” she reflects, “and I’ve been learning it for 48 years now. Every time I sing it, it reveals to me something about myself and about humanity, about what we lack, what we learn, and what we fail to learn, consistently — we are really good about not learning. Antonio Carlos Jobim not only made a difference for Brazil but he was the very first composer in pop music, the way that I see it, to really look at the environment.”
This was a unique performance for Souza, a singer who comfortably thrives in intimate settings, limited to just one or two accompanists. Here, she’s onstage mentoring the latest crop of talent to emerge from Danilo Pérez’s conservatory ensemble, an eclectic mix of students from six different countries.
Souza, like Pérez, graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1988. On Friday they appear together at the Detroit Jazz Festival, where she’ll perform as a special guest in his Global Big Band. Then, Souza, who is also one of the festival’s Artists-In-Residence, performs with the Yellowjackets, and leads her own concert performing material from her latest album, The Book of Longing.
Watch the full performance by Souza and the Ambassadors: Stefano Battaglia (Italy) on acoustic bass, Jireh Calo (Philippines) on vocals, Malwina Masternak (Poland) on vocals, Aga Derlak (Poland) on piano, Connor Kent (USA) on drums, Jacob Means (USA) on electric mandolin, Luke Norris (USA) on saxophones, Anastassiya Petrova (Kazakhstan) on keyboards, and Tareq Rantisi (Palestine) on percussion.
Music Mix: David Tallacksen
Video and Editing: Berklee Video Services and Corey Goldberg