Anje, who performs Brazilian music with her group The View From Madeleine’s Couch, talks about how a space, an unknown country, can grab us and envelope us in a moment that we may have eluded us in our own countries of birth. This moment for Anje was in central Rio de Janeiro in April 2004 when she first went to study Brazilian music. She has spent about nine months, over three different trips, in the country which has never lost it’s hold on her.
“I guess my most significant moment of feeling like I belonged, and that I was in the right place, was during my very first trip to Brazil — which was about six years after I’d started playing and performing Brazilian music — and being completely freaked out by being in this country that was so foreign and so different and so so exciting.”
“I took the tram to the top of Corcovado, the mountain where the statue of Christ is, with his arms open wide. There’s a song called Corcovado, and in English it’s called Quiet Nights and when I was standing there, looking out across the city, at the bay and at the beaches and the hills and the mountains and the jungle and the forests, I was completely flooded with … a sense that I was in exactly the right place in my life. I was in exactly the right moment and that I was completely meant to be doing the thing that I was doing and nothing else. And I felt intensely connected to that place, and have felt that way ever since. Even though it’s not my country, even though it’s not my home, I absolutely felt like I belonged. It was a really intense feeling. A really beautiful and right feeling.”
“It was amazing! It was incredible.”
It sounds like a real connection of the soul.
“Absolutely it was. Absolutely. Everything. My, my mind, my spirit, my — yeah, everything. Everything in my life felt like it had been pointed to that moment, and then that moment came and I went holy shit.”
“I think I said This is fucking amazing. Those words might’ve come out of my mouth to my husband. We had had a similar moment but that was my moment. That was, yeah, that was my moment.”
That’s a beautiful story.
“It’s pretty special. For me anyway it’s, to feel that — that sense of belonging in a place where you, you know, you don’t belong. But I do, and I did. And I didn’t think I would feel that. Not, not so fully as I did.
“I thought that maybe that would come as time passed and I learned more about the culture and the music. But no, it just kinda hit me in a big zingy moment.”
Anje and Kym started The View From Madeleine’s Couch in 1998 after falling in love with each other to the soundtrack of Brazilian music. Anje spoke with me at Bemac and Madeleine’s Couch will be performing at Brisbane’s 2016 Anywhere Festival in May.