In the rather niche world of Brazilian psychedelia, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marcelo Frota – better known as MOMO. – uses his talents to paint a picture of the world he wants to see.
His debut album, A Estética do Rabisco (2006), was a groundbreaking contribution to the genre, fusing smooth vocals and instrumentals with his unique storytelling vision.
And set to reappear this Friday October 28th, MOMO.’s 2019 album, I Was Told to Be Quiet, will be his first in a series of albums re-released on vinyl, bringing new life to his under-appreciated masterpiece. Lamenting feelings of loneliness and sadness, MOMO. hopes for a progressive and bright future. With songs sung in several languages, MOMO.’s vision extends beyond the boundaries of any one country.
“For I Am Just a Reckless Child” is the opening track on the album, and begins with gentle acoustic strumming, allowing MOMO.’s haunting vocals to shine before a soothing percussion washes in. With the appearance of a ballad, the song’s richness is enhanced by the gentle guitar playing, delivering a more subdued feel.
First released as a single, the track, “Diz a Verdade” is sung in Portuguese, a nod to MOMO.’s native country of Brazil. The title literally translates to, “Tells the Truth.” The video features a young boy whose resemblance to Frota plays upon the idea of his younger self. Both MOMO. and the boy begin in their own separate worlds, but by the end of the video, the two have merged, suggesting the importance of connecting with your inner child.
Though it conjures a similar dreamlike vision to that of “Diz a Verdade”, the lyrics and message of “Higher Ground” are far simpler. MOMO. dreams of reaching a peaceful world – or a “higher ground” – away from the threats of hate and war. Ending the album is “Sereno Canto,” which encapsulates the beautiful and serene feelings felt throughout. It almost sounds like a Nick Drake song but sung in Spanish.
Overall, the album translates MOMO.’s vision for change, rendering the album title ironic. In producing these songs, he has defied the urge to be quiet, sharing his message in the best way he knows how – through music.
I Was Told to Be Quiet is a 10-track display of the tender, entrancing, and easy-on-the-ears songs, with MOMO. showcasing his unique feel for acoustics and exotic percussion.
In collaboration with Yellow Racket Records, MOMO. plans to steadily re-release his entire discography on colored vinyls, starting with I Was To To Be Quiet, and fans can expect to see the rest come out in the next few years. Though the artist has no upcoming tour plans, fans can perhaps catch him at a local show around the U.K. where he currently calls home.