For his Tiny Desk Concert, Amarante brought his small Harmony parlor guitar from the '30s, known lovingly as "Butter." These songs are stripped to their essence, and what you'll encounter here — and what you can't hear on Cavalo — is the warm, approachable singer's physical presence. Prepare to be drawn close to this intimate music. You'll want to crawl in bed with it. --BOB BOILEN
Set List: "The Ribbon" "Mon Nom" "I'm Ready" "Nada Em Vão"
Credits: Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Production Assistant: Sarah Tilotta; photo by Sarah Tilotta/NPR
“My solo record was made in Downtown LA, the industrial arts district, before the real estate was turned into a weird mall,” says Rodrigo Amarante, famed Brazilian musician and former member of Los Hermanos and Little Joy, the latter in which he played alongside singer Binki Shapiro, and Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes. “The empty streets were like the Wild West, where you can't see anyone but you know people are inside peeking through their windows from the shade, looking out into the open sun.”
The sense of the vast openness and haze of Los Angeles can be found throughout Amarante's ethereal album Cavalo, from which today's track, “Mon Nom,” is taken. With the help of mercurial animator Galen Pehrson, Amarante's self-directed ode to pre-film shadow puppets is a candid confession of forever feeling like an outsider, the slow-burning visuals inspired by the photography of Eliot Lee Hazel. “Less is more; be enchanted by a whisper rather than drawn in by a shout,” muses Amarante, who moved to Los Angeles six years ago from Rio de Janeiro. “This all comes from making a solo record for the first time. It's about identity and the need for perspective and space.”