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Terra Prometida (Promised Land) was formed in 2001 in Brasilia under the name RastaFire. In 2006, the group decided to strengthen their Brasilian identity and changed their name to Terra Prometida. The group performed in major events and festivals, opening shows for renowned bands and artists such as Big Mountain (USA), The Gladiators (Jamaica), Andrew Tosh (Jamaica), Dezarie (Virgin Islands), MV Bill (RJ), Tom Zé, Blitz, In Jazz (France) and several others.
What makes Terra Prometida innovative and unique is their sound, a mix of different reggae styles fused with Brasilian roots; and their rotation of vocalist in the function of lead and backing vocals.
Terra Prometida collaborates and promotes social change in suburbs such as the projects Estação Central, Seeds of the Future, MUV, Energy and Joy, Semente Prometida, cultural events, Social Living Associations, Congo Nya Institute and others.
In 2009, Terra Prometida competed against 300 other bands at the Popular Music Festival Samambaia-DF and came away victorious, winning two major awards (Best Arrangement and 1st place overall) for their song, ‘Nos Dias de Hoje’. In 2010 Terra Prometida band released their 1st album entitled ‘Nos Dias de Hoje’ (Now a Days), produced 100% Independently by Unidade 76 Records. The album features 14 original songs, where the band explores some aspects of Reggae and also other music genres such as R&B and Hip Hop.
IRIE Magazine is feeling very blessed to be the reggae magazine to premiere our Brasilian family, Terra Prometida’s newest chune, ‘Let’s Dance’ featuring Luciano Messenjah! As an added bonus, IRIE magazine sat down with the band to reason about their life as reggae musicians!
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IRIE. Terra Prometida originally formed in 2001 in Brasilia but under a different name. Can you explain?
Terra Prometida: The band originally formed under the name RastaFire, inspired in the beginning by the interpretation of the classic world reggae we were introduced to. But as time progressed, the music we were producing played an important role in prompting us to pick a name that would best represent our own Brazilian identity. We chose ‘Terra Prometida’ (Promised Land) for its spiritual meaning of Zion.
IRIE. What prompted Terra Prometida to become a reggae band? Do you remember your first experience with reggae music?
Terra Prometida: As in Jamaica, Reggae music was born in the ghetto and brings spirituals messages to the people everywhere. In Brazil, its cultural identification is no different and that characteristic and its unique African beat and musicality was the main attraction for us. Personally, our first contact with reggae music was listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers when we were teenagers.
IRIE. You are based in Brasilia, the capital of Brasil. What is the reggae scene like there?
Terra Prometida: Brasília is a new city and was inaugurated in 1960. People from all around the country came to the capital gathering and mixing various cultural heritages. The reggae scene here started in the 70’s with Renato Matos who mixed reggae with some Mpb (Brazilian popular music). Some bands were formed in the 80’s but in the 90’s some local reggae bands gained big respect in the national scene like ‘Natiruts’. Some very good roots reggae bands formed in the 2000’s but very few continue nowadays. The reggae scene has had some good days in the past with the faithful reggae crowd but these days, the local producers struggle to keep the reggae culture going and the local bands have very few opportunities. You know the meaning of: “A good man is never honored in his own Land”.
IRIE. Your music is a mix of various reggae styles with that classic Brazilian roots sound. How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
Terra Prometida: Our music celebrates others music styles like RnB, Soul, Funk and Rap while sharing influences from Brazilian musical culture like Samba and Mpb (from instruments to lyrics and harmonies). Black music in its various styles is a big influence for us but our music always leans towards the Jamaican reggae music style. Our biggest influence comes from classic Roots Reggae, Dancehall, Ska, Rocksteady, Raggamuffin and New Roots Reggae.
IRIE. In 2010 you released your first album, ‘Nos Dias de Hoje’, independently through Unidade 76 Records. Is being independent important for the success and survival of Terra Prometida?
Terra Prometida: Yes, in fact it was crucial for our survival and development. Our independent label Unidade 76 Records emerged from our necessity to record our own compositions with a real reggae music approach. It gave us all the support we needed in doing recordings, artwork and video shoots alongside another independent partner, El Padrino 061.
IRIE. Can you take us through a music production of a Terra Prometida song?
Terra Prometida: Well, we don’t have a strict formula. We’ve produced songs that were made before and after the lyrics were written. When we produce our music, we always seek to create an original sound and put our own influences in our own form. When producing, we usually begin by recording the drums and after the bass and harmonies, we add others instruments and voices. When everything is done, we then give special attention to the mixing, dubbing and mastering stage.
IRIE. When writing your music, is it important for each song to have a message behind it? If so, how do you decide on the topics of your song?
Terra Prometida: We think it’s crucial to have a message in our music, one that identifies with the different types of subjects life presents us. Most of the time, our songs are based on a spiritual perspective. We have the bible as inspiration but we don’t make it part of any religious movement.
IRIE. Is it influenced through past or current events in our society or is it personal events that have affected members of the band?
Terra Prometida: We can say that it’s all about what life presents to us on a daily basis. We have a government that is pegged by a corrupted culture and it reflects directly in social consequences like poverty, police oppression, bad money distribution and violence. Our music denounces those oppressions and injustices as well as questions what is being imposed to us as a society.
IRIE. Irie Magazine is blessed to be able to premiere your newest release, ‘Let’s Dance’, featuring Luciano. How did this collaboration evolve? What was it like to work with Luciano? What is the meaning behind the song?
Terra Prometida: It’s a true blessing for us to release it first on Irie Magazine and to have the opportunity to make this tune with one of the best reggae singers in the world, if not the greatest representative of spiritual reggae music. This vibes started when we did a tune with Mark Wonder from Jamaica and Unidade 76 Records. We got to know Altafaan from Jamaica who linked up with Luciano right after producing the album, ‘Kabalah Man’.
The opportunity came as a surprise and it all happened very fast just as following Jah’s will. Luciano is so talented that the recording was quick and easy. This song brings a very simple message that all kinds of people can enjoy and identify with it: “Let’s Dance, everybody! Irie, No Stress”. Check it now!
IRIE. Are there any other artists that you would like to work with?
Terra Prometida: Yes, there are a lot of big artists like Morgan Heritage, who was featured in Irie Magazine last month, Freddie McGregor, the Marley family, Alborosie, Burning Spear, Chronnixx, Protoje, Gentleman and many, many more.
IRIE. You are working on your second album, ‘Está Em Tudo’, which will be independently produced through Unidade 76 records. Can you give us an update on the progress? When can we expect from the album and when do you plan to release the album to the public?
Terra Prometida: The Album is in its final stage. We have released the singles ‘Reggae is Love’ that features Big Mountain (USA), ‘Jah Está no Controle’ featuring the band, ‘Yute Lions’, and ‘Longa Estrada’ with the new official video clip.
The public can expect an album that brings the best of Terra Prometida unreleased compositions featuring collaborations with Mark Wonder and Messenjah Selah from Jamaica, Misael Gonzalez from Puerto Rico, and Brazilian artists such as Zebulon Fyah, Viela 17 and local musicians from bands like Natiruts. We have faith that the public will love to know that Brazil is also working hard on compromised Reggae music culture.
IRIE. Where do you see reggae in Brasil headed in the near future?
Terra Prometida: Brazil has one of the biggest audience for the music industry. There are pop bands that have reggae influences in the mainstream and some reggae bands have also a good respect on the media. The reggae in Brazil has had better days in terms of followers and there is some stereotypization of reggae as something rough and not seriously among the overall media. But we have many more positive aspects to look as the public is getting to know some of new roots productions and reggae lovers around the country don’t let the movement get down.
IRIE. What’s in store for Terra Prometida after the new album release? Any chance of touring the United States?
Terra Prometida: We are going to perform in Europe for the first time in August 2015 at Reggae festivals in Spain including ‘Minho Reggae Festival’ and ‘Festival Taiña’. We will promote the new album ‘Está em Tudo’ in Europe. We have many friends in the US and we expect to go there for sure… maybe in 2016 so we can share some good reggae music. It would be a great honor to connect and perform in the United States, a country with many reggae lovers.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to share with our IRIE audience?
Terra Prometida: Yes, for us, it is always a great joy to contribute and share some of our vibes and music with the Irie Magazine followers. We invite everyone to get to know our music and our album ‘Está em Tudo’ as well as our brand new single, ‘Let’s Dance’, featuring Luciano the Messenjah.
We hope our music brings positives vibes and spiritual upliftment to all of you. We hope you will get to know more Brazilian Reggae bands. We have such a rich culture and as a third world country, we have a lot to say and to express. As well, our Brazilian music scene has a profound and marvelous heritage that identifies with the roots of Reggae music: African and Indian culture.
Follow our independent label, UNIDADE 76 RECORDS (www.unidade76.com) to discover new productions with big names artist in the world of reggae and Brazilian reggae bands and artists. The website has lots of singles and materials for FREE DOWNLOAD.
IRIE. Máximo Respeito!