IT certainly wouldn’t be right to continue reflecting on last month’s Sauti za Busara (SzB), international music festival, in Zanzibar, without a word on the singer-songwriter, Karyna Gomes.
After-all, she came from Guinea-Bissau, with her quartet and kept the ‘fire burning’ while on stage, in the Mambo Club of the Old Fort, on the last night, despite expecting to deliver her third child next month (April).
Please remember, this lady had started singing Gospel music, at the age of 21, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 20 years ago. That was while studying journalism there. However, her passion for music came much earlier, while growingup surrounded by musicians in her homeland.
There she grew-up listening to traditional and urban music, together with other rhythms from around the world. It was also there in Guinea- Bissau that she started her solo career in 2005. Since then she has participated in numerous festivals, alongside such recognised “greats” as Tito Paris in 2006. The following year she received an invitation to participate in the recording of Super Mama Djombo’s last album.
This was followed by a world tour with the group, while developing her career. In October 2014, she released her debut album,“Mindjer” (Women). Needless to say, this album is a tribute to the Guinean women and those around the world, for “their determination, strength and courage”.
It is also said to be an “urban musical genealogy” from Guinea-Bissau in which Karynare calls traditional songs, urban classics and those she calls, “my Guinean music”. Fortunately, the ‘Daily News’ got an opportunity to find out a little more, about her background and music, after her performance last month. When asked about her performing despite her physical condition, she made no hesitation in her reply.
“This is what I am. I’m a woman and this is my third time to be pregnant, so for me, if I’m healthy, it’s Okay, I can go and perform. It’s an honour for me to be on the stage with Raphaela (pointing at her stomach), who is coming in April,” she replied.
“So, for me it’s a message we can share that we are women and we have rights and despite all the limitations, we can have, during pregnancies or any other kind of limitations, doesn’t mean we cannot do things. This is a message I would like to pass on,” she added.
In reference to her music, which she referred to as being “purely” hers, given that she was born in Guinea-Bissau, where her father is from with a mother from Cape Verde. This has equipped her with a lot of musical influence from both places, together with a string of international musical styles, such as Jazz, Soul, Rhythm& Blues (R&B) and Latin music.
“When I decided to make music my career, I started to write some songs, for I figured out that my music is my music. I’m from Guinea-Bissau but I have my own identity, which is all the influences that I’ve had throughout my life. This is how I define my music,” she said.
When it comes to recording, or performing live, she prefers the latter. She believes the stage is the best part because she has the public right there. Her favourite place therefore, is on the stage talking and playing music. However, she loves composing and having the kind of experiences that can only be got in a studio.
This, she believes is also quite important, especially now when preparing her second album. The Songstress admitted being very excited about this second album, having experienced much since recording her first one.
Not only has she more experience now but she also has more ideas. Being a woman she says is not just a challenge for her but also her country and continent, where women still have a lot of problems being accepted simply for what they are.
Therefore, having been accepted by her people, to her is an honour. Twelve years ago, when she “timidly” started her solo career she was very much aware that the tradition might not take to her desire, as she would have liked.
That is bearing in mind having an environment that’s not so open-minded, as she would have liked. However, her pastor soon put her mind at rest when he pointed out to her that it’s her mission to go out in the world and share love, the way only she does. This gave her strength to keep on moving in this line and to put behind her the difficulties.
Now she admits knowing that God is very happy with her and is blessing her every day in her work. Karyna admitted going through the experience of difficulties to make her live performances sound good. However, she didn’t give-up and kept on striving towards this goal.
Then when she teamedup with her current musicians, Jessica Pina on trumpet, Luciano Vasconcelos on Bass and Nir Paris on Drums, things took a turn for the better. “I found these three musicians in different places and invited them to join me. We tried and now, I’m really happy with what I do.
We are not many musicians and don’t need a lot of people behind us to make music, just people with hearts,” she said. All three are competent on their own instruments and have an impressive professional record behind them before joining her.
She now refers to them as being her new family but unable to put her finger on what keeps them together, other than to simple say it’s part of her blessings from God.