NINA MIRANDA-FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.
Nina Miranda-Freedom Of Movement.
Not many singers wait twenty-six years before releasing their debut album. Nina Miranda has. She made her debut in 1991 on Sweatmouth’s Read My Hips EP, and since then Nina Miranda has been a familiar face on the London music scene.
Since 1997, Nina Miranda has been the lead singer of four London based bands, including Smoke City, Arkestra One, Shrift and Zeep. These bands have released six critically acclaimed albums. However, there’s more to Nina Miranda than six albums.
She has featured on releases by many well known artists and producers over the past twenty years. This includes Nitin Sawhney, Bebel Gilberto, Jah Wobble, Baaba Maal, Femi Kuti, Faze Action, Azymuth, Basement Jaxx, Gilles Peterson and Kari Bannerman. They’re just a few of the artists that Nina Miranda has collaborated with over the past twenty years. Some of these artists would collaborate with Nina Miranda on her long-awaited, debut album, Freedom Of Movement which will be released on Six Degrees Records on ‘5th’ May 2017.
Joining Nina Miranda on her debut album Freedom Of Movement are Ibibio Sound Machine’s guitarist Alfred Bannerman and percussionist Anselmo Netto and Smoke City’s multi-instrumentalist Chris Franck. They’re joined by a vast cast of multinational musicians that Nina’s met over the past twenty years. There’s also guest appearances from Brazilian artist Chico Cesar; professional surfer Fred d’Orey and Nina’s former lodger Felipe Couto, who taught himself how to play the guitar while Freedom Of Movement was being recorded. He adds a guitar riff on Feminist Man. Berimbau player Rilene de Souza is an indigenous Amazonian Brazilian, who Nina spotted from the top deck of a London bus, adds a spoken word vocal to Amazonia Amor. In doing so, Rilene de Souza plays a part in an album that’s been long-awaited.
Despite being an experienced vocalist, whose also a songwriter and producer, the one thing missing for Nina Miranda’s musical CV, were the words debut album. The forthcoming release of Freedom Of Movement, where Nina’s joined by a vast cast of musicians fills this gap in her CV. However, when work began on the album, Nina was casting around for inspiration.Things changed when Nina returned to Rio De Janeiro.
That where she was born, and spent part of her childhood. Nina’s father Luiz Aquila is Brazilian, while her mother Liz Miranda is English. They’re both painters and teachers, who moved to London when Nina was eight. The rest of Nina’s childhood was spent moving between Britain, France and Brazil. Since then, Nina has travelled extensively during her career.
One of her most important journeys recently was when she boarded a plane to Rio De Janeiro, before work began on Freedom Of Movement. Nina recalls: “for a while, I felt l’d lost my musical anchor in London,…I returned to Rio to record some new ideas with my friends Kassin and Domenico (of Rio band Orquestra Imperial). After an incredible recording session and with regained confidence and inspiration, I started to find magical people to create with back in the UK.”
With her confidence restored, Nina returned to Britain to begin work on Freedom Of Movement. It was going to be an album that represented and reflected Nina’s musical philosophy, background, influences and inspirations. To do that, Nina began looking for musicians who were capable of doing this. They would collaborate with Nina, who had regained her creative spark.
Part of the inspiration from Freedom Of Movement came from the Bahia region of Brazil, which is Nina’s favourite part of the country. “I feel like everyone has their own Brazilian fantasy and I have mine,..For me, it’s the northeast of Brazil. It’s much less segregated and there’s always music in the streets.” Whether this a realistic or idealistic portrayal of Bahia it’s enough to inspire Nina: “I want a certain type of Brazil, so if I can’t find it I’m going to make it in a song.” However, it’s not just Brazil that’s influence Nina.
While Nina was born in Brazil, and has lived in London for much of her life, she views the recent political machinations in Britain with an outsider’s perspective. This is part of Nina’s global outlook towards life, and has played part in the album and its Freedom Of Movement. “As the rhetoric being hoisted upon us is about closing borders and putting up walls. I’m reminded of the shocking racism prevalent in the UK when we arrived. I want to keep opening doors and finding connections and similarities between us whilst also celebrating the differences. That’s what Freedom of Movement represents, along with the freedom to move between musical genres. This record carves out a space for boundless dreams and infinite landscapes.” With that in mind, Nina began work on Freedom Of Movement.
Recording of Freedom Of Movement took place mainly in London, with some field recordings taking place in Lisbon and Paris. Meanwhile in London, Nina’s vast network of musical friends. They helped her record an album that features fifteen tracks, including fourteen that Nina cowrote with various collaborators. The only cover version on Freedom Of Movement, is Lennon and McCartney’s Julia. This Beatles’ song is reworked by Nina Miranda on Freedom Of Movement.
Opening Freedom Of Movement is Capoeira 2020, which fittingly opens with Karl Bannerman theatrically announcing: “you’re a child of the universe.” This seems the perfect description of Nina, growing up and even now. Meanwhile, she delivers a soulful, sultry vocal against a backdrop that features a sinuous bass line, percussion, keyboards and backing vocals. Midway through the song, Nina delivers the vocal in Portuguese. Still, her vocal is soulful and sultry, as she delivers against a carefully crafted arrangement on a song thats showcases Nina’s skills as singer, songwriter and producer.
As the dance-floor friendly Play unfolds, it seems that Nina has been inspired by Santana and Earth, Wind and Fire. This is a starting point for Nina, on a song where the hooks haven’t been spared. It’s an irresistible fusion of soul, funk, pop and Latin influences. There’s even a rocky guitar and spoken word vocal, while pounding drums, percussion and keyboards provide a backdrop for Nina on this look-laden anthem.
Very different is Marshmellow Dreams, a much more laid-back sounding track. Just an acoustic guitar accompanies Nina’s thoughtful as the track heads in the direction of Nu Folk. That’s until various beeps and squeaks add an electronic influence. They play their part on what’s a beautiful, dreamy track that shows another side to Nina’s music.
Megalopolis Skit lasts just fifty seconds and features field recordings made in Paris, London and Lisbon. It’s akin to an intermission, and breaks the album up.
Whole Of London was penned by Nina and Antony Elvin, who share the lead vocal on what’s another poppy sounding track. Again, hooks haven’t been rationed on what’s not just the most commercial sounding song, but one of the highlights of the album.
It’s all change on The Cage, where thunderous drums accompany Nina’s soliloquy, and power the big, bold arrangement along. They’re joined by a myriad of instruments, including a violin, horns, percussion and backing vocals. They accompany Nina’s vocal, which like the arrangement, has grown in power. By then, the song sounds as if it belongs on the soundtrack to a blockbuster movie.
Buzzing, beeping synths open The Garden, but before long it’s all change as the song becomes melodic as the arrangement floats along. Backing vocals accompany Nina’s tender vocal, while the arrangement features rhythm section, percussion, tyre-drum and guitars. Later a dreamy flute gives way to sci-fi synths, rattling percussion and sweeping harmonies as Nina throws a curveball during a dreamy and melodic sounding song with surprises in store.
I Am has been influenced by the dub she heard her brother play in the family home, and later played by the London sound systems. The dub influence is combined with rhythms that are tailor made for clubs. Atop the stomping, dubby arrangement is Nina’s ethereal vocal. Add to this various effects and it’s a potent and heady brew that’s dance-floor friendly.
Atmospheric describes the introduction to Feminist Man, before a picked acoustic guitar accompanies Nina’s tender, thoughtful vocal. Later, a wistful violin and subtle percussion are added. However, it’s Nina and the guitar that play leading roles in the sound and success of the song.
There’s an urgency to Silken Horse, which is very different to the previous track. There’s an experimental sound, on what’s akin to a mixture of theatre and music. Then as the song quickens, the Brazilian influence shines through. Irresistible rhythms unfold, and come courtesy of the bass, drums and percussion. Backing vocals accompany Nina’s soulful, dreamy vocal, while the arrangement becomes atmospheric before the irresistible rhythms return. Instruments flit in and out as the arrangement builds, and the drama grows before the journey on the Silken Horse is over.
The Beatles’ Julia, which is reworked by Nina, and given a musical makeover. Against a shuffling backdrop, which features guitar, percussion and flute, Julia delivers a tender, breathy vocal. Seamlessly she delivers lyrics in English and Portuguese, during this beautiful reinvention of Julia.
Just a lone guitar accompanies Nina as Amazonia Amor unfolds. Soon, a drum pounds, before the arrangement becomes atmospheric. It’s as if Nina is trying to transport the listener to the Amazon, as they’re introduced to its sounds. Birds cheep, guitars chime, thunder claps, a bass probes and Rilene de Souza adds a spoken word vocal. Meanwhile, Nina’s vocal is elegiac as guitars accompany and the sound of a thunderstorm can be heard. Then it’s as if the sun has come out and beauty is omnipresent for the remainder of the song.
Surfer Fred d’Orey opens The Surfer saying: “I miss surfing so much.” Soon, Nina’s vocal sits atop the arrangement, which features the rhythm section, percussion, guitars and Fred d’Orey’s spoken word vocal. They join Nina’s breathy vocal and play their part in a melodic arrangement that flows, memorably along.
Realistic describes the introduction to Soundtrack To “Venus’ Night Boat.” From the get-go, there’s a cinematic sound that becomes dramatic, dark and moody. This comes courtesy of shakers, a pounding drum and the sound of water flowing along. Nina sings, while birds squawk and scream before keyboards and hissing hi-hats are added to this cinematic magical mystery tour.
Lost in Manchester closes Freedom Of Movement. It finds Nina delivering her vocal against a fusion of funk, electronica and Latin percussion. Add to this phat beats, an uber funky bass, chirping guitar, special effects and synths. They accompany Nina in a catchy, genre-melting song that closes her long awaited debut album Freedom Of Movement.
Twenty-six years after making her recording debut, Nina Miranda will release her debut album Freedom Of Movement on Six Degrees Records. Freedom Of Movement is a showcase for Nina Miranda not just as a singer, but as a songwriter and producer. She cowrote fourteen of the fifteen songs on Freedom Of Movement, and produced the album. It’s an eclectic album, that showcases a versatile singer.
Freedom Of Movement features everything from funk, soul, Latin to dub, electronica and folk and even indie rock and pop. Ballads and dance-floor friendly songs sit side-by-side on Freedom Of Movement on this an inventive album.
Nina incorporates spoken word vocals, samples of dialogue, field recordings and special effects throughout Freedom Of Movement. They’re part of Nina Miranda’s rich and vibrant musical tapestry Freedom Of Movement, which is her long-awaited and much-anticipated debut album as a solo artist. It finds Nina Miranda effortlessly flitting between disparate musical genres, and in the process enjoys Freedom Of Movement.
Nina Miranda-Freedom Of Movement.