Brazilian Music Icon Joyce Moreno Performs at Berklee

By 
Nick Balkin
November 17, 2015
Press release
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Joyce Moreno

The Signature Series at Berklee continues on Thursday, December 10, with Brazilian singer-songwriter Joyce Moreno. A gifted guitarist and singer, Moreno is considered a pioneer for her first-person, woman-centric point of view in Brazilian music, inspiring countless women artists who followed in her path. In this career-spanning concert, Moreno will perform her songbook backed by a large student ensemble, playing arrangements by Berklee contemporary writing and production majors.

Hailed as “one of the best singers of all time” by Brazilian music legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, Moreno recorded more than 30 albums and 400 songs over her prolific, five-decade career. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Moreno arrived on the Brazil music scene in the late 1960s, when the country was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship. During this era, artists and musicians were heavily censored and sometimes imprisoned. Moreno’s songs, written from a distinctly feminine perspective, were considered shocking at the time, and some of her tunes were banned for using words like “pregnant” in the lyrics. In 1980, after the army had ended most censorship, she released her seminal album Feminina, which made her famous in Brazil.

Watch Moreno perform with Berklee students in advance of her December 10, 2015 concert:

“Joyce Moreno has a powerful combination of talents: a beautiful voice, a killer guitar groove, and inspired songwriting,” said Fernando Brandão, concert codirector and associate professor in Berklee’s Ensemble Department. “She is among the great composers of the post-bossa generation.”

Moreno's songs have been interpreted by Brazilian greats Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia, Ney Matogrosso, and Milton Nascimento, to name just a few. Beyond Brazil, Moreno’s work has been recorded by Annie Lennox, Black Eyed Peas, David Sanchez, and others. In 2011, she collaborated with acclaimed hip-hop producer Madlib on a song featured on Red Hot + Rio 2, a benefit album promoting AIDS awareness.

Moreno refers to her music as MCB (Creative Music of Brazil), rather than MPB (Brazilian Pop Music). Her compositions have been featured in film soundtracks (The Player, Legally Blonde) and animations (Wolf’s Rain), and she is the creator and host of Cantos do Rio, an original music television program that aired between 1999 and 2002. She also authored a memoir, Fotografei Você na Minha Rolleyflex, a behind-the-scenes look at her early career.

Moreno’s most recent album, Raiz, celebrates her 50-year recording career with a return to her classic bossa nova and samba roots. A four-time Latin Grammy nominee, she continues to perform each year on the Japanese Blue Note circuit and tour jazz festivals and other venues in Europe and North America.

Joyce Moreno Meets Berklee takes place Thursday, December 10, 8:00 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Reserved seating tickets are available for $12 and $16 at the BPC box office or berklee.edu/bpc. The venue is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617-747-2261.

The concert is directed by Fernando Brandão, an associate professor in the Ensemble Department; John Stein, an associate professor in the Harmony Department; and Matthew Nicholl, chair of the Contemporary Writing and Production Department.

Watch an excerpt from the concert: