E nesse ano a noite preta pega a porta* at Bendegó / São Paulo

E nesse ano a noite preta pega a porta* 
curated by Bendegó

28 June – 15 August 2018

Dias Batista
Anna Sousa
Daniel Frota
Fernanda Galvão
Flávia Vieira
Flora Rebollo
Ivan Freitas
Regina Vater
Ricardo Bezerra
Shüji Terayama

Cultural Oswald de Andrade
Rua Três Rios,
Retiro, Sã
Paulo, Brazil

Known as ‘The Troubadour
of the Apocalypse’ or ‘The Bob Dylan of the Sert
ão’, Zé Ramalho is an important
Brazilian singer and composer. Not as celebrated or embraced as other artists
of his generation – such as Caetano Veloso or Alceu Valen
ça – Zé Ramalho seems to still
inhabit a place of shadows, considered dubious by some.
Born in
Brejo do Cruz, Para
(1949) he played an important part in the psychedelic music scene which emerged
in Pernambuco in the 1970s, characterised by a “lysergic mix of rock and roll
with forr
ó, baião, repente, xaxado, embolada and frevo influences”. Some members of the
scene, such as the band Ave Sangria or the musician Marconi Notaro achieved
cult-like status, whereas Z
é Ramalho
was signed to big labels, featured on soap opera soundtracks, and has, through
highs and lows, obtained significant popular recognition in the last 40 years.
However, he has always been connected to the mysticism of the sertanejo, and
his songs incorporate an extraterrestrial atmosphere, of stories of UFOs and
hallucinogenic mushrooms found in the arid pastures of the sert
ão of the Northeast. Such
interests are associated with political, aesthetic, social and philosophical
questions, embodied in his language, performance and persona.
His first two albums,
é Ramalho, (which features YES keyboardist Patrick Moraz on Avôhai
and Dominguinhos playing accordion on
A Noite Preta) from 1978, and A
Peleja do Diabo com o Dono do C
éu (cover photos and set by Ivan
Cardoso, special guest appearances from Z
é do Caixão and Hélio Oiticica) from 1979,
are important documents of his approach, which brought together aspects of
psychedelia, acoustic guitar, cowboy culture, horror films and ‘
. In
of the Butterflies
a song from his first album, was reworked into a more loaded, sombre version,
in a collaboration between Ramalho and the heavy metal band Sepultura, again
showing his strength for juxtaposing complex images.
Ramalho haunts the
project like a ghost, with the atmosphere evoked by his figure being the
curatorial argument of the show. The period 1978 – 2018, which goes from the
release of the first record to the present day, invites us to rewind and
advance, rewind and advance. We may inhabit the future of prophecies or the
past of myths and legends and we will still be in the same place.
The stage is set, but not
above us. If backstage is part of the scene, the works can now be seen inside
out. So they whisper: caves, solitude and bravery, giants, messiahs,
vampiric, darkness, the red moon, owls, violeiros, foreboding, energetic
interactivity, alien presence, isolation.
Together, they make up a game of
cards for what is foreshadowed under the aridity of the high sun, or under the
total darkness of the black night.
*(And that year the black
night takes the door). From the song A Noite Preta, on the 1978 album Z
é Ramalho.

Photo by Filipe Berndt,
courtesy of bendego.com and the artists