Hailing from Brazil’s vast Cerrado region and now based in Porto, Portugal, Kurup’s weighty, downtempo tracks sound like shadows creeping across a forest floor: inexorable, mysterious, strangely alive. The Cerrado is home to the most biologically diverse tropical savannahs in the world, and Kurup’s music reflects a sense of being surrounded by a living, breathing landscape. He builds his songs out of earthy kicks and faint tendrils of melody that slice through a canopy of atmospheric delays, and then populates the empty space with clicks, rustles, and rattles, evoking an environment brimming with unseen organisms. Though often very slow, Kurup’s music is a prime example of how, even at a low BPM, electronic folklore is highly danceable. The name behind the project, Renato, is from the artistic collective “Limbo” which organizes parties and showcases around the world with immersive musical acts, visual installations and performative arts.
Bringing performing arts and theatrical elements into their music, Kurup & Jaçira are truly multidisciplinary in their approach to expression and entertainment.
What inspired you to do what you're doing?
We are both Brazilian artists and within our individual works, the main source of inspiration has always been the culture of our country. Brazil is a country with extreme musical, visual and natural diversity, and this mix allows us to cross-reference Latin American, Afro-Brazilian and native peoples. Music has always been something that allows us to bring together different areas of interest and different disciplines.
Do you think you'll ever change direction?
Our direction is fickle and always changes to show new paths. We always try to keep ourselves vulnerable to feel which new doors open and which ones we should enter.
What advice would you give your younger self today?
Believe in yourself and practice as much as you can, but don’t push it too hard and don’t pressure yourself too much. Patience and discipline are necessary virtues to achieve your goals, but having fun and finding pleasure are also fundamental to development in all areas.
Do you consider your work a luxury or a necessity?
When we started our artistic life, it was mostly related to experiences and discoveries, but over time with the creation process, it became something inseparable from who we are. We can say that our interests were slowly transforming into a need.
Who/what was the last thing that made a significant impact on your thought processes/creative processes?
The change of country was something that greatly affected our creations and our way of understanding what role we play within what is produced. Now, living in Portugal, we managed to see the importance of telling the story of the place where we came from. Changing countries also improved our creative process as we have had the opportunity to get to know new languages, methods, and artists.
How do you keep yourself inspired?
To maintain our inspirations, we try to view all situations as creative. Attention and vulnerability are the keys to finding beauty in the micro and macro.
What do you do when you're not "working"?
When we are not in work situations, we love to stay close to nature, and we try to just relax and have fun. As we also live in the city, we have the habit of following a cultural agenda of exhibitions, galleries, cinemas, and parks. We also try to exchange experiences with artists from the places we are visiting on our travels.
What do you want people to take from your work?
We try to offer a dreamlike atmosphere with a playful and fun vibe. We like to create a party feeling but at the same time a narrative through the dance floor. We tell stories from the past, present, and future.
What are you currently listening to, reading, or watching?
We always read a lot of poetry and theater texts. We have read a lot of Portuguese poetess
Adília Lopes and also Paulo Leminski, who is a Brazilian poet. In visual terms, we have sought to watch several films by directors such as Wes Anderson, Sergei Parajanov, and Glauber Rocha.
Which record or artist influences you most?
We have always been very inspired by many artists from VOODOOHOP, ZZK Records, Tropical Twista, Frente Bolivarista, and Pingipung Records.
As musicians, did you feel any obligations during this global pandemic?
Within the context of the pandemic, everything was shaken—shows were lost and we had to think of other ways to show our energy and work. One of the things that we think is fundamental at this moment is the exchange of information and culture through the internet.
Did the isolation influence your creative process?
The isolation process has modified and reimbursed our creative processes. Being in more individualized contexts, one can also take the time to analyze the order of processes and take a chance on new things.
Name three artists that help you through crisis times.
Elizabeth Cotten, Corey Harris and Nina Simone.