Margarida Azevedo

Ikizukuri and Susana Santos Silva | Jazz em Agosto

The first time I wrote about Ikizukuri was in November 2018. K7 Hexum had just come out by publisher Zona Watusa. It is easy to see that I became an Ikizukuri fan. At the time I would end my review like this: “Ikizukuri with their Hexum will devour your ears and leave you with a tremendous desire to hear them live. Short, intense, and breathtaking. What more can you ask for?”.

In December of that same year, they gave 4 concerts in Portugal. If I remember correctly, I failed them all.

I couldn’t fail again.

After 3 years, in 2021, Gonçalo invited me to write the liner notes for the record, released by Multikulti, which yesterday was the motto of the concert at Jazz em Agosto. My response was immediate. It wasn’t necessary to think too much about whether I would accept to write the liner notes of an Ikizukuri record with Susana Santos Silva (who at Out.Fest this year gave a very good concert and about which I wrote).

I received the record and listened to it in a burst. I was surrendered and what I wrote came out in a rush (a sign that I did it without pain).

Yesterday I sat in the Gulbenkian auditorium with very high expectations. I had decided not to bring a notebook. I wouldn’t write about the concert, just as I didn’t review the record. I thought that made no sense if I had written the liner notes. I didn’t think it would be very right for me to do that. I thought, but I don’t think that anymore.

Yesterday I attended an impressive concert. I had a pen and rummaged in my suitcase for a sheet. A shopping receipt would become my memory’s best ally. After all, I couldn’t resist writing. I’ll write in the present, as if I still there, and I’ll just use each one’s first name, no surnames, no formalities.

The backdrop opens and the windswept trees become the video for the concert. No VJ in the world would do a better job than this one ─ this is my thinking. Life is stirring outside as the Ikizukuri and Susana prepare to begin.

I feel small, sitting in the front row. The stage is big, the scenery is overwhelming, and the musicians are lined up perfectly. The masks remain on Gonçalo and Gustavo’s faces.

Begin. The birds back there fly in a rush between the light and the wind, the treetops sway wildly. Ikizukuri and Susana begin to guide us to an increasingly heavy, more intense environment, and the chaos of the natural video accompanies them. They don’t know that behind them they have a movie going on that perfectly illustrates each sound, each note, each scream that comes out of Gustavo’s drums, Gonçalo’s electric bass, Susana’s trumpet, and Julius’ saxophone.

Let’s go to the second track and I realize it’s been good. How? I have pain in the prosthesis I have in my neck – a sign that I’m in semi headbanging.

The soundscapes are amazing. The masks fall from Gonçalo and Gustavo’s faces. Finally. They start to get looser. We continue. I look around and I can’t decipher what’s in the soul of whoever is sitting on my right side. I decipher from the tapping of the gentleman’s foot on my left side that he too is beginning to loosen up.

I don’t know how much time has passed. I refuse to look at the clock, Gonçalo brushes the bass’s arm across the floor, his body lets himself be commanded by the darkest side of the moment, Gustavo exchanges glances with him, Susana brings her subtlety and aggressiveness (I fall more and more in love with her sound) and Julius continues to brilliantly push the saxophone.

I write in my book: “jazz does not live only from foreigners”. We give too much value to international names when Portuguese musicians are creative and technically excellent.

Night fell and the scenery outside is exactly in the style of what you hear inside.

I go back to the book to write: “arrhythmias”. The arrhythmias are really mine and not theirs. My heart is arrhythmic, racing, and when that happens at a concert, it’s a good sign. They disarm me, make me take a deep breath and check my pulse.

The applause announces that we are finished. Gonçalo thanks. I reset my cardiovascular system. Ikizukuri moves my guts.