Bena Roberto — Cara Lavada

by Gustavo Aquino Dos Reis


It's hard for me to express in words the feeling that I had when I listened to the song "Viva Oxóssi Viva" by the singer and composer Bena Roberto, for the first time. The arrangements, the lyrics, the drum beat and his voice were so magical that they transported me to a unique place in space and time: I saw myself in the yards (terreiros) of Cachoeira - Bena's own homeland - dancing and praising Oxóssi, orisha of the forests in an Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomblé, as the chorus of the music bounced ever higher.

"Viva Oxóssi viva,
Flechas no ar,
Espírito da floresta,
Flechas no ar"

A few months later, I found his only LP called "Bena Roberto - Cara Lavada" where the magical song was eternalized on the last track of the album. My admiration reached new levels when I listened the other songs on the LP, and I remember my astonishment at the fact that this record had been so unsuccessful at the time that it was released (around 1987). It's still so hard to understand how this was possible because the album has amazing hits like "Brincando de Amor", written by Arthur Lima, and the beautiful reggae track "Não vou Não", written by Bena and his friend Cebolinha.

After a while, I managed to get Bena's contact through Facebook – a social network where he is still very active. I told him about all my admiration, the importance of his songs, and the fact that some DJ's were playing his songs around the world. He politely thanked and told me much more about his own projects and the inspiration that inspired him to create those songs.

Bena Roberto is really special. And, sadly, he is still unknown, even in his own country. He is still unknown to a lot of DJ's who play his songs at parties and clubs around Europe but don't know even a bit about his history.

So these words are a humble call from a Brazilian guy who stumbled onto a chest full of diamonds when he heard, for the first time, that song.

Please give Bena the importance that he deserves.
Give all the unknown musicians and songwriters around the world the importance that they deserve. Because life, brother, life can be really unfair.

Viva Oxóssi viva!
Viva Bena!
Viva Iemanjá que também guia os seus passos!
Viva todos os Benas do mundo.

follow Gustavo Aquino Dos Reis on Instagram here

Thank you Gustavo, Bena Roberto & Jordan Loader

photos courtesy of Bena Roberto

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