What can a mixed background give you as an artist? Often it is a great source of imaginative artistic solutions, with thinking and working outside pre-set standards and norms. Or, it could be a source of confusion where the artist doesn’t know which way to turn and what personal source to tap into.
Jef Maarawi is an artist/musician of Greek and Brazilian background and based on his second album Terra Papagalli (Land of the Parrots), he certainly doesn’t have that problem.
First of all, Maarawi decides to opt to sing in English, the option most modern musicians opt for when they try to convey inspirations from different backgrounds.
But, as the title of the album indicates (Terra Papagalli is the original name for Brazil), Maarawi puts his thoughts and visions about one of his native countries into a very current musical vision that has more to do with world musical trends of today rather than just Brazil or Greece themselves.
With all that said, Maarawi’s songwriting is excellent and can give his musical visions a very good context. And yet, it is the lyrical content of his songs where he excels even more. He puts his lyrics in the context of the album itself, music about Brazil, ‘a broken protest record.’
Talking about “Senna,” one of the album’s highlights, Maarawi, notes: “It would take all those years of us growing older, watching that hopeful, post-dictatorial Brazil succumb to further corruption, inequality, and divisiveness to make us miss, really miss Ayrton Senna, not simply as an icon, but as a promise to our future selves that we could do better.”
And what is most important, Maarawi can convey such thoughts, not only in this song but throughout Terra Papagali.