Bel Ayre




Indio LOURO on Belgian national radio 1

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Review by Wim Van Walle

Índio Louro - Deixa-me Chorar (2015)

Speaking of command of a foreign language. Allow me to push a record here that I adore. In Portuguese. The record, not the post!

Earlier this year I was at Tune-Up when a young woman walked in and sat in the chair next to mine with a cup of coffee. We said hi and ended up chatting the rest of the afternoon away, with Carlo joining in at the end, after hours, helping the conversation flow with a steady supply of prosecco. Subjects ranged from our shared hero-worshipping of David Bowie to African music and Ethiopian restaurants in Antwerp.

At one point it transpired that Nel Ponsaers, as her name turned out to be, had made a record under the name Índio Louro, which translates as Blond Indian. Having listened to a lot of Brazilian music as a kid, she had developped a fascination for Portuguese, first singing along phonetically and later learning the language. Not too long ago, she decided to make her own record in Portuguese. Most of it self-penned, sparsely but beautifully arranged and recorded in a week, Deixa-me Chorar (Let me weep) is a wonderful introduction into the world of bossa-nova, samba and other latin and african rhythms.

Peter Verhelst is absolutely immense on guitars and ud. This man can play. Easily among the best guitarists I have seen recently. Yves Peeters' rhythms on various percussion are truly addictive. There are contributions on harp en flute as well. But the star of the show is Nel's husky, warm voice. Even if I don't understand a word of Portuguese, the melody and wonderful, heartfelt delivery really gets to me. As I have witnessed live, this woman can actually sing, which is refreshing these days. And she means every word she sings. There is incredible emotion in these songs, which tackle love and its struggles and tackle them head-on. Even songs about cats, butterflies and blond Indians, while they may be fun at first sight, turn out a lot deeper once you check out the (translated) lyrics. There are lots of question marks in the lyrics as a lot of searching of the heart and soul happens.

Mas pra que? / Pra que tanto céu? / Pra que tanto mar? Pra que? / De que serve esta onda que quebra? / E o vento da tarde? De que serve a tarde? / Inútil paisagem / Pode ser que nao venhas mais / Que nao venhas nunca mais... / De que servem as flôres que nascem / pelos caminhos? / Se meu caminho sozinho é nada / nada ...

(But why? Why is there so much sky? / Why so much sea? Why? / What purpose to the breaking wave / To the wind caressing the evening? / What purpose in evenings anyway? / The purposeless landscape / It may be, that you will not return / That you will not return again / What purpose then in the flowers blooming alongside the road? / If my path is merely my own / Then there is no path for me / nothing)

Everything was recorded live in the shortest possible time. This gives the whole album a direct crispness that is sadly missing from many records these days. The delights of small budgets and the creativity they inspire. The cd’s are lovingly packaged in cardboard with Ponsaers’ own artwork. Every album has an exotic feather attached to it. Mine has a gorgeous parrot one. There were plans for a limited run on vinyl but sadly those were binned due to financial restrictions, after two test-pressings were rejected. I remain hopeful that at some point a vinyl will appear. I am quietly certain that this lovely music will sound even better.

As a sample, here is Barboleta Amarelinha, which tells of a yellow butterfly sitting on the kitchen window, telling a lot of thruth and wisdom by not answering the singer’s helpless question why is she so often alone.

De Standaard 29/03/2017

Four star review of 'A Canzone 'e Partenope, the first Cd of Bel Ayre in De Standaard, Belgian newspaper.