Saturday 23 June 2018, 7.30pm

Domenico Lancellotti

“Working with music is crazy,” multi-instrumentalist Domenico Lancellotti recently said in an interview. “God be crazy. Out of fear.” He’s right. To do anything creative is to exist outside your body, to teeter between reality and sanity. Full-time creativity requires God, fear, and intensity: you have to exist in whatever space you occupy, surveying the scene while remaining on the periphery of it. It’s from this mindset that Domenico created his new work, The Good is a Big God (released in Brazil as Serra dos Órgãos), a 14-track collection of reflective samba that first took shape almost six years ago, to be release on May 11 by Luaka Bop.

Domenico was asked to take part in an artistic occupation in the city of London during the 2012 Summer Olympics. There, he reunited with famed British musician Sean O’Hagan — whom he’d met a few years prior during a show that paid homage to Tropicália. Before he left for London, Domenico sent O’Hagan a few musical sketches he’d done on guitar; by the time the Brazilian made it to the U.K., O’Hagan had string arrangements to accompany Domenico’s music. “We recorded nine songs that served as the soundtrack for my final Rio-Occupation project — an art film called Soundistante in a big exhibition,” says Domenico a renowned drummer with the likes of Gilberto Gil and member of the now-defunct +2. The musician added lyrics to some of these songs once he returned to Brazil. His friend and label mate Kassin helped Domenico write the words for “Insatiable,” and O’Hagan wrote the lyrics for “Logo.” “There was a record ready!” Domenico recalls with excitement.

For this show, Domenico will be joined by Bem Gil (guitar), Bruno Di Lullo (bass), Thomas Harres (drums), with Sean O'Hagan arranging a string quartet and Nina Miranda as a special guest.

The Good is a Big God is also partially inspired by a trip he took with his wife to a Brazilian national park called Serra dos Órgãos. They rented a house and went climbing, which inspired four other songs: “A Alma do Vento” (The Soul of the Wind), “Voltar-se” (Turn Back), “Dama da Noite” (Lady of the Night) and "Pare de Correr” (Stop Running). Listening to these songs, one can hear a sense of isolation and oneness with nature. It’s the type of art that arrives in a calming stream of thought, when it’s just you and God in conversation with one another. That focus also peppers a track like “Arvores” (Trees) an airy folk-influenced tune that feels remarkably wide open and scenic, as if Domenico is surveying heaven, looking toward brighter days. In what might be the bleakest time in modern politics (and the world at large), The Good is a Big God is a much-needed respite from the rigors of everyday life.