Tiptoeing Thru the Tulips with Tulipa!
An interview with Tulipa Ruiz, one of Brazil’s newest singing sensations, who was in London to make her UK debut. We’ve also got some great video from her gig at Momo’s.
Last Tuesday night (29th March) at Momo’s restaurant in London, Tulipa Ruiz made her UK debut. The Brazilian singer, with her guitar-playing brother Gustavo at her side, managed to silence the 80 people who had packed themselves into the confined downstairs, ending on a song sung in a mix of English and Portuguese that filled the room with laughter, suggesting she’s as much entertainer as singer (I’ll tell you what that song was later). The day before I had met Tulipa and Gustavo in the French Institute in South Kensington, an unlikely location until you release that her debut album Efêmera is being released internationally on Totolo records, a French record label.
The album was voted the best Brazilian album of 2010 by Rolling Stone Brasil, and so it’s no surprise that people outside of Brazil are starting to take notice. One of her songs, “Efêmera” has been featured on the new FIFA 2011 football game and another, “Do Amor,” on the excellent Oi! A Nova Musica Brasileira! compilation from last year.
I started the interview with the basics. Is this your first time in London?
Is it the first time you will have performed as just yourself and Gustavo [she normally has a band of five musicians]?
The Portuguese love Brazilian music yeah?
Well, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Brazilians in the crowd tomorrow. How has it affected the songs playing as a two-piece because presumably some, such as “Pedrinho,” would be hard to recreate?
Do you have a favourite song on Efêmera?
I was reading a little about your family and particularly your father [Luiz Chagas] who was a famous guitarist…
So presumably with a guitarist father and brother too you had a very musical upbringing?
Which leads me to ask why you only chose to start singing at around 30 years of age?
Was it important for you to learn these professions before becoming a singer?
Okay, I wanted to finish on a couple of more Brazil-based questions. What’s your favourite place to play in Brazil?
Which other Brazilian artists do you recommend our readers to listen to?
Okay, maybe that’s enough. It should give them some interesting leads that’s for sure. I just wanted to say thanks for the interview and best of luck for tomorrow.
The concert at Momo’s was a huge success, even getting a rave review in The Guardian. Tulipa played the songs from Efêmera as well as “Da Maior Importancia,” a cover of a Caetano Veloso song and her final English/Portuguese/Monty Python rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Hopefully she will be back in October with her full band – fingers crossed!
Here’s a video of her performing “Da Maior Importancia” followed by some photos of the concert taken by Caroline Bittencourt.
Words by Russ Slater. Photos courtesy of Caroline Bittencourt.