Singer-songwriter Jef Maarawi is back with his brand new album, Terra Papagalli. The album’s title translates as ‘Land of Parrots’, and was one of the first names given to Brazil. It’s an exploration of Brazilian music, with a healthy dose of melancholy sounds.
Take the title track, for example. A protest song. It is about how there’s something not right with the government, and the protagonist can smell the corruption. When he sings: “And what about the vote, dear lord, I ought to worry about it sometimes / This isn’t right” it stresses how a lot of people could vote for the wrong government. The infectious harmonies make the listener feel good. It’s one of the most powerful elements of the album.
However, the tender moments are what makes Terra Papagalli worth listening to. For example, the folk-influenced guitars on ‘Consume Me’ are very relaxing. The song is very soulful. But there is a hint of anger when Maarawi sings “Why don’t you mind your own fucking business.” The ambient synths in the background create a disturbing listen. Tropicaliptico’ is a lovely song because the guitars and harmonies are perfect for a sunny day.
The best song on the album is ‘Go Back Home!’ because it is an upbeat track, but very dark lyrically: “I think I’ll never go back home / to this greyscale haven made of flesh and bone / This obscene amount of racist overtones.” Maarawi feels disconnected because his home country has changed. It’s thought-provoking and well written. Again, the harmonies are incredibly strong.
Terra Papagalli is an album that’s perfect for anyone who feels like an outsider. It demonstrates a lot of problems in the world today, with some uplifting production. It shows that you should never be afraid to speak out.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos