A world unto herself 

Latin, jazz, gypsy guitar and three languages come together at Suzana Da Camara concert

"I want to integrate important messages into what I do, even if it is just a positive message. It doesn’t have to be an ordeal." Da Camara on blending social activism with music.
  • "I want to integrate important messages into
    what I do, even if it is just a positive message.
    It doesn’t have to be an ordeal."
    Da Camara on blending social activism with music.

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: Suzana Da Camara

When: Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $23/$18

Environmentalist, international lawyer, she was going to change the world. She never expected to make a living at what she loved most, nor did she ever suspect her love of singing would eventually become the vehicle for her original dreams.

Now she is changing the world, one glorious exotic, jazzed up lyric at a time with her Whistler debut Saturday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.

“Because my mom was very socially aware, I was taught at a young age about everything that is going on in the world that shouldn’t be happening,” singer Suzana Da Camara explains, noting poverty, exploitation and environmental issues.

“I think it is a good time right now because people are wanting change and if you have an opportunity like this, with my singing, I want to integrate important messages into what I do, even if it is just a positive message. It doesn’t have to be an ordeal. I’m more into pro-peace (than an) anti-war stance. I like looking at the positive aspect of things.”

It wasn’t always that way for Da Camara. Her original songwriting focused more on melody and feeling. Now lyrics drive her notes — notes that span ideas, languages, and the world.

Originally she marketed her music within the jazz genre. However, a lot more was going on within her exotic music, penned in English, French and Portuguese. She also co-writes with her guitarist, Mike Dell, who accompanies Da Camara with infectious gypsy guitar rhythms, bringing yet another piece to the complex puzzle.

The Canadian-born girl, who spent much of her childhood growing up in Portugal, reached out to a broader genre after sizing up her music alongside contemporary jazz luminaries.

Da Camara was featured with artists such as Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett on a jazz compilation album called W Network Presents… An Evening with Friends , released by Universal Music Canada. Her music was also included on the jazz remix album Rosemount Wine & Song with remixes of Jones, St. Germain and others, released by Koch Records.

She realized she needed to broaden her sound to a world jazz folk genre and with increasing media attention in Portugal, steady radio play in Canada and a Best Album nomination from the 2005 Music and Film Motion Awards, it appears to be the perfect fit.

“My personality is sporadic,” she says of her diverse interest in musical styles. “I enjoy a lot of different things. I don’t like to be restricted. I feel people get used to you performing in a certain way then you are expected to stay that way. I think people enjoy a wide variety of music and styles. I like to sing that way…. We like to mix it up and keep it interesting. There is always a familiar feel to it, but it is always different — that’s entertainment.”

Da Camara launches her eight-show B.C. tour in Whistler and hopes audiences will enjoy music from her latest self-titled album produced by Jack Richardson, who produced The Guess Who, Bob Seger and Alice Cooper.

“The show is honest,” she said. “It’s definitely fun. It’s a bit exotic and quirky. It’s unique with gypsy guitar rhythms, Latin and jazz. It has mellow tones. Some songs are about heartbreak. All the emotions are there.”

Tickets are $23 for adults and $18 for students and seniors. Purchase tickets by calling 604-935-8410.

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