One of the finest folk metal exports of Brazil, Tuatha de Danann, named after the supernaturally-gifted race in Irish mythology, has recently released a new single (and music video), “The Nameless”. Myth of Rock and Raquel Miranda, enchanted by the band’s Celtic metal tunes, contacted Tuatha de Danann and had a long, detailed discussion with singer and founder Bruno Maia, who had many interesting things to say!
Hi there, my friend. Thanks for accepting this interview and greetings from Greece to Brazil. Hope all is great with you.
Hi! I’m the one who thanks the support and a big hello to the Greeks!
First of all, I’d like you to introduce the band, the members and a little of your history, please.
Oh, we are a Brazilian folk metal band and we’ve been doing it, since mid the 90’s. It’s kind of strange a Brazilian band doing Celtic, Irish music, but that’s what we are. The band members have changed through the years and only me and Giovani Gomes, the bass player, are on it, since the beginning.
You’ve released your new single, “The Nameless”, that will be part of your next full length album. It’s darker than the previous ones. It’s even dramatic and emotional. Why these feelings? You even talk about justice in the lyrics. Care to talk about a little more, please?
Yes, this song is a bit more emotional and deeper than a lot of our content. It’s due to what we see in the world, right? Lots of hatred, murders, wars, here in Brazil we’ve been facing a fascist government that drove us to an indigenous genocide and almost a million of deaths on the pandemic, a ridiculous and ultra-right government against all that comes from the people, from the workers and minorities. We couldn’t sing about fairies back then.
One of the main inspirations for this single was the German philosopher, Walter Benjamin and his “Thesis on the Concept of History”. Was he a huge inspiration, since you’ve studied Irish History? Tell us about your university education and how it influenced this band.
I studied Literature and History, but my first graduated course – which I didn’t conclude- was ‘Communication’ . On these three different graduations, there was iconic texts from Benjamin, in Communications I studied “ The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, on Literature was “The Storyteller’ and when I did History the “Thesis on the Concept of History” was a huge study. Everywhere I was there was Benjamin! I really like his work, he had an unique mind, original, challenger, and revolutionary. A man who lost his life for the ultra-right fascists of Hitler. And ‘The Nameless’ was very connected to some thesis, specially 2, 4, 6 and 7, where he says we must be careful to catch the moments, when the past storms in present and how we will only have real justice, when we have the justice of memory and history hailing those ones who struggle in the past and loose everything, the nameless slaves, nameless poor people over those the parade of the powerful steps over.
The cover was created by Rodrigo Barbieri and seems like a painting. What was your main theme for it?
I let him free with the lyrics and he stroke again, he is just amazing!
The single was produced by you, Bruno, at Braia Studios, in Varginha, your homeland and will be released by Heavy Metal Rock, the label that discovered you. Will they do the same with the record?
Yes, they will release our album in Brazil, we are friends, they are a very decent and serious company, and we are all ok.
We know that the record will come soon and has eight tracks. What can we expect from it? More Celtic sounds? And what will be the themes? Care to tell us the name of it, please?
It will probably have nine songs, actually. The Celtic influences and instruments will be always there, this is our common ground. What changes is the direction we tend each time, we can be more progressive, or more heavy metal, or going towards power metal, or like ‘The Nameless’, which I believe it tends to something darker, dramatic, like Anathema, My Dying Bride, I don’t know…. The lyrics are a bit more realistic than the old ones.
Let’s talk about the past, shall we? You’re the pioneers of folk metal in your country’s metal. All began in 1994. Congrats, since it’s your 29th anniversary! How do you feel about that?
Jesus Christ, I never realized that it was about to reach 30 now! HAHAHA. I was only 13 years old, when we did our first concert, it was mad, I was writing metal music, since my 12 years old! HAHAHAH. As we were very young and things changed really fast at teenage age, the band wasn’t folk at all in 94, it was death/doom metal… we went into folk in 1995, but kept some gothic and doom stuff and then only in 98 we reach a kind of folky heavy metal.
Your first album, “Tuatha de Danann”, began this journey for you. What do you remember from that experience?
We recorded it very far from home and we were very young and crazy. We thought we were like Mötley Crüe guys with all that madness, hahahaha, good madness…. And the album did very well, it sold a lot in the Brazilian underground, which brought us lots of concerts and the band’s name was growing very good. The sound quality, execution and performances were all are dreadful, but that was real, there’s real feelings and emotions there. The music is a bit strange for us today, at least it’s very different of what we do today, nowadays we only play live the first song ‘Us’, but that was quite a good debut album.
“Tingaralatingadun”, from 2001, is the most iconic and well-known album from you. Everyone knows it for the video you’ve made for the music. How was it for you to make the record, twenty-four years ago? The producer, Thiago Bianchi, even said on the documentary about this record that it was one of his craziest that he produced.
Oh yeah, it was crazy! We were a bunch of rural people in one of the biggest cities in the world (São Paulo)… and we stood on Thiago’s studio a full month or more. We were still like maniac Mötley Crüe guys at that time, but the recording was serious… It was a big shock for us, we had to record with click tracks for the first time, it was painful, hahaha. But there are memorable songs like ‘The Dance of the Little Ones’, ‘Tan Pinga ra Tan’ and ‘Be hold the Horned King’… we were creating and developing a sort of our own mythology, with our characters (Finganfor, Lyx the fox), our places( Tan Pinga ra Tan) and events like Tingaralatingadun and I believe we found something very unique in our music there, despite the errors and mistakes that haunts the album yet…. We could mix well our influences like Beatles, the 60s psychedelia stuff, some prog touches and death, doom and power metal all with Celtic and Irish sounds and instrumentation. From this album on, we’ve been being ourselves.
How about re-recording it? Will you remake that music video?
Actually, we just re-recorded the track ‘The Dance of the Little Ones’ to this anniversary edition. But through the years, we did different versions of two other songs from this album, ‘Tan Pinga ra Tan’ and ‘Battle Song’ that we did it instrumental under the name ‘Moytura’.
“The delirium has just began” was released in 2002. What delirium were you talking about?
We were into psychedelic things and experiences, mushrooms etc.… and there is that epic Yes album, “Relayer”, with the song ‘The Gates of Delirium’…. How I love that! And there was this song, a big one, with lots of different sections and parts which we called ‘The Delirium has just Begun’…that was it. And this is the first album of ours that I don’t have any complaining… I like all the performances till today, the sound and everything. It was our first album released in Europe, in France, and it went pretty nice in there, the label ended up releasing all our catalogue in there after ‘The Delirium…’.
“Trova di Danú” is a very dear album to the fans. Why is that? Tell us more about that album, please.
The sound and the whole production of this album was incredible for us at that time…And the musicality is very diverse on it: you have the shinning songs like ‘Bella Natura’, ‘Believe: its true’ and ‘Land of Youth’, you have the acoustic and mysterious ‘Trova di Danú’, a ballad ‘Spellboundance’, a heavier one ‘The Arrival’, the progressive ‘The Wheel’…. Is a very complete album.
“The Tribes of Witching Souls” has more Irish influences in it. “Turn” is one of the best compositions ever. “Warrior Queen” has a strong vibe. Fernanda Lira (Crypta) and Daísa Munhoz (Twilight Aura) sang both in it. How was the composition in this album, lyrically and musically speaking?
I love this album! I love how it sounds, the guitar tones, the drums and the songs! I believe the title track and ‘Turn’ are among our best songs ever, and maybe I’d include ‘Warrior Queen’ as well. The composition was quite the same: I am the main composer, but there’s always some partnership happening. Martin Walkyier wrote the lyric to ‘Your Wall Shall Fall’ and sang this one as well. This song is a calling against the savage capitalism that explores nature without limits and responsibility… The lyrics depends on the songs, the title track is about the band itself, ‘Turn’ is about passivity, conformity and for you to have bollocks to face life and maybe the ‘system’, ‘Warrior Queen’ is a tribute we did to all woman in the world, we have loads of feminicide in Brazil and we know how women face prejudice, have more obstacles to win and etc….’Conjura’ is about a Brazilian conspiracy during the colonial times that happened in our state Minas Gerais. There’s loads of themes in there. This album was released in Europe by the German label, Trollzorn.
“In Nomine Éireann” is your last one. Was it a difficult one?
It was hard, because we were in the middle of the pandemic, so everything was hard to achieve… But it was a big learning time as well. I am ten times more experienced and safer on studio now. It’s a special album, in which we chose some Irish traditional songs and tunes and made our own version of those. I like it in its whole!
You even have an acoustic album. What is this album, and where was the shooting? How was the experience?
Actually, that was a DVD called ‘Acoustic Live’ …we recorded it on 2008, but only last year we released this audio online. The show was in São Paulo and was very nice to do that…very funny full of beautiful and nice people.
“The Molly Maguires” is a very popular Irish song and you sing it with Keith Fay, from Irish celtic metal band, Cruachan, and violinist Kane O’Rourke. Tell us more about that experience.
Yes, this is a very known song for Irish people and the Molly Maguire’s movement as well. I invited Keith, because we are long time friends and who could do it better than the Irish pioneer of Folk Metal? Keith Fay! He was amazing in his parts!!! Kane is a savage fiddle player and a very nice friend of mine. In the middle of our Molly Maguire, we insert a reel called ‘Fermoy lasses’ and it was deadly cool.
You have your own project: Braia. Tell us more, please.
Oh, yeah! Around 2006 I was creating some music, still having this Celtic inspiration but that doesn’t fit to what I realized Tuatha de Danann should sound like. Then I decided to record a full album. Some guys from Tuatha de Danann helped me recording, Giovani Gomes and Edgard Brito and I believe it was a very nice album. It was released in France as well, that was grand, because was in Portugal and the label released it, because there were a lot of Tuatha de Danann fans in there… And I released the second album last year, an instrumental one, still with huge Irish influences and instrumentation, but with more Brazilian music. There’s the guest Felipe Andreoli from Angra.
You play traditional Irish instruments. Which ones? Is it difficult?
I play some, like tin and low whistles, Irish Flute, bouzouki and banjo. They are difficult as any other instrument is. On ‘Trova di Danú’, I played a small pipe on ‘The Danann’s Voice’.
You went to Wacken, Germany, in 2005. How was the experience for you? Did you see any bands? What do you remember?
Fantastic! How could we imagine we would play at Wacken! It was marvelous! We were in a French tour that our French label booked, it was 15 gigs around France, so it ends with three concerts in Germany, one in Aschafenburg, one in Metal Bash and Wacken. We went very well, the place was really full and the crowd was very warm, I’ll never forget that.
You even have a festival, Roça’N’Roll. Andre Matos was one of the guests to perform there. Tell us the concept of it, please. Will it happen this year?
This festival lasted 19 years. Roça means a countryside, rural place… It starts very small and ended up very nice with 3 stages, bands and people from all over the world, we have also one of the biggest medals of Greek metal music in one edition: Rotting Christ, it was a fantastic concert. The festival was born with the concept of being a tool for new and talented bands to have a decent place and gear to play; with time it gets bigger and we brought international bands, like Rotting Christ, Grave Digger, Cathedral, Samael, Orphaned Land, Pain of Salvation, Amorphis and many more. Angra, Shaman and many other Brazilian well-known bands performed there too, Andre Matos came three times to Roça’n’Roll.
And what about the tour this year? What are the plans? Will you come to Europe? Would you like to visit some countries, such as Portugal and Greece? What can we expect?
We’d love to do that! But its not completely in our hands… We need festivals interested in our music, concerts, etc.…It would be marvelous to know Portugal and Greece, I hope we can do it someday, THIS YEAR, haha.
Bruno, tell us more about yourself. Hobbies, bands that you like and more, please, so that fans might know you a little more.
I’m a lucky bastard, because I´m still resisting and striking by living with music and arts. So, my work is what I love. Music is a hobby, history, literature and cinema. Favorite bands are hard, but I could say Paradise Lost, old Helloween, Amorphis, Rainbow, Yes and Beatles.
Bruno, thanks once again for accepting this interview and greetings from Greece to Brazil. Hope to talk to you soon. Cheers!
Thank you a lot and I hope Greek people give us a chance following us on Spotify, Bandcamp and most of all: hope to see you on tour. Still safe and healthy!