Review: Rafael de Toledo Pedroso – Coração de Pássaro
National Music Reviews
Rafael de Toledo Pedroso
Coração de Pássaro
Rafael de Toledo Pedroso = Rosalía + Okay Kaya
For most artists, creating something new helps fill the cavity that follows loss. I don’t believe it truly gets filled, but the attempt can create something else—a tribute to the lost, a growth from the rawness, a process of mourning and recovering; learning how to move forward without leaving it behind.
Pedroso has been very open about the loss of their mother and how it inspired his new solo album, Coração de Pássaro. The album is written and performed in Portuguese, and it’s much more personal and vulnerable than their music with two other bands, A/C Repair School and Pedroso & Pedrosa. It’s the innermost workings of loss and longing that embody this album. It’s deeply human, deeply alive. Losing a mother strips us down to our most reptilian selves. There’s been cases of animals showcasing grief when they’ve just lost their mother—motherhood is stronger than humanity: it’s innate.
The Brazilian artist accesses the animalistic nature of existence, not only through their experience of losing their mother, but also of the personification of their mother. The album title, Coração de Pássaro, translates to “bird heart,” displaying abstract artwork on the album cover of a woman being carried by a bird as her shackle breaks. It has a physical movement to the image, but it’s also emotionally moving in the freedom it represents. Bird sounds find their way into almost every song on the album, reinforcing the theme. On the title track, flutes mimic birds as Pedroso shares the experience of burying someone who deserves to fly. Before understanding the lyrics, i found the song deeply emotional and raw in a way that can only be experienced.
The album is classified as Brazilian Pop, with a lightly experimental twist on the pop sound. On “A Hora Do Lupino” (hour of the lupine), the artist raps in Portuguese. The title of this track further emphasizes the return to the natural, suggesting a wolf reference. Pedroso pushes his genre in “Marcando um X na Rede”, when two instruments forge their own tempos near the end of the song. Aside from the title track, the standout song is “Deixe-me Vivier,” translating to “let me live.” It stands out in its serene feeling, though it has a disassembled haunting that skates alongside.
While they struggle to understand the feeling of deep, insatiable longing, Pedroso also accepts their mother’s death as a release of her illness that shackled her for so long. He knew that by burying her in the ground, they also gave her to the sky. There is a paradoxical nature to Coração de Pássaro: While the human heart stops or breaks, the bird heart takes its first beats. –Harper Haase