"What a great mixture of organic and electronic elements... which is actually hard to achieve. I like it a lot."
- Airto Moreira
"I say bravo! The sound of Diana Purim's voice is a welcome addition to the world of music, as well as the vocal punctuation of Krishna Booker's percussive embellishments."
- Wayne Shorter
The production at times makes it impossible to define where the Brazilian starts and where the Hip Hop enters - and that's the point. Its a brilliant display of the bi-cultural nature of this flawless album.
- Felix Contreras, NPR Music / Alt.Latino
As the faces of the musical group, Purim & Booker excelled in their roles onstage. Granted, both hail from a background of musical excellence - and yet, both demonstrated an adeptness with their respective crafts that justified their spots onstage even without considering their histories.
- Ryan Tuozzolo, The Daily Californian
Photo By: Sigal Mizrahi
Photos by STEFANIA ROSINI PHOTOGRAPHY
“Many in body but one in mind” is an ancient Buddhist concept which signifies a unity that has at its heart, respect for the diverse and unique qualities of each individual. This unity can be formed only among those who respect one another and cherish each other’s unique attributes and abilities, while working in harmony to compensate for one another’s weaknesses. In essence, many people having the same feeling, thought or aim toward a goal.
This has been a major theme for Eyedentity over the years and through many transformations since its inception in 1997. Searching for their own voices in a family of giants, it can be witnessed in the desire of its founding members to individuate themselves from their legendary forefathers, all the while preserving, sharing and honoring their history as they forge ahead together into the musical unknown.
Diana Purim began her musical career in 1972, touring with Chick Corea’s Original Return to Forever in the belly of her mother. She grew up on the road traveling like a gypsy from country to country with her parents, Brazilian Jazz pioneers, singer Flora Purim and percussionist Airto Moreira. Krishna Booker is the son of renowned Jazz bassist, Walter Booker, nephew of Wayne Shorter and godson of Herbie Hancock. Credited by Herbie in his book for introducing him to Hip Hop and the idea for “Rock It”, Krishna began his musical career beat-boxing for Herbie. He later went on to creating original music with Diana, his wife and childhood friend.
The two share a background in Jazz, Funk, Brazilian and Latin Fusion. Their passion for all kinds of music fueled the fire of their creativity and together, they stretched the boundaries of Hip Hop by fusing it with all of their multicultural musical influences. “For the purists, we like to remind them that even Jazz is an art form born of Blues and Classical music. The original spirit of Jazz is experimental and so is the true spirit of Hip Hop. In fact,” explains Diana, “all of the world’s music has evolved from its most primitive indigenous origins, being shaped and molded by geographical, political, social and cultural influences to become what it is today.”
Using their Hip Hop experience to carry them through their first Trip Hop venture, they found some success with a single called “Heavy Interference” from their first release. “It was a struggle for us to find our true sound,” says band leader / composer / percussionist / producer, Krishna. “We’ve been influenced and inspired by so many styles of music and were using the Eyedentity platform to experiment with them all. Although we had some brilliant moments, we hadn’t achieved the homogenous and unified sound we were cultivating until now. I feel like we have finally found Eyedentity’s identity with this new album.”
During the search for their unique Urban/Brazilian sound, they began to notice parallels within the cultures of varying countries, especially within the slave culture of oppressed peoples. In Brazil, slaves were allowed to bring their culture from their countries of origin. We clearly see this reflected in their spirituality, dance, art, food and music. The slaves in America were more restricted and forced to abandon their culture for the customs of their oppressors or risk being beaten or killed for not complying. Yet somehow, they found other ways of transcending, expressing their authenticity through the musical mediums of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Hip Hop, etc…
“The parallels are easy to spot,” explains Krishna, “for example, in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira and how American break-dancing looks and feels so much like it. The cuica is an instrument that originated in Africa where hunters used it as a lion call. Modified in Brazil, it became an instrument of seduction in Brazilian music. A DJ scratching base cuts on vinyl sounds very much like the cuica, and so on… there are so many comparisons. The slave cultures of the U.S. and Brazil represent the Many Bodies, One Mind that have influenced so many people’s music, including ours.”
Many Bodies, One Mind is the duo’s third official release and their most refined project to date. It’s a hard-won victory, having been through the boot-camp of learning their craft while recording their debut release, See for a European indie label called Electric M.E.L.T. in 2000.“ We have come a long way,” says Diana, “Eyedentity’s sound was innocent and wildly eclectic when we stepped onto the Trip Hop scene. It was a reflection of who we were at the time. Having never heard of the genre, we scrambled to research artists who were at the pinnacle of the electronic music scene to find a model of what the label was asking for. We had Bjork, Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack and Esthero on repeat while working to find our unique voice within Europe’s electronic movement.”
Krishna and Diana identify strongly with the courage and beauty of the struggle in achieving the freedom of self-expression and are heavily influenced by this concept. Reflected in the lyrics of the album’s title track and other tracks like the percussion-heavy “Don’t Deny” and vocal-laden “Echos”, the album displays joyous, celebratory and revolutionary themes with songs like the cover of Airto’s “Tombo In 7/4”, also touching on a sensual, seductive and darker moods with “Liquid Light” and “Você Não Me Engana”.
The couple has toured the world, collaborating with many musical legends like Airto, Herbie Hancock, and George Duke who all contributed musically to the album along with Justo Almario, Pete Locket and many others. They have also had the privilege of working with Sergio Mendes, Flora Purim, Wah Wah Watson, Babatunji Olatunji, Alphonso Johnson, Grateful Dead, recently with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.
“Our elders taught us that in music and art, vulnerability and truth are our strength and power. We must share our true selves with others. Authenticity within the music evokes emotion and connection with our audience. If they feel what we feel, we have succeeded.”