AQA Playlist: Antonio Oba

The artist highlighted with a solo show at Pinacoteca Contemporânea in São Paulo shares two playlists that accompany him in his creative processes

Portrait of Antonio Obá. Credit: Diego Bresani

Born in Ceilândia, in the Federal District, artist Antonio Obá has been even better known in recent years for his impressive canvases. But his production has also expanded into performances, drawings and other formats, in a very rigorous research into the history of the body, especially the black body, considering historical and social issues that have developed in Brazil.

What few know about Obá is that he is a music lover and takes it very, very seriously. At home and in his studio, it is very common for him to be accompanied by a guitar, from which he plays songs that he likes a lot and that seem to help him in a kind of meditation, like Bambayuque, by Zeca Baleiro, and the The answer, by Vitor Ramil. Brazilian popular music is very present in his life and also in the 2021 playlist, created especially for AQA.

In it, he brought songs by well-known artists, such as Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, Monica Salmaso and Lô Borges, as well as other contemporary and emerging singers, such as Tiganá Santana, Zé Modesto and Rubi. It's important to note that they all have one similarity: a very warm degree of tranquility in their voices.

In addition to these national names, Obá's list also includes well-known international artists, such as Miles Davis, Maria Callas and John Coltrane. Here is also a special mention of the indie phenomenon Moses Sumney and the Latinity of Jorge Drexler and Loli Molina.

Now, in 2023, we invited the artist to create a second playlist. The new selection moves between musical compositions and poems, which according to Obá, would have accompanied him on a day of work. On the day in question, he would have started reading a poem by João Cabral de Mello Neto, “A Educação pela Pedra”, which makes up a book with the same title, from 1965. Researching the written work, Obá found the album “João Cabral de Mello Neto by himself”, recorded four years after the publication of the book, where the poet himself recites his creations.

Further on, Obá also highlights the song “Abertura”, the initial part of the great work “A Floresta do Amazonas”, one of the last compositions by Heitor Villa-Lobos, and tells us that he had his first contact with the composition as a teenager, when He heard it in the miniseries “A Muralha”, from 2000, which had the song as its theme.

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