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Sessa, the São Paulo musician known for his enchanting 2019 debut album ‘Grandeza,’ returns with an expansive collection of songs built with reverence for the deep historical traditions of Brazilian music, now adorned with elegant strings, cascades of hypnotic rhythm, draped with his graceful backing choir. Whereas ‘Grandeza’ was about the softness of the human body, and the drunkenness of being in love, ‘Estrela Acesa’ is about love’s fragility and the hangover of it all.

Recorded between June and September 2021 in Ilhabela and Piracaia, Brazil, and New York City, its twelve songs of are inspired by the majesty of being a witness to and an agent of life. ‘Estrela Acesa’ (or Burning Star) is music about music, and for that it is drenched in the melancholy and mystery of night. From the opening notes of “Gostar do Mundo,” the album is lavished with intoxicating melodies and vivid textures, yet grounded with a sense of spiritual humility. While Sessa’s poetry is sensual near to a level of provocation, there is an inward stillness – a quiet acknowledgment of beauty and pain that would be powerless if not for the language of music. In balletic fashion, ‘Estrela Acesa’ meditates deeply on the intersection of the sublime and the sinister, constantly at play.

“My ears or my soul are stained with this faded, ghostly, empty, and broken sound,” says Sessa. ‘Estrela Acesa’ is the sound of Rogério Duprat’s famous Tropicália records, and the legendary arranger Arthur Verocai – Brazilian in feel, with hints of Erasmos Carlos and João Donato, yet tinged with the roots reggae rhythm of Johnny Clarke. The nuanced interplay between Sessa, bassist Marcelo Cabral, percussionist co-producer Biel Basile, and the galaxial orchestration of Alex Chumak and Simon Hanes, created an album that feels bare yet opulent, the spare songs gradually blossoming into lush, fertile landscapes. Inspired by the vivid timbres and textures of spiritual seekers like Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, and Yusef Lateef, hints of that liberated jazz sound first emerged on ‘Grandeza.’ By contrast, on ‘Estrela Acesa,’ the stunning orchestrations offer smooth transport and gentle transcendence.

Sessa will be live at the Lodge Room on Friday, June 16.