Sulinha Boucher, an Arlington musician for 30 years who is originally from Brazil, has recorded her fourth album for children, “We Should Be Kind."
Perhaps you have heard her at the Robbins and Fox libraries, where she has performed for the under-5-year-old audience for many years.
In her own words, she provides the background to “We Should Be Kind,” born in the spring of 2020:
When the pandemic arrived, my more than 30 guitar and piano students stopped coming to my home studio for their lessons, and all of my trio’s upcoming gigs were canceled.
I played a lot of music during this time, and I also became more alert to what I was seeing around me, especially in nature. I looked out my window on a windy day and saw trees and leaves dancing. That was the beginning of “This Is What I See,” the first song I wrote for the album.
'This is What I See':
I asked my friend Kate Leary what she was noticing, and she wrote the lyrics for a second verse and contributed some lyrics for some other songs as well.
When the world slowed down, I thought about my students and myself, always minding the clock, going from one thing to another, and I wrote “Here It Goes the Clock Again.” I started writing down phrases and chord progressions. I put sticky notes all over the place. I decided that any idea I had, no matter how small, I would collect it. I was writing an album!
In May 2020, I started to meet with my producer, Eduardo Mercuri, on Zoom each week. I’d play him what I had, and he always knew instinctively what the song needed. Things started developing quickly.
I remember when he came up with the intro guitar part of “Moving Everything.” It’s a fun movement song. I can’t wait to play this for a group of children and get moving with them! Because I’m from Brazil, I also recorded a version in Portuguese.
Cool chord progression
“We Should Be Kind” began with a cool chord progression that Eduardo and I were playing around with. He encouraged me to write a song with this groove, and I was thinking about how the world has so many bullies, but it has so many kind people, too.
I wanted it to be a duet, because kindness is about relationships, and I wanted the texture of another voice. Alastair Moock is a local children’s musician I admire, and I’ve always enjoyed the distinctive quality of his voice. We’d never met, but I reached out to him with the song and invited him to sing on the track. He kindly agreed, and we had a great time recording the vocals at my home studio.
We found new methods of recording during the pandemic. Eduardo recorded basic tracks at his home studio in New York and then sent them to Diego Joaquim Ramirez (drums). He recorded his tracks in his home studio and returned them to Eduardo, who then added electric guitar, bass, banjo cavaco, cavaquinho, mandolin, keyboard and vocals. There were also wonderful contributions from Julio Santos (percussion), Louise Grasmere of Arlington (vocals) and Marta Roma (cello).
'Here It Goes the Clock Again':
“This Old Man” is the only cover on the album. I recorded it for my first album, featuring one of my best friends, Alexandre Carvalho, who passed away unexpectedly at age 56. I wanted to honor him and decided to do a remake of this song on my new album. We rerecorded all the tracks around his gorgeous electric guitar solos. He was gone much too soon, but I smile every time I hear his music, and I’m grateful for his contribution. Julio Santos contributed with his incredible talent on percussions.
Once I had all of these musical contributions, I went to Wellspring Sound Studio, in Acton, to lay down my acoustic guitar, piano and vocal tracks.
I wanted children’s voices on the album, and my students were happy to add this last piece in my home studio. By this time, many of my students were back to taking lessons in person, and I’m so happy to be with them again. “We Should Be Kind” was an absorbing and healing project for me, and it taught me new ways of collaborating with other musicians. I hope you enjoy what comes straight from our hearts.
March 28, 2013: Brazilian rhythms from Arlington musician draws award
This extended news announcement was published Friday, May 6, 2022.
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