Yonlu: A Society in Which No Tear is Shed is Inconceivably Mediocre

Imagine what the early 21st century bedroom recordings of a depressed Brazilian teenager with a penchant for quietly direct songs about his frayed state of mind, a delicate but confident touch on acoustic guitar, a talent for artful overdubbing and an affinity for the occasionally off-beat multi-part musical, and that’s Yonlu, a/k/a Vinicius Gageiro Marques, in a nutshell. Yonlu created the 14 songs herein all alone, in his studio, sharing them only with his online friends and fans until his suicide in 2006 at the age of sixteen. Though his tragic story would naturally draw in listeners, the music itself transcends his short lifespan – his voice was steady and tuneful, whether in English or his native Portuguese, spinning delicate and pristine performances in the mold of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, but always informed by his Brazilian heritage. Songs like “Humiliation” and “Suicide” are maddening in their blatant foreshadowing, but “Katie Don’t Be Depressed” beats ‘em all. The pointed line he sang to the subject is exactly what the sympathetic listener will be feeling upon hearing this collection lonely aural postcards – “seriously now, what the fuck?” But for all the words he wrote, Yonlu’s most poignant statement remains “Waterfall.” A wordless melody sung over acoustic guitar, the tune soars with heartbreaking beauty like a lost Milton Nascimento demo, answering in one way the question “why is there suffering in the world?” (Luaka Bop 2009)

Yonlu MySpace


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