Da Cruz is one person, but also four. First, it is the encounter in 2005 between Mariana Da Cruz, a Brazilian singer from São Paulo, and Swiss beat-maker Ane Hebeisen, former vocalist with the industrial electro group Swamp Terrorists. Da Cruz sang MPB (Brazilian pop) and samba in a club in Lisbon, and Hebeisen was touring in Portugal. They have not left one another since then, and they have brought together their cultures and their musical baggage.
Joined soon afterwards in Berne by guitarist Olivier Husmann and former Swamp Terrorists drummer-percussionist Pit Lee, they form a highly productive quartet, with five albums already to their credit: Nova Estação (2007), Corpo Elétrico (2008), Sistema Subversiva (2011), Disco e Progresso (2014) and Eco do futuro (2017). Each album was recorded in their own studio and under their own label, apart from Sistema Subversiva, issued under the American indie label Six Degrees Records (The Dø, Bebel Gilberto, Céu).
Da Cruz’s musical influences are broad and encompass new wave, hip-hop, reggae and kuduro (Angolan electro) in festive cohabitation with bossa nova and urban music styles from Brazilian favelas and the slums of Lagos and Johannesburg. It all stands out from the traditional carnival clichés, with the sequins and feathers, to put forward a modern urban Brazil, revolting against injustice and inequality.
In its latest album, Eco do futuro, Da Cruz presents, in 14 songs, the testimony of a young black woman of modest origins who sees how her country is pillaged on a daily basis by old white men from the privileged class. The opening track, “País do Futuro” (Country of the future), takes up the expression of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig who saw the Brazil of the 1940s as a land of the future, but the country has since succumbed to the disappointments of an abortive economic miracle. “My Brazil, land of the future, but the present is still stuck behind,” Mariana Da Cruz sings to an Afro-beat rhythm.