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What do you do with the sadness when you’re in a position to make others feel good? Where do you put it when you need to hide it?

Music and any other form of art might be a great escape, but that’s the tricky point: art usually demands you to be true to yourself and get in touch with your feelings. So how are you supposed to show up a smile when you’re doing exactly the one thing who forces you to remember how much you’re feeling down?

In “Lágrimas do palhaço” (“Tears of a clown”), Brazilian rapper Kamau uses the metaphor of a clown whose job is to make people laugh – reminding a classic Brazilian song by Antônio Marcos in which he sings “Ah! No palco da ilusão / Pintei meu coração / Entreguei o amor e o sonho sem saber / Que o palhaço pinta o rosto pra viver” (“In the stage of illusion / I’ve painted my heart / I gave my love and my dreams, without knowing / that a clown paints its face to live”).

The clown hides his pain behind bright colors and forced jokes, he cannot let his true feelings show. As a rapper, though, Kamau has the benefit of being able to tell his own stories, and he does it in a very witty way in this song.

“Lágrimas de um palhaço” has touching, honest lyrics that reveal how Kamau deals with the duality of the life of an artist.

Artists have to find balance between pain and mirth, and the only way to do it without looking fake is to explore what these both feelings have in common: they’re both born when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, when you let yourself feel, and you let things get to you, instead of protecting yourself from them.

I love it when he says: “Se perguntarem se eu tô bem, tô bem! / Procurando o meu Nirvana como o Kurt Cobain” (“If they ask me if I’m ok, I’m ok! / I’m searching for my nirvana like Kurt Cobain”), that’s a true effort to alchemize pain into healing.

The beautiful chorus sung by Brazilian young jewel Tulipa Ruiz is also a great moment of the song, especially when she mentions something (or someone) that might come in happy or sad times (“na alegria ou na tristeza”), that might be a friend or a foe (“amiga e traiçoeira”). Isn’t that the nature of passion? It has the power to arouse the best and the worse in us. It will depend on what we decide to do with it.

You can learn more about Kamau here:

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About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro 

Ana Clara Ribeiro - Musicto Curator

Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.

As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.

Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.