Bodhigita, how did you come to music?
I started to learn music when I was seventeen years old, a bit of guitar. And when you start to learn the guitar, it’s natural that you also sing because it’s essentially a harmonic instrument. Then I met a guy who became my first husband and he is an excellent musician, amazing. He is a guitar player and my teacher. I learned a lot from him – all the Bossanova stuff. I am really grateful to him, and I still learn from him. He created a music school in my city, Bahiaa; and this is big work because in Brazil you have this colonial mentality, like in India. The majority of music schools in Brazil are teaching classical music, which means music from Europe. And our own music which is so rich, they don’t teach in the schools. You have to learn it on the streets! He got together with two other musicians and they made this school to teach Brazilian music. This was a big thing in Bahiaa, everybody started going there. I was studying there, and teaching guitar and music theory, as well as learning from them, because the best musicians were there.
And then I started to play more professionally, to sing and do recordings. For a long time I was working in studios, doing backing vocal for many different bands. People got to know me, and then I started to work in different styles of music.
When did you discover Osho?
I was singing in the Carnival which goes on for one week in my city. It is a big thing; it’s the biggest carnival in Brazil. And we work fifteen hours non stop on the streets singing! You are singing and singing, and then you arrive home in the morning only to then go back out again and sing! You go for a whole week like this – it’s really tough. Every time after the Carnival was finished my voice was gone; because you sing and make the energy for a million people. Usually two-three days after the Carnival, the voice came back. But this time the voice did not come back – one week, two weeks…. And then I was going mad because this was my treasure. After one month I went to the doctor and he said I have to do surgery because I have a knot in my voice chord. I was really scared. I started to look for a different way, a more natural way of treatment. Then I met a sannyasin who was working with ‘Pulsation’, one of the processes that were created here, around Osho. After one month the knot disappeared; I didn’t have to do anything really, it was completely okay. I did Pulsation which is a lot of breathing, and it released so much in me that was contracting my breathing, and contracting my body. I started to know more about Osho through his sannyasins who were working there. I also took sannyas there, in my city. And so when I came here, I was already Bodhigita – it’s my sannyas name. It means ‘song of enlightenment’, and it has everything to do with my life. It’s connected with awareness and it really is my way; because music has been in my life since I was born. It’s very strong – I feel more alive, full of energy, more open, more flowing when I’m playing and singing. I feel it has everything to do with me.
Tell us about your journey to India?
I came to India for the first time at Carnival time. It was the first year I didn’t work in the Carnival; which for many musicians in Brazil is the time that you make good money, and then to be able to relax for a while after. That is the time I came here, I didn’t work and it felt so good – it was so beautiful. When I went back to Brazil, I could not be there anymore because my body went to Brazil,and everything else was here, in India. So I started to come every year. The nice thing is that India became a place where I play, just for fun, to meet friends, musicians from everywhere.
I love music, and I feel that music has no borders, no nationalities. But each culture has its specific way of expression. I’m Brazilian, I feel blessed that I was born there, I was listening to Bossanova as a kid., all this kind of music is in my body. its offbeat, which for some foreigners is so difficult, but for us its just in the body, we move in this. For me its one of the richest expressions in music, in all senses, Brazil is a big mixture of people from Europe, America Africa, and Japan! So it’s really rich, rhythmically and harmonically too. If you search for good music in Brazil, you are gonna find really sophisticated harmonies, and rhythms and melodies there.
Do you play your own songs?
I play my own music. I started to compose after some time. And this is also connected with my meeting with Osho because it started to open up my creativity and I start to become more aware of what was blocking me and holding me back. When this awareness started to open, and the creativity was flowing more, I started to compose. But I play a lot of Brazilian music because Brazil has so many really good composers, Masters in music. Ah, João Gilberto is the master for all the musicians in Brazil and he is amazing. He’s a genius, and he’s still alive. So people are drinking from the source. He’s around 73, playing and singing, better and better. Jobim was also another big name in Bossanova in Brazil. These two guys are the main. Of courses there are many other very talented musicians in this movement.
Are there any other influences in your life?
Osho for me is the biggest happening in my life, changed my life completely and it still goes on. It’s endless. Of course, through this meeting, I also understood that each and every meeting in life is so important. I remember he was saying once about this, that everybody is a Master, that each and every person you meet and each situation teaches you.
To make music also opens the heart. The more you make, the more the heart opens. Everything you do with the heart has this quality. I feel that once you go from this space with totality, with your truth, it’s there! Zakir Hussain! I am crazy about him! It’s amazing because there is nobody there. When he is playing, the tabla and he are one, there is no Zakir, Mmmm… He was playing almost two hours non-stop and people could not take their eyes off him. Everybody was silent… when music comes from this space you can really touch people. If music comes from the head or the ego where it needs recognition, then it’s boring.
You always rock the party. What is your secret?
When we were playing in the ashram, we played a lot for Celebration, to create energy. It’s so much fun, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, if you play the wrong rhythm, the wrong note… if you are playing your truth, it will be fun, for you and for others. You know this Oshoba thing that they would do in the ashram, which is based on the samba. Nivedano was doing this here. Many people told me that Osho said that this is the music that he wanted. I was not here then, but I could understand. Brazilian music is something which is really energetic. It lifts the energy. Wherever you are, and you
play, Boom! It happens, It’s magic, it’s so magic! The energy goes up, it’s really strong. Wherever we go, and we play this music, people start to dance and enjoy. It’s the quality of the music.
Once I met a very good musician in Denmark, I was recording with him, he said this music will be famous all over the world and it became. He became rich; he made all the plans before. And he was telling me, Bodhigita, you have become too serious. When you are identified with the title of musician, then you have all these ideas about what it is, then it becomes such a tight closed dress, that you cannot move. He was telling me this, many years ago, that you’ve become so serious, just be like a kid, play, enjoy and have fun. And I am experiencing this, when I have fun, everybody has fun too. I think this is the key from what you were asking me. We are all kids, na ? we just became a little bit more rigid…But if we allow the music to enter us, it comes back. Music has such a power. Its therapy, its celebration, its everything. It’s a vehicle which penetrates each and everyone easily. I think we are all blessed to have this strong connection with music.
How is it for you being a strong woman, a sannyasin, artist, now having a daughter…how has the whole experience been?
Mmmmm… its such a magic thing I never thought that I would become a mother in this life. And when she came there was such a big ’Yes’ inside of me, and life changed completely, completely! Its so rich, I feel so blessed with this companion in my life, I’m really super grateful. When I came to India, I didn’t know I was pregnant, so the first 5-6 months I was here, and I went to Dharamsala and then I went to Italy. We traveled the whole country during the summertime with a big belly. Then she was born in the north of Italy. When she was one month old, we went to Brazil, to Bahiaa, and to Sao Paulo, and now we are back in India. She is the best companion I can imagine, if My mood goes upside down, she is always pumping me up. It’s so good, really good! And now I respect more and more the women who become mamas, mothers. Because its got everything to do with unconditional love, you devote your life to this. Children take all the space, with them, there are no borders in between. It is intense the connection with the mother, at least in the beginning, it’s intense! And sometimes its not easy. And also because their existence checks you all the time. in all the senses you can imagine. But it’s so good, I am happy.
Your other passion is Ayurvedic massage ?
Yes….. When I had this problem with my voice, I was doing treatment with Ayurvedic Massage and it changed completely my body. And then it entered my life with such power, that it became my life. So it was not something I planned. I studied psychology, I’m a psychologist. And I never thought I would work with massage in my life. But it came. Life is like this, in Brazil I do body therapy which I learned here. And this is also something I love very much as a work. I am completely devoted to it – Ayurvedic Yoga Massage. This is my main work there…. laughs…
Do you combine music with massage?
You know, I don’t do this as a regular way. But I tried something which was really strong. To do the work and to sing at the same time. It was not something I was planning. It came. You know when you are working and something comes and I was just letting it pass through. There is such a strong connection when you are working with the others body, two universes are becoming One, so many things are coming up, it was so good , for me, and for the other person. I should explore this more, because both are very powerful – music is a healing.
In my sessions there is always music, and a lot of Indian music.
Interveiw by Thaisa, Faiza and Kamakshi