ANA RITA SIMONKA
“My main inspiration for writing songs is the huge variety of musical traditions in Brasil: first you listen, then your heart reacts, and your hole body is captured by a myriad os sensations, and then emotions multiply to overflowing into bliss and rapture... my music, which goes from dancing to meditative, brings the hypnotic vibration of the New Age, transmitted by Brazilian drums, colors and carnivals; it's psychedelic, etheric and mysteriously deep ... someone who grows up in Brazil is fed by sounds all the time, so our music is the fruit of this gift from the gods that is our biodiversity ... our forests, mountains and deserted beaches show incomparable, infinite sounds: birds, insects, rustling leaves, streams, winds, and also the voices of the forest spirits that are everywhere... nature is our temple and also our main school of music: you have to open your sensibility at the most subtle and transcendental levels to understand what it tells us; my art streams from all these wonders to realize this Divine Union...” (Ana Rita Simonka)
Few artists are inspired to the point of creating a new genre: Brazilian-born vocalist and songwriter Ana Rita Simonka is one of these artists. Her music inaugurates a new style of Brazilian Jazz, having its main root in the music of Minas Gerais, his mother's land, where more than 300 years ago the Brazilian cultural identity emerged: it was when the Christian Chants of the Portuguese and Spanish Baroque Churches merged for the first time to the African drums and the local indigenous rattles and prayers. Through music the boundaries between people of such different backgrounds have been broken, thus creating a nation who are famous for their contagious joy, spontaneous fraternity, and powerful intuitive spirituality.
From the Christian Chants Ana Rita Simonka brings her love for the mantras and whispered voices in prayers, a path that led her to study Gregorian Chants, Classical Indian Vocals, Sufi Music and Medieval Iberian traditions, thus creating her own way of singing that is so unique bringing together the intimacy of Bossa Nova with the energy of New Age meditation. From African drums, she gets the ecstasy of the dance and the energy released in the Orixás rituals that makes the joy of the popular festivals, Cirandas, Congos, Maracatus and Sambas. The Brazilian Indians traditions gives her their healing techniques, the connection with the forces of nature and the style of Amazon Ayahuasca Hymns, which poetry brings spiritual teachings, wisdom and clairvoyance.
Ana Rita Simonka grew up surrounded by music and dance and since childhood she has been involved in the arts: her father is a renowned traditional dancer, the "Old Pietro", and for several years she worked teaching and performing Latin dances with her father. Her taste for dance took her a long way that introduced Yoga and Belly Dance into her life, arousing her interest in meditation through Art. Her father was the one who took her to study music with internationally renowned Brazilian names such as Maestro Benedito Costa, the renowned percussionist Papete, the Trio Mocotó artists who accompanied Jorge Benjor and the guitarist Carioca among many others. From this eclectic lineup, Ana Rita highlights the classic study of Choro Brasileiro and the harmonies of Bossa Nova that led her to develop her guitar style based on João Gilberto and Toninho Horta guitarist of Clube da Esquina. With all this background, she took the path of Brazilian Jazz as the basis for melodic and harmonic fusions.
Proficient in many instruments, Ana Rita Simonka plays Acoustic Guitar, Brazilian Viola, Indian Tampura, world Percussion, Keyboard and Synths; she produces her own music giving to her Art an incredible and organic fluidity. Her Albums feature surprises you've never heard before: Tibetan Bowls with Afro-Latin Percussion; Persian Santur with Cavaquinho, Ney Flute with Bombo Leguero, Zampona with Indian Sitar, Berimbau with Snujs, Tablas with Brazilian Viola, Derbaques with Djembê. Obsessive with experimentation and breaking boundaries, she transforms Brazilian music into visionary, contemporary music: her sound plunges listeners into a profound experience, a timeless journey of altered states of consciousness, healing and love. Independent producer, her debut Album “Bossa Nova Delhi” has been acclaimed worldwide with the track “More Children of Gandhi” in Putumayo-USA's special “Gardens of Eden” compilation; in this work she creates songs using the Ragas of India as melodies as well as incredible mergers of new rhythms. Next are the Albums “Mantra 1” and “Mantra 2”, thus establishing her unique style of Brazilian New Age. Her tracks soon hit international collections such as “Budha Lounge”, “Saara Lounge” and “Caras Zen”, as well as many soundtracks for TV shows, series and soap operas having the labels MCD, AZULMUSIC, LUAMUSIC and TRATORE as partners. In the last years she has been dedicated to the creation of long music for meditation and healing, launching the series “Yoga Dance”, “Dances of Fire, Wind, Clouds and Earth” and “Yoga Music Brasil” composing the first selection of Yoga Music dedicated to Brazilian traditions. She also produced the multimídia textbooks “Mantras and Chakras” and “Subtle Sounds”, among others.
Ana Rita pays special attention to the creation of lyrics: her mystical poetry speaks of the secrets of soul and life seeking a critical reflection on the sacred and the profane, the meaning of life and the path of awakening. She portrays the hero's journey with Brazilian regional nuances that point to the universal: the common man alongside yogis, shamans, mediums and healers; the mysteries of a deep and undiscovered Brazil that the esoteric defines as the cradle of the next spiritual race. In her art, spirituality is diluted in everyday life, any language can also be a sacred language as long as the message is love. Her main reference is the Brazilian writer Guimarães Rosa and the Portuguese Fernando Pessoa and Antonio Telmo, as well as her passion for the great mystical poets of humanity such as Rumi, Attar, Hakim Sanay, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Tagore and Dante Alighieri. Involved in the study of Greek and Vedic philosophy, it is not difficult to find in her works quotes from the Upanishads, the Vedanta, Plato, Plotinus, or even the Gospels, Thomas Aquinas or St. Francis of Assis. With Ana Rita Simonka, Brazilian music incorporates a new style of mystical singing, creating a tradition similar to Qawalli Sufi, Indian Kirtan and Bajan and Gurbani Sikh.
Ana Rita Simonka holds a Master of Science in Communication and Music from the University of São Paulo and also a Master of Yoga / FMU (Kayvalyadhama - India). She has been a disciple of the great Brazilian holistic healer Dr. Mário Baldani, and has studied with Sufi teacher Adnan Sharan (Sufi Foundation of America / NM) since 2009. She has pioneered teaching Mantra Yoga and Yoga Dance in Yoga Teacher Training Programs in Brazil leading workshops and retreats at holistic events all over Brazil for the last twenty years.
Unrelenting traveler and seeker Ana Rita Simonka currently lives in Portugal going the other way that her ancestors did more than two hundred years ago.