Lovely and talented Dom La Nena is a cellist, singer, songwriter with a new album on Six Degrees Records
Interview by Alex Baker
Even a novelist would be hardpressed to devise as exotic a background for a singer as that of Dom La Nena. Born in Brazil as Dominique Pinto, she studied cello in Buenos Aires, where she earned the nickname “La Nena,” before launching her musical career in France; where she toured with the legendary Jane Birkin.
In 2009 Dom La Nena embarked on a solo career and assembled a talented group of musicians to record with. Her efforts eventually led to a record deal with Six Degrees. GSTV recently caught up with the 24-year-old rising star of the world music scene while she was in the Los Angeles promoting her new album Ela.
What brings you to to the States this time?
Well, I’m here on my first promo tour for my album, Ela. I was just in Los Angeles to perform on Morning Becomes Eclectic for KCRW and then in San Francisco for some interviews and sessions. Now I’m in New York doing sessions and tomorrow will be performing on Studio 360! It has been a very new and exciting experience for me.
Is this your first time playing in the States? How have you been received by audiences?
I’m actually not playing any shows this time around, but I’ve played in the states before with Jane Birkin. About two years ago I played solo in New York for the first time, but I will be returning to the US in June to do a proper tour for this album.
That was one of your first professional gigs, touring with Jane Birkin. How was that experience? Did you learn a lot from a seasoned pro like Birkin?
I learned a lot from her, definitely. It was very interesting to be on stage with her and to see how she performs. It was the first experience I had with popular music, so it opened this door for me into that world. Previously I had only played in the classical world.
The cello is not usually a pop instrument. What sort of influences led you to arriving at the sound on your debut record Ela?
Well, it’s my first instrument so it was natural for me to be on the stage with it and accompany myself with the cello. When I thought about composing the songs I didn’t think it was possible to do it with only the cello, but when I stated writing I realized it was. I began to create loops and layers with only the cello, and arrived at a really layered sound and my own little orchestra.
Your husband is a director and does your videos. Whats it like to work with him?
It’s great! We can film so many intimate situations, like for “anjo Gabriel” he filmed a lot of me sleeping! He is so talented and has a very musical scope. He works with a lot of musicians, so be has a very musical ear and vision when making videos.
You’re from Brazil but have lived in Argentina and Paris. Where do you feel most at home?
Well, now my home is Paris and its the city where I’ve lived a larger part of my life. Today I can say Paris is my home, but my family home is in Brazil. Going back there to see my family also feels like home. So I think the right answer is the ocean between the two!
I read an interview where you referred to your cello as “him.” Do you feel your cello is male? Does “he” have a name?
Haha, I call my cello Leon but I don’t really think of it as male or female.
What do you have lined up for the rest of the year so far?
I’ll be touring a lot in France and Brazil and will be coming to the US and Canada as we’ll. I think the year will be divided by North America, Europe and Brazil.
Thanks for talking to us.
Watch the above video for “No Meus Pais,” directed by Dom La Nena’s husband, Jeremiah.
For more information or to download Ela, visit domlanena.com.