PREMIERE: Tim Bernardes & Rodrigo Amarante Join Forces on “Tao” Duet

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
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Tim Bernardes is ready to captivate audiences once again with his latest project. The singer, songwriter, and producer is premiering the performance video for “Tao,” a duet with fellow indie Brazilian musician Rodrigo Amarante, exclusively on Remezcla today (May 10).

“I met Rodrigo in 2019 when he and his band in Brazil, Los Hermanos, invited me to open a couple of shows in a crazy stadium tour they were doing,” Bernardes tells Remezcla via email. After spending time together between Sao Paulo and New York, the pair had talked about doing a session together. With the help of Bernardes’ friend, Andrei Moyssiadis, and his old tube camera, they captured the duet on video.

Amarante admitted that the process of choosing which songs to collaborate on was organic and instinctive. “We picked them on the spot. It was all very fluid, and frankly, not a set of super thought-out choices,” Amarante says. One of their choices was Amarante’s “Tao” from his latest LP Drama. “‘Tao’ is one of my favorite songs from Rodrigo on his last album, so it was a fast one to pick,” Bernardes adds.

Sung in Portuguese and English, the duet version of “Tao” has the pair harmonizing over acoustic guitars. The lyrics are abstract and explore their understanding of the Tao and the imagery the word evokes, likening it to the beauty of a smile. “I can’t tell you what these songs mean,” Amarante notes. “Translating a verse is just too perverse. You’re better off imagining it when you hear it.” Per Bernardes’ suggestion, the duo also cut a new rendition of “Leve” from his latest album Mil Coisas Invisíveis. Originally a piano song, the duet version of “Leve” was transformed into a spellbinding, acoustic sonnet.

Coming together to work on music was a joyful experience for the Brazilian singers. Despite their age difference, with Amarante being 15 years his senior, their connection was evident when they discovered a blend of similarities and differences in their creative processes. “We both revel in lyrical experimentations in songwriting,” Amarante shares. “We have a lot in common but still a lot to exchange with each other,” gushes Bernardes.

Bernardes kicked off his U.S. tour in Los Angeles, CA, last month in support of his album Mil Coisas Invisíveis, and is set to make his way across major cities stateside before performing a string of shows in Europe. He describes his solo shows as intimate and an homage to the tradition of Brazilian classical acoustic guitar. “These solo shows are very loose and open to have songs from my other solo album and some O Terno [his band] stuff,” he says. “[In] some of the cities, I’ll also play acoustic pianos when they have it. I see it almost as a session with an audience.” 

For fans eagerly awaiting the duo’s next move, Amarante thinks the prospects for more music are promising. “Our time together with those songs [was] bliss, and we do talk about our shared wish to find a new edge in songwriting, [to] try new ideas for what an album can be,” he says. “So we might be on our way to doing something like that together. I love Tim so I dearly hope that the time for that comes! We’ll see.”

Check out the premiere of the duet version of “Tao” below.