Buika in interview - Aviva - Berlin Online Magazin und Informationsportal für Frauen aviva-berlin.de Interviews

AVIVA-BERLIN.de im April 2024 - Beitrag vom 21.03.2015

Buika in interview
Sharon Adler, Shlomit Lehavi

AVIVA met the outstanding and fascinating artist one day before her concert in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in March 2015, where she talked with us about the strenghts of women, her...

... difficult childhood, the power of music, (her) monsters and how to deal with them.

Buika, María Concepción Balboa Buika, ("La noche más larga", "El Último Trago") will soon release her second book of poetry ("A los que amaron a mujeres difíciles y acabaron por soltarse" – "To those who love difficult women and end up letting go") and is working on the soundtrack of her first movie, based on a poem from her book. The title: "From Loneliness to Hell".

AVIVA-Berlin: Let me tell you about how I got to know your music. I was sitting in a café in NY many years ago, and I heard this amazing music, but was too shy to ask who it is. Thanks to the new technology - I put Shazam...
(all laughing)
Then I´ve seen you last year in New York, Town Hall, and it was a total knockout, an amazing show. It was very unique. Very personal and intimate as if you are among your family.

Buika: I always feel that we all know each other, first because we are all hiding the same secrets. And it doesn´t matter from which country you are or what language you speak, people are crying and laughing in the same places, they know exactly what I am talking about in my songs.

AVIVA-Berlin: How does it feel for you to be on stage, and what is the biggest difference from recording in the studio?

Buika: I feel that art is like fire (bonfire) and people are like brother and sister, sitting around the fire together in order to not feel the fear, and for me - art is exactly like this- this is why we go to see art and shows, so we all sit together around the fire, we are always around family. During a performance what happens is that all the barriers we build all disappear, and we are all united by the music.

AVIVA-Berlin: It definitely feels that way in your performance!

Buika: Well, I´ll tell you why, because the person who sits in front of you and behind you, you all have the same secrets, and I have the same secrets, the only difference is that I am singing my secrets, and then there are no secrets anymore. This way you also discover that you are not the only one, you feel relieved. This is magic.

AVIVA-Berlin: Your parents are political exiles from Equatorial Guinea and you grew up being the only black kid in Mallorca and spent a lot of time with the local Gypsies. With them you felt connected and you identified with their solitude. Here you also absorbed their passion for flamenco and the tradition of "cante jondo," or "deep singing."

Buika: I had a difficult time growing up, living on a small island, with a small family, (actually not that small, I was the fourth of six brothers and sisters). At that time we were the only black family in the neighborhood, and practically in the whole area. So it was kind of lonesome. We also didn´t have any role model to follow, like people on TV or people in the community, or any politician - not anyone that helped us understand. It was quite difficult.
In school and on the streets I was the center of attention because I was the only black person, and I wasn´t getting the attention for being heard but for being judged. I am not complaining, because I am talking about realities, and reality is not something for you to complain, it is something for you to understand, go through, and move on!
I was feeling that I was all the time being investigated, I had to be better than the best ones, more silent than the most silent ones, in short I had to be more than everyone... it was quite difficult.

AVIVA-Berlin: Your mother loved to listen to Dino Ramos, you perform the song LA NAVE DEL OLVIDO. Please tell us about the moment when you found out that music is the thing you want to do in life. When was the first time you ever performed in front of an audience? When did it change from something you love to something you do?

Buika: Well, I had this constant idea that I was an idiot, or that I wasn´t smart enough, that I wasn´t like the people from my entourage, because I always heard: "you are an idiot" and I really did feel that I was an idiot. Every time I had to do a test or when we as teenagers were looking for summer jobs, I didn´t even try, because I thought that I was an idiot. That´s what I´ve been told.
The same people who gave me food, also told me that. We really need to take care of what we tell our children. ´You are acting like an idiot´ to a child sounds like ´you are an idiot´.
So it wasn´t easy for me. People from my entourage didn´t believe in me. I didn´t believe in me.
The first applause was the ´boom!´ because nobody applauses to the idiot.

AVIVA-Berlin: How old were you? What was the cause of this applause?

Buika: I was about 15 years old. One of my aunts asked my mom if one of her daughters can sing, since my auntie felt she´s already a lady and didn´t want to sing in clubs anymore. But friends of hers needed a singer. And I was shy, I played the drums but didn´t think I can sing. So my Auntie said: ´Okay, if you go to sing I will give you 10,000 pesetas. So my answer was "WOWWWWW, okay!!"
I was trying to improvise, something like invented English, except it was all a live concert. I was singing on stage, and people applauded me!!! Man! They created a monster.. (laughs)

AVIVA-Berlin: You began your career as a drummer and bassist, turning to singing because "in Spain nobody wanted a female drummer, and you got tired of hearing No, No, No". WHAT is so absurd in female drummers?

Buika: Yes, at that time it wasn´t considered cool for women to play drums. They would ask me if I would come with a mini skirt to play. Or just tell me "we are looking for a man", and I would say, no, you are looking for a drummer, then they would say, that women are too weak to play...
At that time in the States there were female drummers like Sheila E. I was so angry, they didn´t let me play drums in Mallorca. I gave up.

AVIVA-Berlin: And don´t you have the itch in your fingers to play drums, now?

Buika: I do play drums. With my voice. Drumming is a concept, you can drum everywhere.. you can drum on a table. On your body. To drum is freedom.

AVIVA-Berlin: Apropos freedom - you are a very strong person! You are fighting for your place, as you say, you put your secrets on the table, you make them non-secrets. I wonder if the fame and success makes you more conscious about what you let yourself put on the table or you still keep the freedom in you to express everything you want, regardless of how much attention it attracts now that you are in the limelight.

Buika: That is complicated. It depends on the artist, but I understand that I am here for a reason not because of a wish or a desire. I understand that the information that we give every night on stage or through our albums, is that big, than we don´t even know, because that´s information that connects with your secrets and wounds without you even knowing that. So I think it is a very important mission, especially today that the world seems to be much more aggressive.
Mami, I am a good soldier. That is the pact that I did with my God. That first night when I heard my first applause. No secrets. No secrets, because you don´t know what it is you´re saying when you are on stage.. and you don´t know the people who are listening to you.. you just know that you have to do it.
There must be a reason why this amount of people want to be together in a tiny small space, knowing that are probably not agreeing with each other on many many things, and they get together to do something magic in this one night. There must be a reason, and the reason is not ´you´. It has to be something that you do, or that comes through you that achieve this miracle, and you are part of it. You are tribe. But I will never know what it is, I will only know that I have to keep doing it because I am on a mission. I have to do my job. It´s not a choice. I just know that I need to be the best in what I do, for a loyalty, to all of us.

It´s a commitment, especially now, because we are the real politicians. We are the ones who do the real job. We need to be honest, we need to fight.

If I had to sing in Hebrew, in Arabic, in Chinese, I would, because I need to prove to the people, that we are all equal. Maybe we are not the same, but we are equal. When a girl cries in Russia it´s the same tears as in Mexico.

AVIVA-Berlin: Please tell us about working together with your son, now 16, and how you teach him to be respectful and supportive towards women? And how is it to work together with him?

Buika: He was always helping me. I was on stage until I was eight months pregnant doing my Tina Turner impersonator, my Supreme impersonator, going crazy on stage, people were having so much fun, when they saw a pregnant Tina Turner... singing "Rolling down the River"!
He was born and raised by my mama, my sisters, and my aunts.
In my family most of the men disappeared. For one or other reason, for the past 20 years. I am talking about husbands and boyfriends... animals of that species (laughing). We are a family of women. There are a lot of men in it, but women are the one who take control and move things. So it´s a really peaceful ambient and everybody has a good relationship. It was just the circumstances, my papa left, some of my uncles disappeared, my sister´s husband disappeared, my sister´s boyfriend disappeared, mine also disappeared.. (laughing)

Men and money come and go, but as soon as you have a sister near you and you are economically independent, and your family is okay, your mama is okay, your siblings are more or less okay, and your kids are okay, then it´s okay!

I know that what I am going to say is gonna curse me, but I don´t believe in weakness in women. I mean, women are doing UNBELIEVABLE things in this life. Unbelievable that you can´t imagine!!
My mama graduated university being 72 years old, and you have to see her picture - so proud!
That doesn´t mean that women are not vulnerable but they are unbelievably strong. I believe women have an enormous capacity to survive and to recover.
I just ask God that if he ´drives me´ to this life again, to be born as a woman again. I don´t care about the race and shape, I just want to be born as a woman again.

Read more about Buika at AVIVA-Berlin:

Buika - La noche más larga

Buika - El Último Trago

More info on Buika:




Copyright Fotos von Buika: Sharon Adler


Beitrag vom 21.03.2015