Music Interviews
5:36 am
Sun February 24, 2013

With A Passion For Her Cello, Dom La Nena Debuts Her Vocals

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 7:15 am

When she was just 13, Dom La Nena left her home in Brazil for Argentina to study the cello. La Nena, whose real name is Dominique Pinto, has devoted her life to mastering that one instrument.

In fact, part of the artist's name, la nena, which means girl in South American Spanish dialects, reflects the fact that she moved to Argentina at a young age.

"My family and my friends and everyone called me La Nena because I was always the little one, because I went there very young to study cello," Pinto tells NPR. "I was always with people older than me."

La Nena began studying music at the age of 4, first on the piano. Just a couple of years later, she knew she wanted to play the cello. She says that by the age of 10, when she was living with her family in Paris, her desire to play the cello was cemented, yet a year later her family returned to Brazil. There, she says, she did not find a school to study the cello, so she decided to move to Argentina.

"I [made] a very big sacrifice because I went to Argentina ... without my family," Pinto says. "So, it's a very, very intense relationship with my cello because I have sacrificed many things for him but I don't have regrets."

On her recently released debut album Ela, her cello shares the spotlight with her own voice, as well as piano and guitars.

The end result is a sound that is both gentle and haunting. Listen to a selection of her music and La Nena's story in her own words by clicking the audio link at the top of this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When she was just 13 years old, Dom La Nena left her home in Brazil for Argentina to study the cello. La Nena has devoted her life to mastering that one instrument. But on her debut album "Ela," just recently released, La Nena adds her own voice, piano and guitars. The end result is a sound that is both gentle and haunting.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

DOM LA NENA: (Singing in foreign language)

My music has a lot of childhood nostalgia and it's very inspired by this time of my life, so I think there is this innocence from the lullabies.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

NENA: (Singing in foreign language)

When I was 10 years old, that was when I really realized that I wanted to be a cellist.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NENA: I went to Argentina when I was 13 years old to study but without my family. So it's very, yeah, very intense relationship with my cello because I have such sacrificed many things for him but I don't have regrets. It's a very romantic...

(LAUGHTER)

NENA: ...relationship.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

NENA: (Singing in foreign language)

Yeah, I sing in Portuguese. But there is a song called "Buenos Aires" that I sing in Spanish.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "BUENOS AIRES")

NENA: (Singing in foreign language)

I am Dom La Nena and my first album, it's "Ela." And I hope you feel a little more in the world and not in your country or not in your house, but everywhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

NENA: (Singing in foreign language)

MARTIN: You can hear more from Dom La Nena at nprmusic.org.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

NENA: (Singing in foreign language) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.