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YONLU

Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and virtual artist Yonlu was born Vinicius Gageiro Marques, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil's Rio Grande du Sul, one of the nation's most populated cultural capitals. The son of a psychoanalyst and a political scientist who was the region's secretary of culture, Yonlu was an aesthetic polymath who was an obsessive photographer, spoke fluent French and English, and became a self-taught music critic who published on numerous websites across the Internet -- he always wrote in English -- choosing the online moniker Yonlu. An avid reader of Franz Kafka, with few flesh-and-blood friends, Yonlu made a life with his art and his reading, and communicated more in the virtual world than in the three-dimensional one. He was described by his mother as a "very serious, perhaps too serious" person; she also said that the way he perceived the world was his weakness.

At the age of 16, Yonlu locked himself into his bathroom, signed on to one of the various suicide forums he belonged to on the Internet, and took his own life via carbon monoxide poisoning, remaining online until the very end. He wrote an extensive note to his parents absolving them from any responsibility for his actions. After his death, his father went through his computer and found numerous musical creations, including the songs that make up his debut album on Luaka Bop. These songs had been shared across the Internet with Yonlu's friends and acquaintances. To his family's surprise, his submissions also contained much celebratory commentary from across Europe. It turned out that Yonlu had become, in his way, a very popular and much discussed virtual artist for his blend of bossa nova and D.I.Y. tropicalia sounds (his hero was Gilberto Gil) as well as his affinity for the music of Nick Drake, Badly Drawn Boy, Radiohead, early Tortoise, and Elliott Smith.

Yonlu's album, A Society in Which No Tear Is Shed Is Inconceivably Mediocre was issued by Luaka Bop as part of the launch of 2009's Three Inches of Music Series along with titles by Marcio Local and the Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt. Of the three, Yonlu's disc stands out for its utterly accessible lo-fi experimentalism, post-rock minimalism, and creative interpretation of the bossa nova, as well as the poetry in its lyrics and the authentic and tender melancholy emotions at the album's heart. As the Luaka Bop press sheet states: "It's the celebration of a life with the talent for a banquet that stopped at the appetizer." ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
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