the indescribable intimacy of liniker’s new video

June 20, 2019
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There is an indestructible truth at the heart of Liniker Barros’ new video and song, “Intimidade” (“Intimacy”), the second single from the latest album with her band, Liniker e os Caramelows, Goela Abaixo. It is a truth of everlasting love, of a quiet and boundless openness, of a comfort beyond words — and of an ineffable sadness known as saudade locally, a feeling that Brazilians have been masterfully placing into bossa nova since inventing that indescribably emotional music 60 years ago.    

In the clips, beautifully shot by director Sabrina Duarte high above a sleeping, dusk-lit Sao Paulo, at an apartment inside Edificio Copan, the famed Oscar Niemeyer-designed landmark, Liniker, a singing superstar who is one of the Brazil’s most famous Black trans women, and her lover, played by the actress/singer/rapper and activist Linn da Quebrada, share a series of moments that give the song its title.

Liniker’s divinely tangential delivery, almost spoken and breathy, mix with the sensual lyrics to describe a kind of skin-level affection that is actually deeper than words, while also hinting at a sexuality that’s central to the best love affairs. The couple is sharing a moment before soon being apart once more. But as “Intimidade” is also a soft Brazilian bossa, torchy and still — the only sounds on the track are an acoustic guitar accompanying Liniker’s voice and piano — there is a layer of melancholy present. The sadness and longing always on the doorstep of a current happiness. It’s the kind of song that dares you not to feel.