Singer Lilla D'Mone strikes a pose at The Steel Bridge on the Willamette River in Portland. - Photo by

Lilla D'Mone and the Brazilian Lions

Lilla D'Mone and the members of her band, the Brazilian Lions, met a little more than seven months ago at a dance club in Southeast Portland called Andrea's Cha Cha Club.

"I sat in to sing with them and we discovered a spontaneous chemistry," D'Mone says. "We began jamming around Portland together. The biggest obstacle was that the guys are based in Eugene."

Born and raised in Portland, D'Mone (whose first name is pronounced "Lila") has been a singer all of her life. She taught herself to play piano at age 6, and by age 12 was a member of a gospel choir. She became serious about singing professionally about seven years ago and has been performing with various lineups of musicians for three years.

D'Mone also learned about promotion and marketing, forming her own Karisma Music/Production company.

"After some things I've been through with other musicians, I discovered that the drive to Eugene wasn't that bad," D'Mone says.

The Brazilian Lions are Maurico Nassar on drums ("everything from percussion to congas" D'Mone says), along with his brother Marcello Nassar on bass and Fernando Bispo on keys. D'Mone also plays guitar and piano.

"Singing is my main thing, though," she says.

D'Mone's vocals are at the forefront of her self-produced 2008 album, "Music Trance."

"It's original soul music with a Brazilian flavor," D'Mone says. "And it's got some funk and hip hop."

The album features D'Mone's successful single, "Forever and a Day," and "Music Feat," a song with New York emcee and alternative hip hop rapper Talib Kweli.

The Oregonian called the album "a languid, sultry and vibrant new soul mix that is instantly accessible, yet shows a remarkable depth and musical maturity."

Since the album's release, D'Mone and her Brazilian Lions have performed at top concert halls, clubs and festivals around the country.

They opened for Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All-Stars at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. Other Rose City shows were at Jimmy Maks in the Pearl District, the Roseland Theater and the Waterfront Blues Festival. Shows in Eugene include opening for Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Cuthbert Amphitheater and Anthony B at the WOW Hall.

D'Mone and her Lions also played at the 2008 Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2007 and others.

Their live performances have taken D'Mone and the Lions to Jamaica, China and other spots on the globe.

"We did a show at The Mint in Los Angeles on Monday," D'Mone says. "And I sang the national anthem at a Lakers' game on Tuesday. My Brazilian guys were thrilled to see the game, unfortunately they lost to the 76ers."

D'Mone and the Lions are working on their second album. They recorded material while in Jamaica and China and were busy recording in L.A. the middle of this week.

"I've learned a lot since the first album," D'Mone says. "It was about the power of music. The new one will hold concepts that go toward the unity of our cultures, taking care of our planet. And it will be more jazz and gospel influenced."

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