The EXIB 2016 opening act on May 6th was captivating Spanish vocalist and composer Lara Bello. Although she’s originally from Granada, Lara Bello is currently based in New York City. Lara’s concert at Praça do Giraldo in the Evora town center was one of the highlights of the day, delivering an entrancing mix of sounds of the Mediterranean: flamenco, North African, jazz and Latin America.
Lara Bello uses flamenco and jazz vocal stylings and was accompanied by two superb Spanish instrumentalists, guitarist David Minguillón and percussionist David Gadea.
Lara Bello’s discography includes Niña Pez (2009) and Primero Amarillo Después Malva (2012).
The second act, award-winning fado singer Jaqueline was one of the most popular acts that night. Her charismatic presence on stage and her passionate, powerful voice drew in a large crowd. Although we’ve been given an image of the melancholic fado singer, there was no melancholy there. Jaqueline delivered well-known songs that Portuguese members of the audience were very familiar with, and they sang along.
Jaqueline was accompanied by three virtuoso musicians, who got an opportunity to showcase their talent with an instrumental piece. The lineup included Paulo Ferreira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar), Jerónimo Mendes on Viola de Fado (fado guitar) and Miguel Silva on bass guitar.
Jaqueline Carvalho was born in Lisbon in a family of musicians and singers from Madeira and Lisbon. She was a member of “As Miudas Mem Martins”, a group of Portuguese fado artists who performed throughout Portugal and abroad. In 2009 Jaqueline released her first album, titled “Fado”.
Cuban multi-instrumentalist Mel Semé was the third act on stage. He was joined by guest vocalist and guitarist Iraqis del Valle. The concert showcased Mel Semé’s acoustic side featuring Cuban-rooted jazz and pop songs.
Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Mel Semé began his music career playing with the older musicians who performed a type of Latin gospel music. After graduating from Havana University of music and forming part of the Havana Symphony Orchestra and the Camagüey Symphony Orchestra he lived for a while in Switzerland where he taught courses in percussion and performance. He is currently based in Spain and is the leader of the reggae and funk group, Black Gandhi. Mel Semé latest album is “Naturaleza”.
The fourth official showcase act was Portuguese world music band Projeto Alma. The ensemble crosses various musical and geographical boundaries, featuring genres from the Iberian Peninsula such as fado from Portugal and flamenco tango from Spain as well as Afro-Brazilian bossa nova, Latin American boleros, Cape Verdean morna and Argentine tango.
“O Outro lado da Rua” (the other side of the street) is the band’s first album.
Projeto Alma’s members include Teresa Macedo on vocals; Júlio Vilela on guitar; Zeca Neves on bass; Vitor Apolo on accordion; and João Abreu on percussion.
The last act on stage was La Corrala from Granada, Spain. The group features musicians from various parts of Spain who are based in Granada and come from the reggae and mestizo music scene. Granada has become a really attractive and affordable location for musicians from Spain and abroad (sort of like Asheville in the USA). La Corrala plays flamenco combined with Latin music and reggae beats, jazz, Argentine tango, blues, bossa nova and pop featuring original lyrics by the band’s vocalist. They were one of the highlights of the night.
La Corrala has released an EP with studio and live tracks. Band members include Manuel Jesús Afanador Herrera on vocals; Juan María García Navia on piano, flute and background vocals; Eduardo Tomás del Ciotto on electric bass; Jesús Santiago Rubia on percussion; Juan Peralta Torrecilla on trumpet, flugelhorn and background vocals; and Rubens García Real on guitar.
The Passionate Music of Alentejo, the Focus of EXIB 2016 Opening Concert
Headline photo: Lara Bello, David Minguillón and David Gadea at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero