Artist Profiles: Bau

Bau

Rufino Almeida, better known as Bau, was born in 1962 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. Bau is a well known artist in Cape Verde’s music scene. He comes from the island of Sao Vicente, as are many of the archipelago’s best knoen singers, Cesaria Evora, Bana, Titina, Tito Paris, and composers B. Leza, Manuel de Novas, Frank Cavaquim, Goy and Vasco Martins. Even though his real name is Rufino lAmeida, he was given the name ‘Bau’ after a famous Cape Verdean soccer player. Bau’s father is a string instrument maker in Mindelo, a town which was at one time called Little Brazil.

For his seventh birthday, Bau’s father gave him a cavaquinho, a small four-string guitar from Portugal; the ancestor of the a ukulele, which is also used in Brazil and Cape Verde as a rhythm guitar. He later taught his son how to make and then play instruments such as the guitar, cavaquinho, and violin. Bau is an extraordinary guitarist, songwriter, arranger and bandleader.

Whether he is playing morna, coladera, or choro (a Brazilian musical genre born in the early 20th century, performed by artists ranging from Villa Lobos to Chico Buarque), Bau’s musical influences come through. His mentor is Brazilian cavaquinho virtuoso: Waldir Azevedobut. He also admires Al Di Meola’s Latin jazz sounds and Stephane Grapelli’s style of playing the violin. Beyond these influences, Bau plays instinctively and has an unequaled charm, pertaining to Cape Verdian musicians, which makes their music at the same time syncopated, vigorous, nostalgic and intimate.

Inspiração which translates Inspiration, is an instrumental album reflecting Bau’s incredible talent of arranger and producer. Playing the 12 string guitar, cavaquinho and violin he has become a virtuoso of these stringed instruments. The album’s title is an indication of the musical genres Bau has been exposed to: mazurka, bayaon, fox-trot, contradanca – all the various styles which influenced the musical live of his hometown Sao Vicente are a source of inspiration for Bau. He inherited them from the generations past and now passes them on to the next. Bau was the leader of the band backing Cesaria Evora in her long tours around the world. He was also involved in the arrangements and production of Cesaria’s Cabo Verde and Café Atlántico albums.

On Inspiração, Bau expanded his musical horizon by incorporating Caribbean influences, Angola samba, the impulse of Gypsy rumba and even a tribute to Chopin.

Discography:

Tôp d’Coroa (Lusafrica, 1994)
Jailza (Lusafrica, 1995)
Inspiração (Lusafrica, 1998)
Blimundo (Lusafrica, 2000)
Silencio (Lusafrica, 2003)
Ilha Azul (Lusafrica, 2006)
Café Musique (Lusafrica, 2010)
Plays Vasco Martins (Lusafrica, 2012)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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