Tag Archives: Brazilian music

Artist Profiles: Dona Onete

Dona Onete – Photo by Adriano Fagundes

Dona Onete was born on June 18, 1939 in Cachoeira do Ararí, located in the delta of the Amazon River, across from Belém. She grew up further down the river, in Igarapé Miri, 100km away from Belém, where she regularly attended local dances of carimbó, siriá and banguê. She explains she only started to sing suitably at the age of 11. “I used to spend the whole day on the river banks, washing clothes. One day, I saw a dolphin and thought that I should sing for him. The next day I sang again, and another came, and another, and soon a whole family of dolphins came to listen!”

By the age of fifteen, she was singing samba, quadrilhas, boi bumba and other northeastern Brazilian genres in the bars of her hometown. “One of my biggest musical influences are Marajoara, local cowboys who improvise songs. They turn common phrases into beautiful poetry and whenever I write a song, I remember them”.

She became a Professor of History and Amazonian Studies in Igaparé Miri and passionately researched the rhythms, dances and traditions of the indigenous and black people of the area. This led her to form several music and dance groups, which regenerated traditional customs, and that eventually saw her elected as the Municipal Secretary of Culture of Igaparé-Miri. “I helped local musicians and local culture that people didn’t value. I have the chance to help Amazonian communities through my music so I cannot just sing and close my eyes to the people’s plight.”

Dona Onete – Photo by Adriano Fagundes

Absorbing multiple genres and rhythms, Dona Onete also began to compose, creating the hybrid genre for which she would later become famous, the carimbó chamegado.

Carimbó is a rhythm and dance from Pará, influenced by both African and European traditions. However, Onete has her own vision of the genre – carimbó chamegado: “I took lundum and carimbó, two wonderful genres, and mixed them with the rhythm of the songs from the slaves to create carimbó chamegado. It’s slower and more sensual than carimbó,” she adds. She composed throughout her career over 300 songs, but it was not until she retired that her musical career took off, and even then, it was only by accident.

She and her second husband moved to the quiet area of Pedreira in Belém, with the intention of relaxing the rest of their days, singing as she always had done, for her own pleasure. A local band heard her singing though and she claims, “thought I was a young woman, because my songs are pretty cheeky. But when they caught sight of me they were shocked to see a lady of my age!”

Dona Onete – Photo by Adriano Fagundes

Her age and spicy sense of humor was undeniably part of the charm for this band who invited her to sing with them. Believing herself to be past her prime, Dona Onete initially rejected the offer but she agreed eventually and before long, she had become something of a cult figure in Belém. “Sometimes, when you think you’ve given all you’ve got, you realize that, in fact, you have a lot more ahead of you,” she stated.

She recorded her debut album Feitiço Caboclo aged 73 and an international release from Mais Um Discos in 2014 saw critics fall immediately for this high-spirited, saucy and sexy septuagenarian. Dona Onete received invitations to perform at high profile world music festivals and venues: WOMAD UK, Paris’s Cabaret Sauvage, and Portugal’s FMM Sines in 2015.

On Banzeiro, Onete proved that age is nothing but a number as she increased the tempo with tracks such as the banguê that is the title track plus the lively carimbó ‘Faceira’, among others. Banzeiro is the wave created by boats as they pass through the river.

After Banzeiro, Onete’s reputation has blossomed in Brazil. She performs throughout the country to mostly young audiences. She composed and sung the theme song for one of Brazil’s leading soap operas (A Força do Querer) and was awarded the Brazilian Ordem do Mérito Cultural in recognition for her contribution to Brazilian culture. She also plays benefit shows for endangered Amazonian tribes.

In 2019 she released Rebujo an album that features styles born in Belém: carimbós and bangues, as well as cumbia, romantic brega and samba. The album includes numerous Amazonian allusions: the piranha (Festa do Tubarão), mango-scented ticks (Vem Chamegar), biting tucandeira ants (Balanço do Açaí), African deities such as Borocô (Tambor do Norte) and banho de cheiro: an herbal bath used to ward off evil spirits (Mistura Pai D’Égua).

The title Rebujo is the name for the turbulence in a river created as currents pass through. The rebujo raises silt and detritus from the riverbed giving the Amazon its muddy color – and making the waters unsafe for swimmers.

Dona Onete produced Rebujo with long-time collaborator Pio Lobato (guitar) and also includes Breno Oliveira on bass, Marcos Sarrazin on saxophone, Vovô Batera on drums, and JP Cavalcante on percussion.

Dona Onete has gone from playing small bars in her hometown to thousand capacity shows across Brazil and some of Europe’s most respected festivals. “My energy comes from the river,” she says. “It’s like blood rushing through my veins, there’s no stopping it – or me

Discography:

Feitiço Caboclo (Na Music, 2012)
Banzeiro ( Mais Um Discos/Na Music, 2017)
Rebujo (Mais Um Discos, 2019)

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Ricardo Peixoto’s Remarkably Expressive Brazilian guitar

Ricardo Peixoto – Scary Beautiful (Ricardo Peixoto, 2019)

Brazilian guitarist and composer Ricardo Peixoto collaborates with American and Brazilian jazz and classical musicians Scary Beautiful. Although a lot of the Brazilian jazz made in the United States is smooth bossa nova, Peixoto’s music goes in a totally different direction, incorporating various other Brazilian rhythms and tonalities.

Scary Beautiful is masterfully arranged and features stellar performances by Peixoto, flutist Bob Afifi, pianist Marco Silva and a robust rhythm section.

Ricardo Peixoto Peixoto’s compositions include ensemble pieces with fascinating guitar and flute interplay, rich string and brass ensemble orchestrations and an exquisite piano and guitar duet.

The lineup includes Ricardo Peixoto on guitars; Paul McCandless on soprano saxophone; Ken Cook on piano; Cliff Hugo on bass; Kendrick Freeman on drums; Brian Rice on percussion; Bob Afifi on flute; Paul Hanson on bassoon; Marcos Silva on piano; Scott Thompson, bass; John Santos on percussion; Kendrick Freeman on percussion; Aaron Germain on bass; Rafael Barata on drums; Bernardo Bessler on violin; Priscila Plata Rato on violin; Marie Christine Bessler on viola; Marcus Ribeiro de Oliveira on cello; Claudia Villela on vocals; Rob Reich on accordion; Jessé Sadoc on flugelhorn; Marcelo Martins on tenor saxophone; Aldivas Ayres on trombone; Mike Shapiro on drums; Luiz Brasil on tenor guitar, percussion; Ricardo Guerra on percussion; Harvey Wainapel on clarinets; and Kyle Bruckman on oboe.

Ricardo Peixoto – Scary Beautifu

Scary Beautiful is an impeccable example of Brazilian guitar craftsmanship.

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Brazilian Star Daniela Mercury Announces US Tour

The Queen of Axé, Daniela Mercury is set to tour the United States in September 2019. The Latin GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum selling artist will tour with her full band to perform all her hits like “Canto da Cidade”, “Rapunzel”, “Nobre Vagabundo”, “Swing da Cor”, “Ilê Pérola Negra”,”Maimbê Dandá”, and also more recent hits like “Banzeiro” (2018 Best Carnival song in Bahia) and “Proibido o Carnaval”, released earlier this year.

Daniela Mercury is known as “furacão” (hurricane) due to her powerful voice and tireless energy on stage, singing and dancing for hours without losing her breath. Daniela is also known as the Queen of Axé, the percussive and irresistible genre that emerged out of Bahia in the early 1990s, which made her a superstar in Brazil and then around the world.

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João Gilberto, the Father of Bossa Nova Dies at 88

João Gilberto

Brazilian singer and vocalist João Gilberto died on Saturday, July 6th, 2019. Gilberto was one of the creators of bossa nova, a new musical genre that fused samba and jazz.

One of his biggest international hits was Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema), released in 1963 and covered numerous times by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny G, Amy Winehouse, etc.

Two-time GRAMMY Award winner João Gilberto was a multi-talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist,” said
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy and Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy in a joint statement. “An architect of bossa nova music in his native Brazil, João’s innovative style and master musicianship helped turn the genre into a worldwide phenomenon. Maintaining an impressive career spanning several decades, he earned six GRAMMY nominations between 1964-2000, and, along with his musical partner Stan Getz, he took home the coveted Album Of The Year award for 1964’s breakthrough album Getz/Gilberto. That milestone recording and his classic “Chega De Saudade” have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. João will be missed, but his legacy will live on forever. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, and creative collaborators during this difficult time.”

For more information and discography visit João Gilberto’s Artist Profile.

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Joyce’s Exquisite Renditions of English-language Standards

Joyce Moreno – Coo

Joyce Moreno – Cool (Far Out Recordings, 2016)

Joyce Moreno, one of the greatest Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) singer-songwriters, switches to English on Cool. Joyce Moreno rarely sings in English so this album showcases a different side of Joyce’s multifaceted talent.

The album consists primarily of American jazz standards .  Joyce and her talented band transform these classics into delightful Brazilian-flavored songs. The vocals are charming, featuring Joyce’s marvelous lead vocals and overdubs as well. Joyce is also an excellent bossa nova guitarist and arranger.

The lineup includes Joyce Moreno on vocals and guitar; Tutty Moreno on drums and percussion; Helio Alves on piano; and Rodolfo Stroeter on bass.

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Chamber Music Meets Brazil


Benji & Rita – Benji & Rita

Benji & Rita – Benji & Rita (Big Apple Batucada, 2019)

Benji & Rita is a Brazilian music duo based in New York featuring American guitarist, vocalist and composer Benji Kaplan and Brazilian vocalist and lyricist Rita Figueiredo.

The self-titled album Benji & Rita introduces listeners to a fascinating form of Brazilian music that incorporates Brazilian rhythms, contemporary chamber music, jazz and European classical music influences.

The album features two guest ensembles, Vent Nouveau and Suono Quartet plus Rogerio Boccato on drums and percussion and various other guests on percussion, brass, guitars and bass.

The wind ensemble Vent Nouveau includes Katrina Owens on alto flute; Torin Olsen on C flute; Kristen Mather de Andrade on clarinet, bass clarinet; Bill Owens on flugel horn; and Keith Kile on tuba.

The string ensemble Suono Quartet includes Delaney Stöckli on violin I; Francesca Dardani on violin II; Elise Frawley on viola; and Renat Pinchon on cello.

Purchase Benji & Rita

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Milton Nascimento to perform Clube Da Esquina at The Barbican in London

Milton Nascimento

Influential Brazilian musician Milton Nascimento will perform, for the first time ever, a special set dedicated to both albums from the series Clube Da Esquina at The Barbican in London on June 17th, 2019.

Clube Da Esquina elevated not just Nascimento, but an entire generation of artists. A transformative record that forever left its mark on Brazil’s musical history, it bypassed the dominant traditions of bossa nova and samba and is indebted to Milton Nascimento’s ‘higher-level’ creativity.

Mixing Afro and Coltrane inspired jazz with sing-along Beatles-esque melodies using complex structures reminiscent of western classical music, Clube Da Esquina is still an album remarkably and profoundly Brazilian. It went on to become a soundtrack of resistance opposed to the violent, military governors of Brazil of the time – one of the songs Paisagem Da Janela was almost banned. Milton will perform these two albums plus other tracks from this fertile period of his career, between 1972 and 1978, including tracks from albums Minas, Gerais & Native Dancer.

Milton Nascimento – Clube Da Esquina

Released in 1972, the year that Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso returned from exile in London, Clube Da Esquina features Lo Borges on vocals, Toninho on guitar and Eumir Deodato on strings. The cover became a slice of photographic history too, with a little-known story about the two boys Tonho and Cacau who were playing on a dirt hill when photographer Carlos da Silva Assunção Filho (better known as Cafi) shot them. The boys were reunited 40 years later for a replica shot. Audiences at Milton’s European tour will see the Clube Da Esquina series of albums played live in near entirety, surely the first and last time to witness such a performance.

Clube Da Esquina 2 came out in 1978 featuring Lo Borges on vocals as well.

I had never thought of doing something that would bring together the two Clube albums, but I feel that now is the time. This Clube da Esquina tour is sure to be a truly magical event, to say the least“, says Milton. “I want to bring an idea that can unite people. I am sure this will be the most special project that I have done in all these years.”

The Barbican, Silk St, Barbican, London

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Samba Star Beth Carvalho Dies at 72

Beth Carvalho

Brazilian vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Beth Carvalho died April 30, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Elizabeth Santos Leal de Carvalho, better known as Beth Carvalho, was born May 5, 1946 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was an influential samba artist.

“Beth Carvalho was a Brazilian samba singer, musician, and composer,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of the The Latin Recording Academy. “With a career that spanned 50 years filled with multiple acclaimed recordings, Carvalho was known as the “Godmother of Samba” and a historical figure in Brazilian culture.

In 2009 she was recognized with a Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and at the 13th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards she received a Latin GRAMMY for Best Samba/Pagode Album for Nosso Samba Tá Na Rua.

Carvalho helped bring underrated composers the recognition they deserved, becoming a driving force in the modernization of samba in the ’80s, while preserving its roots. As a philanthropist and activist, she founded various schools to teach samba and used her lyrics to bring awareness of social issues such as poverty and indigenous rights. Our deepest condolences to her family, friends and music lovers during this difficult time.”

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Artist profiles: Pretinho da Serrinha

Pretinho da Serrinha

Ângelo Vitor Simplício da Silva, better known as Pretinho da Serrinha, was born August 30, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pretinho da Serrinha has become the most requested musician of the new samba generation because of his unique, talented way of playing percussion and cavaco (cavaquinho). Many of the greatest Brazilian artists have invited Pretinho to tour and record with them – names like Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Seu Jorge, Sergio Mendes.

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