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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
Brazilian guitarist Rogê was born April 25, 1975 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was inspired by masters like Baden Powell, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Dorival Caymmi, and Noel Rosa.
Rogê represents the new generation of artists of the Brazilian Popular Music movement. He plays a captivating kind of samba and moves effortlessly from bossa nova to samba and reggae with the ease of a prolific composer.
Rogê’s shows also present the roots of the Brazilian music and its connection to Africa through a combination of jongo, samba, afoxe and maculele.
He has released six albums (‘Rogê’ in 2003, ‘Brasil em Brasa‘ in 2008, ‘Fala Geral‘ in 2010, ‘Brenguele‘, 2012, ‘Baile do Brenguele‘ in 2014 and ‘Nomade’ in 2018) and 2 side projects (‘4 Cabeça’, that got a Brazilian Music Award as best album; and ‘NA VEIA’, along with Arlindo Cruz, leading them to a Latin Grammy nomination as best samba album).
Celebrated Brazilian singer Dona Onete, who is set to turn 80 this year, has released a new single titled Festa do Tubarão – Shark Party as a digital single. The song is also available as an extended 6-minute video that takes the viewer on a wild ride through her hometown of Belem.
appears on her upcoming album Rebujo, scheduled for release May 24, 2019. Festa
do Tubarão tells the story of a shark that swims into Belem’s Guajará Bay to have
fun, unperturbed by the legend of the “Boiúna” – the giant snake who lives in
the river, or the local piranha and traira fish.
The video begins with footage shot on Ilha do Combú, a forested island just south of Belem. Festa do Tubarão was filmed in various locations in the area of Belem and offers a look into this relatively unfamiliar corner of Brazil.
directors Lírio Ferreira (co-director of Baile Perfumado) and Natara Ney take the
viewers to Belem’s Ver-o-Peso – one of Brazil’s most vibrant markets – where we
find legendary local herb-seller ‘aunt’ Coló. Then we fly through the city to
Dona Onete’s home before visiting the Amazônia Legal marina where the ‘shark
party’ is in full swing – until Onete is transported 70km to the north east of
Belem to the “Boi de Máscaras” carnival in São Caetano de Odivelas where the cabeçudos
(big heads) and pierrôs (sad clowns) dance with her accompanied by carnival
brass-band Fanfarra Marajoara.
The title of
the new album, Rebujo, is a local slang for the currents in the Amazon river
that carry silt and nutrients from the river bed into the water, feeding its
inhabitants and giving the river its muddy color – however, as it gives, it
also takes, and the rebujo can easily overpower even the most experienced
swimmer. The album featured genres such as carimbós, high energy bangues, cumbia,
brega and samba.
The Sao Paulo instrumental group Bixiga 70 is where Brazil and Africa meet. Their layered sound is explosive and energetic and all you have to do is hold on while the music takes over. With the recordings Ocupai, Bixiga 70 and III already under their belts, Bixiga 70 is ready to ride the airwaves again with their latest Quebra Cabeça set for release on October 19th on the Glitterbeat label.
The groups baritone saxophone player and flautist Cuca Ferreira explains, “From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music. Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, and everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”
Combining the talents of guitarist Chris Scabello, baritone saxophonist and flutist Cuca Ferreira, trumpeter Daniel Gralha, drummer Deicio 7, tenor saxophonist Daniel Nogueira, trombonist Douglas Antunes, bassist Marcelo Dworecki, keyboardist and guitarist Mauricio Fleury and percussionist Romulo Nardes, Bixiga 70 summons up an impossibly rich mix that finds space for Africa’s meaty percussive riches, Brazil’s infectious dance scene all the while sticking fingers into dub, jazz and reggae. So good luck sitting still with a dose of Quebra Cabeca.
Mr. Ferreira notes that the group’s influences often evolve out of collaboration and says, “We’ve been exposed to so much. So many of the people we’ve played with have had an impact on us, like Pat Thomas, the Ghanaian highlife singer or (Nigerian saxophonist) Orlando Julius. And then we toured and recorded with João Donato. He’s over 80 now and still playing piano, one of the icons of Brazilian music. We’ve learned from them all, they’ve made us think about what we can do with our music. Those new ideas have found their way into this album.”
The music of Quebra Cabeca is delicious from the percussion and sizzling guitar opening of title track “Quebra Cabeca” through to high energy dance track “Ilha Vizinha” through to the revolving musical theme of the Brazil soaked bold brass of “Pedra de Raio.”
“We want people to relate to our melodies, to take the line a vocalist might use and play it on the horns,” says Mr. Ferreira. “Sometimes in instrumental music, the players are so good it ends up putting the listener at a distance. We make music as a celebration, a way to connect and bring some joy. We want to draw them in. We try to write something very memorable.”
The melange of sound on Quebra Cabeca is enticing and thrilling. Fans won’t want to miss out on the keyboard or trumpet sections of “Cantos” or the jazzy lushness of “Ladeira” or the dreamy mysteries conjured up on “Levante.” The quick paced “Torre” is just as delicious as the percussion and bass rich “Camelo” and as good as closing track “Portal.”
The layers of sound on Quebra Cabeca isn’t just electrifying it’s evocative and interesting. Too often listeners get hung up on the vocals, but with Bixiga 70 the nuances of turns of phrase are taken not by vocals but by instruments and it’s thrilling. Bixiga 70 adds meat to the bones and it’s all delicious.
Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg – Third Journey (Adventure Music, 2018)
Two of the leading American mandolin players, Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, reconnect again for the third time. Third Journey contains a set of superb mandolin duos showcasing the virtuosity of both musicians. The music is inspired by bluegrass and other forms of American traditional music, along with Brazilian sounds, Bach and jazz-infused improvisation.
Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg met in 2007 at the Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz, California. Although they had heard about each other, had each other’s albums and respected each other’s playing, they had not met formally. The duo’s first collaborations was titled Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg (Adventure Music, 2018) with a focus on Bach, Brazilian music, Bulgarian traditions and bluegrass music. The second album, JS Bach (Adventure Music (2015) was dedicated to their favorite composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
On Third Journey, Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg deliver impeccable mandolin virtuosity and intuitive interplay.
Colombian singer-songwriter and composer Chabuco has released fourth solo album titled “Encuentro” (Encounter), a superb mix of coastal Colombian Caribbean music and Brazilian music. The album is his first release for a major label, Sony Music.
The album was recorded in São Paulo, produced by acclaimed Brazilian musician, arranger, composer and producer Swami Jr. The musicians that participated in the Encuentro include Brazilian pianist Zé Godoy, Puerto Rican percussionist Richie Flores, the arranger, composer and instrumentalist Milton Mori, percussionist Douglas Alonso and bassist Marcelo Mariano (Djavan). Encuentro also features two special guests: Spanish star Alejandro Sanz who delivers a diet with Chabuco and renowned Dominican singer-songwriter, Vicente García.
We talked to Chabuco about his background and the new album.
How and when did you start working professionally in the world of music?
I’ve always been connected to music, but my foray into stages and records and tours was with the group Los Pelaos.
What do you think are the fundamental elements of your music?
One of the fundamental elements of the music that I make is that of my roots, henceforth the different genres that I fuse.
How has your style evolved?
The learning from these encounters with different genres has been fundamental to mature as a musician. That is evolution.
Your album “Encuentro” you mix Brazilian music with jazz, Colombian music and other styles. When did you discover Brazilian music?
I listened to Brazilian music since I was a child because of the adults around me, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Toquiño, Djavan and others. Therefore, my interest in combining my Vallenato folklore with the music of Brazil.
How was the experience of recording in Brazil?
The best thing that happened to me was recording in São Paulo Brazil, because of the love for music, the respect and union that they give you, made the work more pleasant. I would repeat it again!
What does the Colombian public think about your Brazilian sound?
Everyone likes Brazilian music; well, nearly everyone! But what I do is to dress vallenato with other folklore styles, so what my audience likes is what I come up with and how vallenato sounds from another musical perspective without losing its essence.
Are you going to continue exploring the Brazilian side?
Well, if I could do it again, I would do it a thousand times, but I like to find different sounds all over the world.
Besides being a singer, you are also an instrumentalist. What instruments do you play and which one do you like the most?
I like to accompany myself with my guitar. Aside from that, I have the soul of percussionist, and I play the accordion.
If you could gather the musicians or groups that fascinate you the most to record an album or collaborate live, who would you call?
I would call to play live Richie Flores, Horacio Negro Hernandez, Kike Purizaga and Diego Valdes.
What music are you listening to currently?
I listen to boleros, funk, timba, classic vallenato, salsa, pop, and African music that is the mother of all.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Listen to music and get together to sing with my friends.
What country or countries would you like to visit?
African countries, Poland, and return to Berlin, because I am in love with Germany.
What other projects do you have in hand?
Continue traveling through many places where you can find music, and also leave everything documented. Many places are missing.
Although Many Bodies, One Mind has world music connections, it is an uneven mix of various styles. Diana Purim is the daughter of famed Brazilian artists Flora Purim (vocalist) and percussionist Airto Moreira. Diana and her parents, who participate in some songs, provide the exquisite Brazilian flavor.
The highlights of the album are the spectacular “Tombo in 7/4”composed by Airto Moreira, which is rich in percussion, featuring a formidable batucada; and two other Brazilian jazz music tracks, “Acordei” (featuring jazz keyboard maestro Herbie Hancock) and “This Is Me.” Another great piece titled “Voce nao me engana” includes Shamistha Chatterjee on vocals and other guests on Indian instruments, infusing the song with a wonderful Indian essence.
The rest of the album features tiresome hip hop and ear friendly R&B songs, featuring Diana’s musical partner Krishna Booker, who provides the male rapping and composed the majority of the songs.