Tag Archives: Brazilian music

Interview with Valeria Matzner

Uruguayan jazz vocalist and songwriter Valeria Matzner has a new album recorded in Canada titled Anima. She incorporates exciting Brazilian and electronic music elements. Valeria discusses her work with World Music Central.

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?

I always start my compositions with a melodic line. In my opinion, a good melodic line makes or breaks a song and if it is strong, it should be able to stand alone. Then comes the rhythmic idea and the harmony. Because of my background, I like rhythms that are syncopated. I also like harmonies that create tension and release and are somehow unpredictable.

Who can you cite as your main musical influences?

Too many artists have inspired me but I would say that my way of singing is definitely inspired by Brazilian singers like Elis Regina, Maria Rita and Joyce, among others. My compositions, however, are inspired by every inspiring musician and music I have ever heard from the Beatles to Piazzolla, from Gotan Project to Ruben Rada from Jorge Drexler to Radiohead from Jazzanova to Mercedes Sosa, Charly Garcia and from Fito Paez to Nirvana. I am a musical sponge, I absorb many styles and then come up with my own thing.

Uruguay has a great tango and candombe tradition, but you seem to be more influenced by Brazilian music. How did you come in contact with Brazilian music?

My mom loves Brazilian music so she would often play it at home. I love the way of singing: effortless, rhythmically challenging and so deceivingly simple. I also love the incredible composer from Brazil like Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, Joao Gilberto, Jobim, Lenine, etc, etc.

 

Valeria Matzner – Photo by Bryan Blair

 

You sing in various languages but when you sing in Spanish, it feels more natural. Will you continue singing in Spanish?

Absolutely, Spanish is my first language and I will always sing in it. But I also think that singing in different languages allows me the opportunity to communicate with a larger audience.

Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.

I made my first recording when I was 19. I was the singer and composer of a grunge rock band fused with the native sounds of Ecuador and Peru. In 1994 my band was invited to play at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, followed by a tour in the US.

Before all that, however, I studied classical guitar and was part of the Uruguayan national choir. Then I moved to Buenos Aires in the mid 1980s where I found myself in the middle of a musical movement that was sweeping the nation and taking over radio stations and venues. When I went back to Uruguay I started my own band and that was it until I moved to Canada.

In Vancouver I studied jazz and electronic music composition and it was there, at music school, that I started realizing the incredibly rich musical background of my native South America. I decided to fully embrace my musical background and a fusion of all my different influences was born.

 

 

How are you adapting to life in Canada?

It was very difficult at first. I felt like a “frog from a different pond” (como sapo de otro pozo) but I was slowly able to find my place and to learn to appreciate the Canadian ways of thinking and behaving. Canada is a country of immigrants and Canadians, for the most part, are very open to embracing different cultures. Toronto, specially, is a very multicultural city with people of all religious, cultural and musical backgrounds. I love that.

If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with whom would that be?

Wow, too many to name but off the top of my head I would say Jorge Drexler and Bono for their lyrics and poetic way of looking at life, Milton Nascimento and Peter Gabriel for their musicality, Elis Regina for her phrasing, David Bowie for his edge, Radiohead for their creative force and any new and up and coming musician who I find interesting.

 

Valeria Matzner – Anima

 

Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?

At the moment I am concentrating on promoting my album, Anima, putting a tour together and writing music for my next album.

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Ensemble Novo Lured by Brazil

Ensemble Novo – Who Saw You Then, Who Sees You Now

Ensemble Novo – Who Saw You Then, Who Sees You Now (Frosty Cordial Music, 2017)

Who Saw You Then, Who Sees You Now is a 7-track by Ensemble Novo, an American ensemble led by saxophonist and flute player Tom Moon.

The album highlights Moon’s smoky saxophone and the intersections between jazz and Brazilian bossa nova and samba. Who Saw You Then, Who Sees You Now features remarkable interplay between the saxophone, vibraphone, bass and guitar.

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Meaningful Brazilian and African-American Alchemy

Alexandra Jackson – Legacy and Alchemy (2018)

Legacy and Alchemy is an impressive 2-CD album by American jazz and soul vocalist, pianist and arranger from Atlanta. Legacy and Alchemy brings together the rich traditions of American jazz and sol and Brazilian music. Don’t mistake this album with the slick smooth bossa nova Americans tend to record. Alexandra’s music has more depth and she incorporates progressive jazz, irresistible samba and other elements.

The list of guests is extraordinary, featuring current stars from Brazil and USA as well as iconic artists who have passed away. The list includes: the late Miles Davis, the late Antonio Carlos Jobim, the late Oscar Castro-Neves, the late Al Jarreau, and the late Rod Temperton, along with Ivan Lins, Dona Ivone Lara, Carlinhos Brown, Banda Black Rio, The Jobim Trio (Paulo Jobim, Daniel Jobim and Paulo Braga), Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Hubert Laws, Siedah Garrett, Robertinho Silva, Larry Williams, Arthur Maia, Ricardo Silveira, Darryl Jones, Teo Lima, Armando Marcal, Marco Brito, Marcelo Martins, Jesse Sadoc, Orquestra Atlantica, Max Viana, Pretinho da Serrinha, Chris Walker, Darryl Tookes, Curtis King, Paulo Calasans, Marcelo Mariano, and Maestro Charles Floyd conducting The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra.

Legacy and Alchemy was masterfully recorded and produced and highlights the highly expressive, remarkable vocals of Alexandra Jackson who gracefully delivers soul and jazz vocal styles, singing in English and Portuguese.

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Daniel Santiago and Pedro Martins, Two Exceptional Guitarists from Brazil

Daniel Santiago & Pedro Martins – Simbiose (Adventure Music, 2018)

Simbiose is an exquisite guitar album by two of Brazil’s finest guitarists: Daniel Santiago and Pedro Martins. It’s a delightful set of interactions between acoustic and electric guitars with the addition of mesmerizing wordless vocals.

Most of the compositions are by Daniel Santiago except for one, where Pedro Martins takes the lead. The captivating music contains contemporary acoustic, jazz, classical and Brazilian traditional music elements.

Daniel and Pedro are friends, who grew up Brasilia. Daniel Santiago plays the acoustic guitar and Pedro Martins is on electric guitar. Both musicians provide vocals as well.

Simbiose is a masterfully constructed album filled with emotion and virtuosity.

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Brazilian Stars Deliver Iconic Songs Live

Gil, Nando and Gal – Trinca de ases (Altafonte, 2018)

Three of Brazil’s best known artists, singer-songwriter and guitarist Gilberto Gil, vocalist Gal Costa and singer-songwriter and guitarist Nando Reis got together last year to perform a set of live concerts. The live performances were recorded and appear in a new 2-CD set titled Trinca de Ases, Multishow Ao Vivo.

The set includes well-known songs by Gil and Reis and covers of popular songs by Caetano Veloso and Stevie Wonder. This is popular Brazilian music (MPB) at its best highlighting the vocals of the three stars, representing two generations, including solo performances, duets and vocal trio interactions.

The trio was supported by bassist Magno Brito and percussionist Kainan do Jêjê. Both are members of Sinara.

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Artist Profiles: Zezo Ribeiro

Zezo Ribeiro is a Brazilian guitarist born in Sao Paulo, with an impressive artistic career. Since 1992 he has participated in many recording projects, but it was at the end of the 1990s when he decided to release his own work.

If as instrumentalist he is a virtuoso guitar player, aware of what is happening in jazz and flamenco world, as composer he explores all the rhythms of his fertile homeland. With the same natural way that he flies vertiginously over an intricate samba, he plays slowly with the intimacy of a calm bossa.

In a permanent searching of his roots, Zezo studies deeply the traditional music to adopt other rhythms and influences.

“Gandaia” features John Patitucci on bass, Brazilian drummer Cristiano Rocha, Spanish flamenco guitarist José Luis Montón, and Spanish singer Uxía.

Discography:

Gandaia (NubeNegra, 1998)

Flamencando (NubeNegra, 2001)

Brincadeira, with Chico César (NubeNegra, 2004)

Turbilhâo (NubeNegra, 2005)

Casa Verde (NubeNegra, 2005)

Acoustic Brazil, with Flavio Sandoval (Paulinas-Comep, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Ze Cafofinho & suas corrente

Ze Cafofinho

Tiago de Melo Andrade, better known as Ze Cafofinho is part of Recife’s music scene. has one of the richest music production in Brazil. Situated in Northeast of this country, this city has been the birthplace of many talents, specially in the last fifteen years. Chico Science and Na?ao Zumbi, Siba & Fuloresta of Samba and DJ Dolores are just few examples. They have been responsible to bring a new vibration and rhythm in Brazil, mixing heritage from its historical tradition and contemporary tendencies and sounds. Ze Cafofinho, nickname of Tiago Andrade, belongs to this scene.

Ze Cafofinhoe is a musician, composer and singer. He has worked on music professionally for over 10 years, period in which Ze Cafofinho developed his mix of ska, jazz, macumba (afro religion) and samba. It is music from Pernambuco, Brazil, and it is good for dancing and listening.

He was a band leader of Songo, a group witch he created in 1990s; worked together with many important artists of Recife and had other experiences and projects, such as Variant and Versos, vialejos & quebranguladas.

Discography:

Um pé na meia, outro de fora (Tratore, 2007)
Casulo (Joinha Records, 2015)
Zé Cafofinho no Estúdio Showlivre (Ao Vivo) (Showlivre, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Yamandu Costa

Yamandu Costa

Yamandu Costa was born in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil in 1980. There, he began his guitar studies with his father Algacir Costa, band leader of “Os Fronteiriços”, when he was 7 years old. Later, he perfected his technique with Lucio Yanel, Argentine virtuoso who was then living in Brazil.

Until the age of 15, Yamandu’s only music school was the folk music from the south of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Nevertheless, after he heard Radam?s Gnatall’s work, he decided to get in contact with the music of other renowned Brazilian musicians, such as Baden Powell, Tom Jobim, Raphael Rabello, among others. When he was 17, he played for the first time in Sao Paulo at “Circuito Cultural Banco do Brasil” (BB Cultural Tour). The event was produced by “Estudio Tom Brazil” (Tom Brazil studio), and from then on he was recognized as one of the most gifted guitar players of Brazil.

Considered by some one of the greatest geniuses of Brazilian music of all times, Yamandu deserves the highest praise. Whenever he is on stage, he fills with joy the most select audience since his impressive performance shows the deep intimacy between Yamandu and his guitar.

Yamandu is a guitar player, composer and arranger that does not fit into a single music style, yet he creates his own when he combines all of them playing his 7-string guitar. Yamandu Costa’s diverse styles include chorinho, bossa nova, milonga, tango, samba and chamamé.

Discography:

Dois Tempos, with Lúcio Yanel (Bagual Produções, 2000)
Yamandu (Eldorado, 2001)
Yamandu ao Vivo (Bagual Produções, 2003)
El Negro Del Blanco, with Paulo Moura (Biscoito Fino, 2004)
Brasileirinho (Rob Digital, 2005)
Tokyo Session (Koala Records, 2006)
Lida (Biscoito Fino, 2007)
Lado B, with Dominguinhos (Biscoito Fino, 2007)
Ida e Volta (GHA Records, 2007)
Mafuá (Biscoito Fino, 2008)
Yamandu Costa e Rogério Caetano (2011)
Live, with Hamilton de Holanda (Adventure Music, 2011)
Continente (Biscoito Fino, 2013)
Tocata à Amizade (Biscoito Fino, 2015)

DVDs:

Música do Brasil Vol.I (2005)
Yamandu Costa ao Vivo (2005)

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Artist Profiles: Vitor Da Trindade

Vitor Da Trindade

Vitor Da Trindade is a percussionist, singer and guitarist, teacher of Brazilian dances. He played with the bands Bazar dos Baratos, Réquiem Napalm and Flor do Luar, Banda Kalimba, Cometa Gafi and Maria da Fé, with the dance groups Batacotô, Popular Theater Solano Trindade, Grupo Fuá.

Participated in the films O samba mandou me chamar, of Sérgio Zeigler, with Zezé Mota and Pascoal da Conceição, and Deusa Negra, of Ola Balogun, co-production Brazil and Nigeria, with Jece Valadão and Vera Gimenez. Composed for the bands Semente of Baobá, Duo Baobá, Maria da Fé and Moleque de Rua, and for several theatrical shows.

He gives percussion and Brazilian dance workshops in the Sesc divisions, and in the cultural centers Oswald de Andrade, Alfredo Volpi, Cândido Portinari, Butantã and Itaquera, in the state of São Paulo. Participated in Samba Syndrom 98, 99, 2000, 2001 and 2002, by invitation of the Landesmusik Akademie of Berlin, Germany, where he taught rhythm, songs and Afro-Brazilian dance. In 2001 released the CD Airá Otá with Carlos Caçapava.

Toured in Brazil and Europe with Revista do Samba in 2001 and 2002.

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Artist Profiles: Virginia Rodrigues

Virginia Rodrigues – Photo by Mario Cravo Neto

 

Virginia Rodrigues was born in Salvador, Brazil, December 31, 1964. Virginia Rodrigues is a woman of humble origins who grew up in Salvador de Bahia. She spent her youth singing in church choirs and Afro-Brazilian candomble ceremonies. She was invited to participate in the Olodum Theater, a musical theater open to young people from the favelas (shanty homes), where legendary artist Caetano Veloso first heard her. Captivated by her voice, he immediately asked her to record for his label, Natasha Records, with the help of Olodum director Marcio Meireles.

Virginia’s first concerts in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo were a tremendous success. Sophisticated Brazilian critics and media were left speechless and often in tears. Her visits to Expo ’98 in Lisbon and New York City left these audiences equally amazed at the power and beauty of her voice.

Caetano Veloso wrote about producing her debut album, “This is our wealth: the love that in Brazil those who love music devote to one another. No one takes this from us. And the voice of Virginia is as the expression of this loving substance in a pure state.”

Virginia’s second CD, Nos, was produced by cellist Jacques Morelembaum. A work of great beauty, the CD features Virginia’s unique interpretation, simultaneously ceremonial and rhythmic, of traditional Bahian standards.

On Mares Profundos, Virginia Rodrigues, along with her mentor Caetano Veloso and producer/guitarist Luiz Brasil, presents a fascinating look at Afro-Bahian music and culture. Her album is devoted to the “Afro Sambas”, a legendary collection of songs written by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell. De Moraes, the author of the lyrics of most great songs of bossa nova, such as “Girl From Ipanema” and the film music of Orfeo Negro, wrote a series of sambas that pay a tribute to the African culture of Bahia.

 

Virginia Rodrigues – Photo by Mario Cravo Neto

Discography:

Sol Negro (Natasha Records/Hannibal, 1998)
Nós (Natasha Records/Hannibal, 2000)
Mares Profundos (Natasha Records/Deutsche Grammophon, 2004)
Recomeço (Biscoito Fino, 2008)
Mama Kalunga (Tratore, 2015)

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