Tag Archives: Brazilian music

Bixiga 70, Where Brazil and Africa Get Together

Bixiga 70 – Quebra Cabeça (Glitterbeat, 2018)

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.

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Third Meeting of the Mandolin Virtuosos

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.

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Interview with Vallenato Singer Chabuco about his Brazilian Album

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.

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Many Directions of Eyedentity

Diana Purim & Eyedentity – Many Bodies, One Mind

Diana Purim & Eyedentity – Many Bodies, One Mind (Eyedentity Music, 2018)

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.

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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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